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  • Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

Writing Strong Research Questions | Criteria & Examples

Published on October 26, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on January 30, 2023.

A research question pinpoints exactly what you want to find out in your work. A good research question is essential to guide your research paper , dissertation , or thesis .

All research questions should be:

Writing Strong Research Questions

Table of contents

How to write a research question, what makes a strong research question, using sub-questions to strengthen your main research question, research questions quiz, frequently asked questions about research questions.

You can follow these steps to develop a strong research question:

The way you frame your question depends on what your research aims to achieve. The table below shows some examples of how you might formulate questions for different purposes.

Using your research problem to develop your research question

Note that while most research questions can be answered with various types of research , the way you frame your question should help determine your choices.

Research questions anchor your whole project, so it’s important to spend some time refining them. The criteria below can help you evaluate the strength of your research question.

Focused and researchable

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Chances are that your main research question likely can’t be answered all at once. That’s why sub-questions are important: they allow you to answer your main question in a step-by-step manner.

Good sub-questions should be:

Here are a few examples of descriptive and framing questions:

Keep in mind that sub-questions are by no means mandatory. They should only be asked if you need the findings to answer your main question. If your main question is simple enough to stand on its own, it’s okay to skip the sub-question part. As a rule of thumb, the more complex your subject, the more sub-questions you’ll need.

Try to limit yourself to 4 or 5 sub-questions, maximum. If you feel you need more than this, it may be indication that your main research question is not sufficiently specific. In this case, it’s is better to revisit your problem statement and try to tighten your main question up.

The way you present your research problem in your introduction varies depending on the nature of your research paper . A research paper that presents a sustained argument will usually encapsulate this argument in a thesis statement .

A research paper designed to present the results of empirical research tends to present a research question that it seeks to answer. It may also include a hypothesis —a prediction that will be confirmed or disproved by your research.

As you cannot possibly read every source related to your topic, it’s important to evaluate sources to assess their relevance. Use preliminary evaluation to determine whether a source is worth examining in more depth.

This involves:

A research hypothesis is your proposed answer to your research question. The research hypothesis usually includes an explanation (“ x affects y because …”).

A statistical hypothesis, on the other hand, is a mathematical statement about a population parameter. Statistical hypotheses always come in pairs: the null and alternative hypotheses . In a well-designed study , the statistical hypotheses correspond logically to the research hypothesis.

Writing Strong Research Questions

Formulating a main research question can be a difficult task. Overall, your question should contribute to solving the problem that you have defined in your problem statement .

However, it should also fulfill criteria in three main areas:

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Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."

An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)

A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.

Steps in Constructing a Thesis

First, analyze your primary sources.  Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)

Once you have a working thesis, write it down.  There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.

Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction.  A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.

Anticipate the counterarguments.  Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)

This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.

Some Caveats and Some Examples

A thesis is never a question.  Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.

A thesis is never a list.  "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.

A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational.  An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.

An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim.  "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."

A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible.  Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."

Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University

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Developing a Thesis Statement

Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.

Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.

Identify a topic

Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.

Consider what your assignment asks you to do

Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.

Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.

Sample assignment 1

Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.

Identified topic

Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis

This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).

Sample assignment 2

Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.

The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.

This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information

Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.

Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II

After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.

As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.

For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.

Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Derive a main point from topic

Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.

Look for patterns in your evidence

Compose a purpose statement.

Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.

Possible conclusion:

Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.

Purpose statement

This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.

At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.

This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.

Derive purpose statement from topic

To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.

For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:

At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Compose a draft thesis statement

If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.

Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.

Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.

Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.


If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.

Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?

Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”

Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.

Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.

Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).

What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement

Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.

As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.

Refine and polish the thesis statement

To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.

Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.

Sample Assignment

Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.

Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.

This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.

Complete the final thesis statement

The bottom line.

As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:

In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.

thesis to questions

Writing Process and Structure

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Generating Ideas for Your Paper



Developing Strategic Transitions


Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

40 Thesis Defense Questions in

40 Thesis Defense Questions

Article Contents 11 min read

Practicing answering thesis defense questions in a mock thesis defense is the best way to get ready for this challenging step in your academic career. Aside from knowing your research project inside and out, you must have solid strategies for tackling different question types and talking about why you chose your research topic. You might have already answered questions related to your research interests in your research interest statement and grad school interview questions , but now after years for in-depth study, it's time to really test what you have accomplished! Check out some of the hardest thesis defense questions below and read our expert responses!

Note : If you want us to help you with your applications, interviews and/or standardized tests, book a free strategy call . If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page .

What to Expect in a Thesis Defense?

A thesis defense is your chance to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and expertise in the topic of your research thesis. While you will be able to take charge of the narrative and present your research to those on your thesis committee, the professors will prod you to test how well you know and understand your topic. The questions are mostly open-ended and give you the chance to showcase your knowledge and understanding, as well as any future plans you may have regarding your research topic.

A thesis defense usually lasts between one and two hours, depending on the area of your research. It starts with you giving a presentation of your interest, findings, and conclusions. After you have finished, the committee members will ask you questions based not only on your presentation, but also on your written thesis as they will have read it before your presentation. Lastly, the committee might approve your thesis or suggest changes to your paper.

Preparing thesis defense questions requires you to start well in advance. While the duration of your thesis defense might vary as per your institution's requirements, the major idea is to defend your research. Thus, you should go about preparing for your thesis defense questions by taking the following steps.

Interested in a quick overview of the section below? Check out this infographic:

Re-read your thesis for clarity

Your thesis defense questions will be based on what you have written in your research paper. Hence, it is a good idea to re-read your paper. You should be clear on the concepts and understand your research well. It might have been some time since you would have submitted your paper, so a revision should be the starting point of your preparation.  

Have an answer strategy and structure

Plan a strategy to answer the panel’s questions. Keep your answers direct, but elaborate on the research details wherever necessary. If you do not know the answer to a question, that is alright. The key is to be able to formulate an answer even if you do not possess enough knowledge to answer at that point in time. For instance, if a question is about the content of your research, you can say something like “I am not certain my research touches on the question you are asking, but my research has led me to Dr. X. Based his evidence, I would have to conclude that…” Having a strategy for answering even the most unexpected questions can be a life saver in these situations!

Most of the thesis defense questions can be easily predicted based on your research. You can prepare a list of possible questions when you are going through your paper. Getting to know the committee can help you in preparing better. Their areas of expertise can help you in determining what they might ask. Once you have a list of questions, you can start brainstorming how you might answer them. 

Prepare your slides in advance

If you require visual aids such as slides, it is a good idea to prepare them beforehand. You can double-check the slides and make sure that your presentation will run smoothly on the day of your thesis defense. Make sure your slides are arranged in the correct order. 

Attend a thesis defense of other candidates if it is an open event

If your institution allows it, you can visit a thesis defense of other candidates. This will give you an excellent idea of what you can expect in your meeting. If it is not possible to attend the event, you can speak to your peers to find out how their meeting went and what questions were asked.

Dress appropriately for your meeting

The thesis defense meeting is a formal event, and hence you should be dressed in formal clothes. While there are no strict dressing rules, you should consider it something equivalent to a job interview. Don’t just wear your T-shirt and appear in front of the committee. Your formal suit is a better option for the occasion.

Practice speaking for your meeting

Take your preparation to the next level by practicing your presentation. This activity will give you the confidence for the actual meeting and presentation. You can request your academic peers to help you out in the practice task. Based on their feedback in the mock session, you can improve for the actual session. Make sure to prepare well for the mock session as if you are preparing for the actual session. You can also practice your speech and body language in the mock session. If you used thesis writing services , these professionals would also be the ideal people to test you in a mock thesis defense – don’t hesitate to reach out to them again!

Sample Thesis Defense Questions and Answers

1.    what is your research study all about.

In your answer, you should summarize your research in a few sentences. The question is simple but requires technical expertise for a better explanation of concepts. For instance, if you completed a thesis in an attempt to explain the constituents of dark matter in the universe and particle accelerators, you could frame your answer like this:

In this research, the different aspects of dark matter and its detection models have been investigated. The cosmic ray positron excess observed by the PAMELA detector has been discussed and explained through the construction of models of decaying dark matter. The cosmic-ray electron and positron spectra were studied assuming a general Dirac structure for the four fermion contact interactions of interest. A supersymmetric leptophilic Higgs model was constructed to explain the possible excess of gamma rays in the galactic center. Finally, by the use of Razor analysis, an improvement on the dark matter collider searches is considered.  

2.    Why did you choose this study?

This question requires you to answer what motivated you to pursue the study in the first place. Your answers could touch on your interests in the area of the study. For example, if you conducted a study called “Media Combat: The Great War and the Transformation of American Culture” then you can shape your answer like this:

The First World War (1914-1918) has always been a topic of fascination for me, and my prime interest lies in exploring the state of society at that time. I wanted to analyze the formation of a nationalized, wartime cultural apparatus during the United States' involvement in the war and how theatre and music transformed the relationship between the government and American citizens. 

3.    Why did you choose this particular title for your research?

The title of your thesis captures the main point of your research, which is why it is so important to use an appropriate title. Your committee will want to know how you came to the final decision of naming your work. For example,

I chose the title “Dark matter in the heavens and at colliders: Models and constraints” for my research thesis because my research attempts to explain the constituency of dark matter as it occurs in the universe. “The heavens” is another word for the universe. Dark matter can also be created in particle accelerators such as the CERN collider. I have attempted to provide an explanation for both of the cases through the use of models, along with describing the constraints which exist in the current times due to certain scientific limitations.

4.    What is the scope of your study?

In your answer, you have to define the boundaries of your project and define exactly what you are studying. There can be several elements involved but you have to define the parameters that you have chosen to study. For example,

My study is on the efficacy of equity stocks in the US market. For my study, I have chosen 50 companies listed on the NASDAQ. You can review the names of these companies on page 5 of my thesis.

5.    What phenomenon were you trying to understand with this research?

Describe the focus concept of your thesis in the answer. For example,

In our study “Motivation to volunteer”, we were looking to study the Theory of Planned Behavior by analyzing the behavioral and normative beliefs that influence attitudes and subjective norms.

Want increase your productivity and mainain a healthy work life balance to help get you through your thesis project? Here are some tips straight from our CEO:

6.    Who will be most interested in your research?

You can talk about who may be affected by your research and the parties who can potentially benefit from the research. Take a look at this example:

My sociology thesis on “Impact of social media on youngsters” can be of interest to sociology academics, social media companies, education experts, and parents of youngsters in general.

7.    Did your research questions evolve during the process? If so, how?

Often, qualitative research questions change over time with respect to the responses that you might get from your focus group. Or you might just change your question as you do lab research or general text research. You can describe the change to the evaluating committee. For example,

We started our study to understand the impact of the new public policy change on recycling of vinyl waste through installation of garbage bins specifically for vinyl products. However, after interviewing some of the respondents in the target community, we found that the rule is actually irrelevant to their behavior and thoughts because the percentage of vinyl waste in that specific locality was very low and it didn’t need the installation of dedicated bins for the purpose. Going by their frustrations with the current economic insecurity, our study evolved into the impact of costs incurred by public policy changes.           

8.    What gaps did you intend to bridge with your research?

Your research thesis must eliminate the present gaps in the concepts related to your subject topic.

The relationship between hard water and its effect on the size of the kidney stone is not clear yet, so we analyzed the mineral composition of hard water to determine its impact on the size of the kidney stone.

9.    Why is your research significant?

The answer to this research question should outline the impact of your research on your field of study. You may talk about the new insights contributed by your research and its impact on society.

Through my study on “The effect of chamomile in reducing stress and promoting better sleep,” patients with insomnia and anxiety will be able to find alternative treatments without the use of medicinal drugs. The medical abilities of chamomile will promote the usage of ingredients in nature and will encourage the community to plant more herbs and trees.

10. What did you find in your research?

You may describe your research in a few sentences in this answer. For instance,

In our study on “Impact of artificial fluoride in water on the human body,” we found that excessive exposure to high quantities of Fluoride can result in tooth discoloration and bone issues in humans since it has neurotoxic qualities. 

11. What research findings surprised you?

When you conduct research, you come across findings that you were not expecting earlier. If you had such an experience, you might describe the same to the evaluation committee when you answer this question. For example,

I was expecting that business promotion through social media would not be a good idea for rural enterprises in developing countries in my comparative analysis of the usage of traditional and contemporary marketing methods. But I was surprised to learn that 68% of rural textile businesses in Nigeria promote their products on Instagram.

12. What is the validity of your findings?

You have to talk about the conditions in which your research findings would be valid.

In my research, I have considered test anxiety to be involving both nervous system activation and negative thoughts. Thus, my measure of test anxiety has included the elements of both nervous feelings and negative thoughts, the conditions in which my findings are valid.

For example,

For studying the differential protein expression, its localization, and distribution at different levels, we used the method of immunostaining in our research.

14. What sources did you use for data collection?

You would have used several sources to search for data for your topic. You may elaborate on those sources. You might have referred to databases, content on the web, or even conducted primary research by interviewing prospects. Thus, you can talk about these sources. Refer to the following answer:

To understand the impact of the current tax regime on skilled workers, we interviewed 150 subjects in 5 months. Additionally, we referred to databases and scholarly works available by authors who had previously conducted such studies for previous tax laws and rates. 

15. How can your research be put into practice?

This question talks about the practical implications of your research. You should talk about how your research is beneficial for society and how it can help in eliminating current issues.

In our research titled “Effectiveness of Meditation on Reducing the Anxiety Levels of College Students in the US,” we discovered that students who practiced meditation at least thrice a week were two times more likely to score better in their exams, owing to the positive impact of meditation. So, this research finding can help in the reduction of mental health issues among students. A suitable course of action would be to hold meditating sessions a couple of times a week. 

16. How will your findings contribute to the related area of knowledge?

Our study on medicinal analysis of herbs conveys information about various medicinal benefits of chamomile in treating depression and contributes to the area of medicinal botany.

17. Did you experience any limitations in your research?

Our research on “Impact of smoking on β-cell function and risk for type 2 diabetes in US citizens” finds that smoking increases the risk of diabetes among smokers. However, smokers might be affected by some genetic conditions which can protect them from diabetes. 

18. What sampling techniques did you use?

When conducting research, it is practically not possible to study the entire number of elements. So, you would be using a method to select a sample population.

In our study “Impact of consumption of soda on the health of teenagers in Corpus Christi”, we used area sampling to divide the city into several areas and then selected some clusters for our sample group.

19. What are the dependent and independent variables in your research?

In research, several variable factors impact your study. You can describe these variables. Independent variables have values which are not affected by other variables in your study. On the other hand, the dependent variables have values that change with changes in the independent variable. For example,

In our study on “Impact of online tutoring on test scores”, the independent variable is the nature of the classes i.e., online and the participants' test score is the dependent variable.

20. What areas do you suggest for further research?

As a researcher, you should be able to describe what further areas are open for research with the addition of your research to the field. This can act as a starting point for future researchers. For example,

In my research on “Effectiveness of Acetaminophen in treating sports induced injuries”, I discovered that administering Acetaminophen is not very effective for treating joint pains such as the knee. This further suggests measures for the regulation of Acetaminophen in the production of painkillers for body pain and the search for alternative compounds.

Practice Questions

After taking a look at the sample answers, now try answering these questions by yourself:

Do you have any closing comments? "}]'>

After submitting your research thesis for evaluation, you have to appear before a panel of professors and present your work; afterwards, they will ask you questions about your research.

You have to plan and prepare for your thesis defense. Review your paper and anticipate the questions that the committee can ask. Practice with mock defense sessions using professional servicesand make improvements based on their feedback. Be prepared with a strategy for answering any question asked by the panel.

Your research thesis should be on a topic of your interest. Scan your course syllabus to find something that makes you curious. Or, you can even refer to your grad school career goals statement to review what got you interested in grad school in the first place. Shortlist a few topics and zero down to the one that excites you the most.

The first step in preparing for a master’s thesis defense is to revise your research paper and write down a list of questions that the committee might ask. Find answers to those questions and get ready for your presentation. Practice your presentation beforehand. Try to attend a thesis defense of other candidates to know what you can expect in your session. 

You will get questions related to what you have mentioned in your research paper. The most common starting questions are “what is your research about?" and “what was your motivation behind choosing this topic?” Later on, the committee asks you more detailed questions on research methodology, literature review, study variables, research findings, recommendations, and areas of further research.

You can get help from a grad school essay tutor for your research thesis writing. They can help you in developing writing skills and reviewing your work. They can proofread your work and provide recommendations on areas of improvement.

You can include your research thesis on your grad school CV to show your practical knowledge and skills. You can add the details of the study in a separate section for research experience.

Immediately after the thesis defense, the evaluation panel will decide whether to approve your paper as submitted or request some changes, or reject it.

To pass a thesis defense, a majority of the panel members must approve the defense. In case of more than one vote against you, you can fail the thesis.

A thesis defense can last for two hours or longer, depending on your area of research.

Your thesis defense presentation should include the focus concept, findings, recommendation, and conclusion.

The contribution of your thesis towards your degree differs as per institution. You can refer to your course handbook for exact details. In most cases, the committee needs to approve your thesis for you to graduate from your degree.

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Hi Jeff! Yes, this can also be one of the questions you are asked in a thesis defense!

That is good

Hello Eshetu! Thanks for your comment. Glad you found this helpful!

Very helpful

Thanks, Abel. Glad you found this helpful. 

Helpful thank you.

Hi Lagat! Thanks!

As an 11th-grade student, I don't have any experience in thesis or research defense in general. Me and my groupmates will be conducting our research title defense next week, this is invaluable information for us. Thank you!

You are very welcome, Kate!


Hello Stephanie! Thanks for your comment.


This is a good guideline to post graduate students (Masters and PhD) CPA:Emelda Nyongesa

Hi Emelda! Thanks!

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thesis to questions

Research and Writing Guides

Writing a paper? Don't get lost.

Is it a good thesis topic?

thesis to questions

Having chosen a thesis topic is one small step for you, but one giant leap for your thesis. Before starting the actual research, you need to make sure that your topic is well formed. Take a look at this list of questions to find out if your topic is ready to work on.

First things first, is your topic clear enough? The ideal path of deciding a topic starts by making it as comprehensive as possible. This is easier said than done, as people often have one idea in mind but another one in paper.

As James Hamilton, coach for Ph.D. students, concludes in his guide on finding a thesis topic "clarity is the key". Therefore, we recommend explaining your topic to someone foreign to your field. Dissect every part of the topic and describe them in the most simple way. This will help you see your topic from a different perspective. Only after the simplified version, you can start adding layers of complexity.

Once you are sure the topic is crystal clear, it is time to find out the most important factor: does the topic offer enough information? If you came up with the topic from material you read before, or you heard about it in some lecture, it means the topic is probably highly researchable.

The only step to take here is using keywords related to your topic, and looking them up in catalogs, article databases, internet search engines, and libraries. Here is a great article with research tips for avoiding all-nighters and some tips and tricks for finding material.

Every thesis requires a level of originality but let's be honest, research is never completely original. Still, why not make it as original as you can within your limits? You will dive in a sea of papers with a similar approach to yours. This is your chance of finding an angle that has never been taken before.

Therefore, we recommend finding a gap in research, or a certain angle that has been done before but could be further developed. How? By simply paying particular attention to your sources.

Academic writing shouldn’t be boring. Depending on the level of your thesis its appeal should vary. In order to answer the question, you should identify the audience of your paper, and adapt the narration accordingly.

A Bachelor thesis has to be interesting for the professor that marks it. An MA thesis should attract your supervisor, and future employer. A Ph.D. thesis requires the highest level of interestingness, as the academic expectation bar is much higher. It should engage peers, supervisor, and general researchers. Once you know who you are writing for, it becomes easier to adapt your words to your target audience. We also recommend these 13 ways to make your writing more interesting to read.

W hat methodology will your topic require?

Picking a suitable research methodology is one of the most important components that can make a project fail or succeed. There are many components that define a methodology, but the strongest ones are the end goal of the research and timing.

Being aware of what type of outcome you want from the research and how much time you count on will narrow down the type of methodologies from the beginning on. For example, if you want qualitative data as a result and you have enough time, then you can carry out a focus group. If you want quantitative data in a short period of time then an online survey suffices. Time and goal will be the decisive factors in almost every research.

Check out our guide on How to gather data for your thesis for further instructions on collecting empirical data and choosing a methodology.

Every thesis requires a level of originality but let's be honest, research is never completely original. To have an original topic, we recommend finding a gap in research. How? By simply finding a certain angle that has been done before but could be further developed.

Academic writing shouldn’t be boring. In order to make it interesting, you should identify the audience of your paper an adapt it accordingly. A Bachelor thesis has to be interesting for the professor that marks it. An MA thesis should attract your supervisor, and future employer. A Ph.D. thesis requires the highest level of interestingness, as the academic expectation bar is much higher. It should engage peers, supervisor and general researchers.

We recommend explaining your topic to someone foreign to your field. Dissect every part of the topic and describe them in the most simple way. This will help you see your topic from a different perspective.

If you came up with the topic from material you read before, or you heard about it in some lecture, it means the topic is probably highly researchable. The only step to take here is using keywords related to your topic, and looking them up in catalogs, article databases, internet search engines, and libraries.

Some other questions you can ask yourself (or others) to know if your thesis topic is good:

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Thesis Defense Questions and Answers

Top 50 Likely Thesis Defense Questions and Answers (2022)

The following are the highest 25 academic scientific research defense questions that you simply may encounter during a tutorial scientific research defense.

Please use this guide to assess yourself to ascertain if you’re actually ready for your research defense.

Observe these questions and therefore the recommended steps to answering them.

We went through the record of past academic research project defense questions.

Project-House Consulting Services also advises that you go further and ask past students about some of their academic scientific research defense questions they encountered during their own defense just confirm you are not restricting yourself to only these questions.

Top 50 Likely Thesis Defense Questions and Answers

Question 1: in a few sentences, are you able to tell us what your study is all about.

The question is simple right?

Many professors will tell you that the majority of students get choked on an issue like this. Anyways the question is straightforward, but a touch technical.

To answer this question, you would like to understand every detail of your scientific research from chapter one to the top.

The question needs a solution in sort of a summary of the whole study, therefore, to ace this particular question you would like to understand every detail in your abstract.

If you wrote an honest abstract, this question is going to be a cross-over for you.

Question 2: What’s your motivation for this study?

Now you must be careful here.

These questions are often very tricky and it goes an extended way in convincing your panel members that your study is worth their time.

Another way this question might be twisted is what’s THE RESEARCH PROBLEM?

To answer this question, you’ll plan to elaborate on the matter investigated within the study.

Your zeal to solve this problem becomes your motivation.

Do not state financial reasons or the necessity to graduate as a motivation as you’ll easily explode point.

Question 3: How will this study contribute to the body of knowledge?

At some point, the necessity for justification will arise which is once you are going to be asked to say how your study will increase the body of data if approved. Here you’ll get to use your methods, case study, or any unique model or conceptual framework utilized in the study to defend it.

Question 4: What is the significance of the study?

Just like stating how your study will contribute to the body of data, you’ll get to state the importance of your study.

To answer this question, you’ll get to highlight how your study will aid the govt in policy development and implementation, how it’ll help other students who may wish to conduct research studies on the topic matter, and therefore the way organizations and society will enjoy your study.

Question 5: Did you bridge any gaps in your study?

Every research study must have a problem.

Your ability to unravel this problem and explore areas not yet researched gives you the complete marks allocated for answering this question.

You must be ready to convince the committee members that your approach is exclusive and it covered areas where much hasn’t been done by other researchers.

10 Types of Plagiarism-Every Academic Writer Should Know

Question 6: what limitations did you encounter.

This is another simple but tricky question. Most times the question isn’t asked to feel for you, but rather urge loopholes to criticize your work.

To answer this question, you want to take care with words as you’ll implicate yourself. Be careful enough not to sell out yourself.

Do not discuss limitations in your methods or data analysis techniques as this might imply that your study could also be biased or not well-researched.

Use simple limitations like difficulties encountered in combining lectures and projects rather than limiting your study.

Question 7: What are your findings?

At now it’s expected of you to present your results or findings from t he study in a clear and concise manner.

Always link your findings to your research objectives/questions.

This will make your panel members simply be carried along.

Question 8: What Methods or Sampling Techniques did you employ?

To answer this question, you want to be conversant in your research methodology.

Your chapter three (in Most Projects) must be at your fingertips.

Your ability to justify your sample size and technique is going to be highly rewarded here.

Suggested: Get the latest Career Advice, Online degree, and Scholarships programs in UK and US Universities

Question 9: Why choose this method?

As discussed above, you ought to not only state a specific method for the study.

You must even be ready and ready to justify why you chose the tactic in a convincing manner.

At now you’re liberal to quote sources or similar studies where such methods were adopted.

Question 10: supporting your findings what are your recommendations?

Recommendations are very vital in every research study and will not be joked with.

In essence, you ought to know your recommendations off hand.

20 PowerPoint Preparation Tips for Masters and PhD Students

Question 11: supporting your findings what areas will you suggest for future research.

Questions like this are just there to check your reasoning and authority in your research area.

Based on your findings during a manageable scope, you ought to be ready to suggest future research areas in line with your study.

For example, if I researched the challenges of private tax collection in Cameroon, an honest area for further study is going to be in other sorts of taxation such as VAT, Company tax, etc.

Question 12: How can your research study be put into practice?

Easy for science and engineering students, but a touch tough for management and social sciences since most management/social science projects are more abstract in nature.

However, you ought to try your best to be realistic here.

Relate your study to current trends in your environment, office, economy, government, schools, church, etc.

The use of relevant examples and illustrations will score a good point here.

Question 13: How would you summarize your study to a practitioner using a few sentences?

Your ability to convey technical information from the study will score you good points here.

Question 14: What would you modify if you were to conduct the study again?

Hmmm. Be careful! don’t be too jovial. there’s a loophole here! a bit like your limitations, this question is often asked to spot your weak points.

5 Common Mistakes in Writing Research Paper

Question 15: what’s your measurement Instrument?

In simple terms, what data collection method did you use for the study?

Here you state if questionnaires were distributed or data was gotten from secondary sources.

For more information on measurement instruments.

Congratulations on passing your thesis

Question 16: What are your research variables?

Here you’ll get to convince your panel members that you simply know what you’re talking about.

You would like to elucidate your independent and dependent variable(s) to convince them that you simply are on point. Your variables are present in your project topic.

You would like to spot these variables and know their definitions also to ace your defense.

Question 17: What are your research questions?

Very simple question.

It should take about 0.015 seconds to answer this question if you’re fully prepared.

Read On: A Sample Letter Of Complaint For Omission Of Exams Mark

Question 18: What does one decide to do together with your scientific research after Graduation?

Here you’re at liberty to mention your mind.

If you plan to publish it, this is often the simplest opportunity to discuss and interact with the committee members-maybe a professor there can help.

Question 19: What source of knowledge was employed for the study?

At now you’ve got to state the source(s) you bought data from. generally, you’ve got to state whether data was gotten from a primary or secondary source or both.

You’ll further convince the committee members by discussing the literature review for the study-both theoretical and empirical.

Question 20: What theories or theoretical framework is your study based on?

What theories or theoretical framework is your study based on?

This is a really technical question but interesting.

Before you step into the defense room, you ought to know a minimum of two relevant theories that relate to your study.

For instance, the “impact of motivation on employee productivity” is going to be supported by Maslow’s Theory and other theories of motivation.

If you can’t find relevant theories to copy your study, consult your supervisor for help.

Question 21: How would you relate your findings to existing theories on the study?

To ace this question, one will need to read extensively.

You ought to know existing theories on the topic matter also as empirical studies too.

Your ability to link your findings to previous research studies (Whether they agree or not) will go an extended way in validating your study. You’ll score good points here trust me.

Question 22: What recommendations does one have for future research?

Your problem-solving skill is put to check here.

You ought to be ready to identify areas that will need more research.

Question 23: what’s the scope of the study?

This one may be a cheap or should I say bonus question.

Here you quickly state the delimitation of the study in short.

Question 24: What question(s) does one have for the committee?

Not a possible question in our African context, but I even have defended a seminar project where this question was asked and I was shocked to my marrows.

This is often a chance to interact together with your committee members and ask some constructive questions. don’t ask silly or too difficult questions because the goal should be to form the committee members’ feel because of the “boss”.

It’ll also go an extended way in showing that you simply are an excellent individual.

Question 25: does one have any closing comments?

This is praising time! Use this chance to thank your committee members for their time and questions.

Tell them what proportion you’ve got learned from them and the way you plan to correct errors (if any) identified in your work. this will go an extended way in impressing your internal and external supervisors.

We wish you All the best!

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God's Bits of Wood

by Ousmane Sembène

What are some quotations that support the following thesis? "In Sembène Ousmane’s novel God's Bits of Wood , the colonizers attempt to create internal conflicts among the strikers in order to weaken their resolve and prevent them from achieving their goals."

Cite this page as follows:.

"What are some quotations that support the following thesis? "In Sembène Ousmane’s novel God's Bits of Wood , the colonizers attempt to create internal conflicts among the strikers in order to weaken their resolve and prevent them from achieving their goals."" eNotes Editorial , 27 Feb. 2023, https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-are-some-quotations-that-support-the-3101804. Accessed 3 Mar. 2023.

Expert Answers

Who are the experts? Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team.

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5,093 answers

In God’s Bits of Wood , there are quite a few efforts to break up the unity of the strikers and weaken their resolve through internal conflicts. Let’s examine some of these so that you know where to look for quotations to support your thesis.

First, think about how the wives of the strikers have a difficult time purchasing food and other supplies. No one wants to sell to them because of the strike. This is deliberate, for if the women turn against the strike, the men might be forced to relent. If hunger becomes an issue, that, too, would be a deterrent. Take a look in chapter 4 for examples.

You might also think about the conflicts that spring up in the community between those who support the strike and those who do not. The watchman Sounkare is an example. Look at chapter 10.

Consider, too, how Isnard tries to bribe Doudou in chapter 12. He wants Doudou to abandon the strike, something that would definitely cause strife among the strikers. His plan fails, however, when Doudou refuses to accept the bribe.

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Latest answer posted June 22, 2021 at 3:56:33 PM

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

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How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

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How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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Dissertations & projects: Research questions

On these pages:

“The central question that you ask or hypothesis you frame drives your research: it defines your purpose.” Bryan Greetham, How to Write Your Undergraduate Dissertation

This page gives some help and guidance in developing a realistic research question. It also considers the role of sub-questions and how these can influence your methodological choices. 

Choosing your research topic

You may have been provided with a list of potential topics or even specific questions to choose from. It is more common for you to have to come up with your own ideas and then refine them with the help of your tutor. This is a crucial decision as you will be immersing yourself in it for a long time.

Some students struggle to find a topic that is sufficiently significant and yet researchable within the limitations of an undergraduate project. You may feel overwhelmed by the freedom to choose your own topic but you could get ideas by considering the following:

Choose a topic that you find interesting . This may seem obvious but a lot of students go for what they think will be easy over what they think will be interesting - and regret it when they realise nothing is particularly easy and they are bored by the work. Think back over your lectures or talks from visiting speakers - was there anything you really enjoyed? Was there anything that left you with questions?

Choose something distinct . Whilst at undergraduate level you do not have to find something completely unique, if you find something a bit different you have more opportunity to come to some interesting conclusions. Have you some unique experiences that you can bring: personal biography, placements, study abroad etc?

Don't make your topic too wide . If your topic is too wide, it will be harder to develop research questions that you can actually answer in the context of a small research project.

Don't make your work too narrow . If your topic is too narrow, you will not be able to expand on the ideas sufficiently and make useful conclusions. You may also struggle to find enough literature to support it.

Scope out the field before deciding your topic . This is especially important if you have a few different options and are not sure which to pick. Spend a little time researching each one to get a feel for the amount of literature that exists and any particular avenues that could be worth exploring.

Think about your future . Some topics may fit better than others with your future plans, be they for further study or employment. Becoming more expert in something that you may have to be interviewed about is never a bad thing!

Once you have an idea (or even a few), speak to your tutor. They will advise on whether it is the right sort of topic for a dissertation or independent study. They have a lot of experience and will know if it is too much to take on, has enough material to build on etc.

Developing a research question or hypothesis

Research question vs hypothesis.

First, it may be useful to explain the difference between a research question and a hypothesis. A research question is simply a question that your research will address and hopefully answer (or give an explanation of why you couldn't answer it). A hypothesis is a statement that suggests how you expect something to function or behave (and which you would test to see if it actually happens or not).

Research question examples

Note that these are open questions - i.e. they cannot be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. This is the best form of question.

Hypotheses examples

Note that these are things that you can test to see if they are true or false. This makes them more definite then research questions - but you can still answer them more fully than 'no they don't' or 'yes it does'. For example, in the above examples you would look to see how relevant other factors were when choosing universities and in what ways physical health may be impacted.

For more examples of the same topic formulated as hypotheses, research questions and paper titles see those given at the bottom of this document from Oakland University: Formulation of Research Hypothesis

Which do you need?

Generally, research questions are more common in the humanities, social sciences and business, whereas hypotheses are more common in the sciences. This is not a hard rule though, talk things through with your supervisor to see which they are expecting or which they think fits best with your topic.

What makes a good research question or hypothesis?

Unless you are undertaking a systematic review as your research method, you will develop your research question  as a result of reviewing the literature on your broader topic. After all, it is only by seeing what research has already been done (or not) that you can justify the need for your question or your approach to answering it. At the end of that process, you should be able to come up with a question or hypothesis that is:

You can try a few out, using a table like this (yours would all be in the same discipline):

A similar, though different table is available from the University of California: What makes a good research topic?   The completed table has some supervisor comments which may also be helpful.

Ultimately, your final research question will be mutually agreed between yourself and your supervisor - but you should always bring your own ideas to the conversation.

The role of sub-questions

Your main research question will probably still be too big to answer easily. This is where sub-questions come in. They are specific, narrower questions that you can answer directly from your data.

So, looking at the question " How much do online users know and care about how their self-images can be used by Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook? " from the table above, the sub-questions could be:

The main research question is the overarching question with the subquestions filling in the blanks

Together, the answers to your sub-questions should enable you to answer the overarching research question.

How do you answer your sub-questions?

Depending on the type of dissertation/project your are undertaking, some (or all) the questions may be answered with information collected from the literature and some (or none) may be answered by analysing data directly collected as part of your primary empirical research .

In the above example, the first question would be answered by documentary analysis of the relevant terms and conditions, the second by a mixture of reviewing the literature and analysing survey responses from participants and the last two also by analysing survey responses. Different projects will require different approaches.

Some sub-questions could be answered from the literature review and others from empirical study

Some sub-questions could be answered by reviewing the literature and others from empirical study.

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How to Write a Research Question

What is a research question? A research question is the question around which you center your research. It should be:

You should ask a question about an issue that you are genuinely curious and/or passionate about.

The question you ask should be developed for the discipline you are studying. A question appropriate for Biology, for instance, is different from an appropriate one in Political Science or Sociology. If you are developing your question for a course other than first-year composition, you may want to discuss your ideas for a research question with your professor.

Why is a research question essential to the research process? Research questions help writers focus their research by providing a path through the research and writing process. The specificity of a well-developed research question helps writers avoid the “all-about” paper and work toward supporting a specific, arguable thesis.

Steps to developing a research question:

Sample Research Questions

Unclear: How should social networking sites address the harm they cause? Clear: What action should social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook take to protect users’ personal information and privacy? The unclear version of this question doesn’t specify which social networking sites or suggest what kind of harm the sites might be causing. It also assumes that this “harm” is proven and/or accepted. The clearer version specifies sites (MySpace and Facebook), the type of potential harm (privacy issues), and who may be experiencing that harm (users). A strong research question should never leave room for ambiguity or interpretation. Unfocused: What is the effect on the environment from global warming? Focused: What is the most significant effect of glacial melting on the lives of penguins in Antarctica?

The unfocused research question is so broad that it couldn’t be adequately answered in a book-length piece, let alone a standard college-level paper. The focused version narrows down to a specific effect of global warming (glacial melting), a specific place (Antarctica), and a specific animal that is affected (penguins). It also requires the writer to take a stance on which effect has the greatest impact on the affected animal. When in doubt, make a research question as narrow and focused as possible.

Too simple: How are doctors addressing diabetes in the U.S.? Appropriately Complex:   What main environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors predict whether Americans will develop diabetes, and how can these commonalities be used to aid the medical community in prevention of the disease?

The simple version of this question can be looked up online and answered in a few factual sentences; it leaves no room for analysis. The more complex version is written in two parts; it is thought provoking and requires both significant investigation and evaluation from the writer. As a general rule of thumb, if a quick Google search can answer a research question, it’s likely not very effective.

Last updated 8/8/2018

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Theses and Research Questions

Simple Thesis Statements Pronged vs. Multifaced Thesis Statements Lenght and Location Using the Prompt's Language


Thesis Statements  

A   thesis statement   conveys   the main point or argument of   your   paper and   indicates   how your ideas   are   organized in your essay.   The writer’s goal when   creating   a thesis statement   should be   to   tell the reader what to expect   in the ir   paper   by   clearly stat ing   their   i deas and how they   will be supported   throughout the paper.   A   strong thesis statement should be   specific , debatable, and supported by the content of the essay.   

CSUSM Writing Center webinars may be assigned by instructors for credit. Interested instructors can visit our   Assigning the Writing Center   page. Students visiting for credit can learn more about confirming visits at our   Visiting for Credit   page.

Si mple   

A   simple   thesis   statement   is usually 1 sentence and   identifies   a   main idea with supporting information.  

  Mallory   Ortberg   retells a classic Andersen’s story The Little Mermaid to prove the heroine, in her quest to reclaim her power in today’s world, needs to kill the prince.    

Pronged vs. Multifaceted   

  A   pronged thesis   statement   has   one main idea and lists   multiple themes or   supporting   information. This type of thesis statement   is commonly taught and helps with paragraph organization.  

  Ancient civilizations arose from the domestication of plants and animals, the diversification of established religions and philosophies, and the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and goods through world trade.  

A   multifaceted thesis   has a   complex   structure   and   uses verbs to   describe the relationship between   main ideas . T his type of thesis statement is   preferred by professors and is   often   more than one sentence .     

Historical stories, whether myth or truth, should not be eliminated from the timeline of the American revolution; they provide an alternative perspective to patriotism whilst bringing historical justice to the untold stories of colonial women during the revolutionary war. Exaggerated, potentially fictionalized narratives of the revolutionary era should not be analyzed in terms of whether they are “true” or “false” but rather   how they support the larger known truth of women’s involvement in America’s revolution.  

Length and Location

The   length and location   of a thesis statement can differ based on your   instructor’s   preference and the type of writing assignment.   Since the   length of   a   thesis statement   can   be   1 or more sentences ,   you want to make sure that   no matter the length, that   you are addressing the prompt,   making a   claim   or   stating an idea, and demonstrating how your paper will be organized.  

The most common position for a thesis statement is at the end of   an   introduction paragraph ;   however, a thesis statement can be located anywhere within   a n   introduction paragraph.   

Using the Prompts Language

When  using the prompt’s language , you a re taking part of the question  or topic you are responding to and using it in your thesis  statement .  Adding part of the prompt to your thesis can make it easier to identify your thesis  in the introduction paragraph . Instructors have different  preferences  for this style of thesis statement, so it is advised to check with your instructor if you  are unsure if you should use  the promp ts language in your thesis statement.  

Prompt :   What are some ways that   Moroccan women   subverted patriarchy   and   cultivated   feminist consciousness?  

Thesis Statement :   Mernissi , in Dreams of Trespass, insists Moroccan women cultivated their feminist consciousness and subverted patriarchy through storytelling, theater, and the power of words.

Research Questions

A  research question  is  the   question  that you want to answer with your research  and  can be  used to guide the research and writing process.  A research question should be specific , arguable, and allow you to explore a topic.   

How does   consistent exposure to   temperatures above 90 ° F   effect fruit production in orange tree s ?    

*Research and Writing: Advanced Skills & Strategies*

On This Page

Still struggling, developing a research question, components of a thesis, thesis revision examples, revise your thesis statement.

starting research icon

Components of a Thesis Statement

Conversing with someone else about your research and writing process can be incredibly helpful.  Contact staff at McKillop Library or the Writing Center using the links below.

After you have chosen a topic and done some brainstorming, it is time to develop your research question.  Although you will not include your research question in your paper, this is nonetheless a critical step because your thesis statement, one of the most important pieces of your research project, will answer your research question.  Your research question will also help you determine what is important to include in your project and when you have finished it.  

As you create your research question, remember issues that you identified in your brainstorming, concept mapping, and/or prewriting.  What specific aspect of your topic appealed to you?  What unique question do you want to seek answers to?

One of the most important things to keep in mind as you are creating your research question is that your question should be  open-ended : the question should not be able to be answered with a simple "yes" or "no."  You want to create a question that requires exploration and analysis: one that will require you to use a variety of credible sources to answer.  See the chart below for examples of open and close-ended questions.

Comparison chart for close and open-ended questions

There are many types of research questions, so spend some time brainstorming how you want to approach your topic.  You want your question to be innovative: something that will grab your readers' attention and make them think about your topic in a new way.  For example, let's say you want to examine the practice of tattooing in the United States for your research project.  Below are three types of research questions that provided examples for this research topic.

The most important part of any writing assignment is the thesis statement. A thesis statement states the author’s purpose for writing or the point to be proven. The topic sentences of each succeeding body paragraph all connect the thesis statement.

Thesis statements guide the content, organization, and evidence that together build an effective paper. A thesis does not exist in isolation and should be threaded through the entirety of a paper. The creation of a powerful and cohesive thesis requires multiple revisions. To begin, your thesis may address the topic broadly; but through revision, the thesis should ultimately convey a critical, specific, and arguable perspective on the topic. The examples below model possible revisions to a broad, ineffective thesis.  

Ineffective thesis to be revised:   Tattooing is very prevalent in the United States. 

Effective thesis revisions:

Say why :  Many people decide to become tattooed because it allows them a permanent form of physical expression that positively promotes self-awareness and ownership of experiences.

Say why the reader should care :  As the prevalence to tattooing increases with the millennial generation, the trend will negatively impact the perception of young professionals in the American business world and the United States' success within a global market. 

Say how :  Body art acceptance in American society has grown significantly in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, achieved through the unraveling of stigmatization and ostracizing of a once believed deviant behavior.

Make specific comparisons :   While the practice of body modification once held many negative associations, the profession of tattooist has grown out of its underground beginnings to be considered a respectable position in the contemporary arts community. 

Make an evaluation :  The prevalence of tattooing as a key element of youth culture in the United States demonstrates the lack of maturity and personal responsibility amongst millennials. 

Consider the consequences :  As the generations X, Y, and millennials enter advanced ages of life, there will be a significant regret about their choices in body modification and a rapid increase in tattoo removal. 

Apply previous or other knowledge :  The acceptance of body modification, like many other social practices and beliefs that are recognized in contemporary society, was furthered by the driving social reforms and movements of the mid-20th century, including women's rights, the civil rights movements, and political protest. 

Give it a try! Use the worksheet attached to experiment with different versions of your own thesis. Remember, you can always revisit the wording. We will re-examine the thesis at the end of the process through reverse outlining. 

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Preparing For Your Dissertation Defense

13 Key Questions To Expect In The Viva Voce

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) & David Phair (PhD) . Reviewed By: Dr Eunice Rautenbach | June 2021

Preparing for your dissertation or thesis defense (also called a “viva voce”) is a formidable task . All your hard work over the years leads you to this one point, and you’ll need to defend yourself against some of the most experienced researchers you’ve encountered so far.

It’s natural to feel a little nervous.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the most important questions you should be able to answer in your viva voce, whether it’s for a Masters or PhD degree. Naturally, they might not arise in exactly the same form (some may not come up at all), but if you can answer these questions well, it means you’re in a good position to tackle your oral defense.

Dissertation and thesis defense 101

Viva Voce Prep: 13 Essential Questions

#1: What is your study about and why did you choose to research this in particular?

This question, a classic party starter, is pretty straightforward.

What the dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to clearly articulate your research aims, objectives and research questions in a concise manner. Concise is the keyword here – you need to clearly explain your research topic without rambling on for a half-hour. Don’t feel the need to go into the weeds here – you’ll have many opportunities to unpack the details later on.

In the second half of the question, they’re looking for a brief explanation of the justification of your research. In other words, why was this particular set of research aims, objectives and questions worth addressing? To address this question well in your oral defense, you need to make it clear what gap existed within the research and why that gap was worth filling.

#2: How did your research questions evolve during the research process?

Good research generally follows a long and winding path . It’s seldom a straight line (unless you got really lucky). What they’re assessing here is your ability to follow that path and let the research process unfold.

Specifically, they’ll want to hear about the impact that the literature review process had on you in terms of shaping the research aims, objectives and research questions. For example, you may have started with a certain set of aims, but then as you immersed yourself in the literature, you may have changed direction. Similarly, your initial fieldwork findings may have turned out some unexpected data that drove you to adjust or expand on your initial research questions.

Long story short – a good defense involves clearly describing your research journey , including all the twists and turns. Adjusting your direction based on findings in the literature or the fieldwork shows that you’re responsive , which is essential for high-quality research.

You will need to explain the impact of your literature review in the defense

#3: How did you decide on which sources to include in your literature review?

A comprehensive literature review is the foundation of any high-quality piece of research. With this question, your dissertation or thesis committee are trying to assess which quality criteria and approach you used to select the sources for your literature review.

Typically, good research draws on both the seminal work in the respective field and more recent sources . In other words, a combination of the older landmark studies and pivotal work, along with up-to-date sources that build on to those older studies. This combination ensures that the study has a rock-solid foundation but is not out of date.

So, make sure that your study draws on a mix of both the “classics” and new kids on the block, and take note of any major evolutions in the literature that you can use as an example when asked this question in your viva voce.

#4: How did you design your study and why did you take this approach?

This is a classic methodological question that you can almost certainly expect in some or other shape.

What they’re looking for here is a clear articulation of the research design and justification of each choice . So, you need to be able to walk through each design choice and clearly explain both what you did and why you did it. The why is particularly important – you need to be able to justify each choice you made by clearly linking your design back to your research aims, objectives and research questions, while also taking into account practical constraints.

To ensure you cover every base, check out our research methodology vlog post , as well as our post covering the Research Onion .

You have to justify every choice in your dissertation defence

#5: How generalizable and valid are the findings?

This question is aimed at specifically digging into your understanding of the sample and how that relates to the population, as well as potential validity issues in your methodology.

To answer question this well, you’ll need to critically assess your sample and findings and consider if they truly apply to the entire population, as well as whether they assessed what they set out to. Note that there are two components here – generalizability and validity . Generalizability is about how well the sample represents the population. Validity is about how accurately you’ve measured what you intended to measure.

To ace this part of your dissertation defense, make sure that you’re very familiar with the concepts of generalizability , validity and reliability , and how these apply to your research. Remember, you don’t need to achieve perfection – you just need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your research (and how the weaknesses could be improved upon).

Need a helping hand?

thesis to questions

#6: What were the main shortcomings and limitations created by your research design?

This question picks up where the last one left off.

As I mentioned, it’s perfectly natural that your research will have shortcomings and limitations as a result of your chosen design and methodology. No piece of research is flawless. Therefore, a good dissertation defense is not about arguing that your work is perfect, but rather it’s about clearly articulating the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.

To address this question well, you need to think critically about all of the potential weaknesses your design may have, as well as potential responses to these (which could be adopted in future research) to ensure you’re well prepared for this question. For a list of common methodological limitations, check out our video about research limitations here .

#7: How did your findings relate to the existing literature?

This common dissertation defense question links directly to your discussion chapter , where you would have presented and discussed the findings in relation to your literature review.

What your dissertation or thesis committee is assessing here is your ability to compare your study’s findings to the findings of existing research . Specifically, you need to discuss which findings aligned with existing research and which findings did not. For those findings that contrasted against existing research, you should also explain what you believe to be the reasons for this.

As with many questions in a viva voce, it’s both the what and the why that matter here. So, you need to think deeply about what the underlying reasons may be for both the similarities and differences between your findings and those of similar studies.

Your dissertation defense needs to compare findings

#8: What were your key findings in relation to the research questions?

This question is similar to the last one in that it too focuses on your research findings. However, here the focus is specifically on the findings that directly relate to your research questions (as opposed to findings in general).

So, a good way to prepare for this question is to step back and revisit your research questions . Ask yourself the following:

Conquering this part dissertation defense requires that you focus squarely on the research questions. Your study will have provided many findings (hopefully!), and not all of these will link directly to the research questions. Therefore, you need to clear your mind of all of the fascinating side paths your study may have lead you down and regain a clear focus on the research questions .

#9: Were there any findings that surprised you?

This question is two-pronged.

First, you should discuss the surprising findings that were directly related to the original research questions . Going into your research, you likely had some expectations in terms of what you would find, so this is your opportunity to discuss the outcomes that emerged as contrary to what you initially expected. You’ll also want to think about what the reasons for these contrasts may be.

Second, you should discuss the findings that weren’t directly related to the research questions, but that emerged from the data set . You may have a few or you may have none – although generally there are a handful of interesting musings that you can glean from the data set. Again, make sure you can articulate why you find these interesting and what it means for future research in the area.

What the committee is looking for in this type of question is your ability to interpret the findings holistically and comprehensively , and to respond to unexpected data. So, take the time to zoom out and reflect on your findings thoroughly.

Discuss the findings in your defense

#10: What biases may exist in your research?

Biases… we all have them.

For this question, you’ll need to think about potential biases in your research , in the data itself but also in your interpretation of the data. With this question, your committee is assessing whether you have considered your own potential biases and the biases inherent in your analysis approach (i.e. your methodology). So, think carefully about these research biases and be ready to explain how these may exist in your study.

In an oral defense, this question is often followed up with a question on how the biases were mitigated or could be mitigated in future research. So, give some thought not just to what biases may exist, but also the mitigation measures (in your own study and for future research).

#11: How can your findings be put into practice?

Another classic question in the typical viva voce.

With this question, your committee is assessing your ability to bring your findings back down to earth and demonstrate their practical value and application. Importantly, this question is not about the contribution to academia or the overall field of research (we’ll get to that next) – it is specifically asking about how this newly created knowledge can be used in the real world.

Naturally, the actionability of your findings will vary depending on the nature of your research topic. Some studies will produce many action points and some won’t. If you’re researching marketing strategies within an industry, for example, you should be able to make some very specific recommendations for marketing practitioners in that industry.

To help you flesh out points for this question, look back at your original justification for the research (i.e. in your introduction and literature review chapters). What were the driving forces that led you to research your specific topic? That justification should help you identify ways in which your findings can be put into practice.

#12: How has your research contributed to current thinking in the field?

While the previous question was aimed at practical contribution, this question is aimed at theoretical contribution . In other words, what is the significance of your study within the current body of research? How does it fit into the existing research and what does it add to it?

This question is often asked by a field specialist and is used to assess whether you’re able to place your findings into the research field to critically convey what your research contributed. This argument needs to be well justified – in other words, you can’t just discuss what your research contributed, you need to also back each proposition up with a strong why .

To answer this question well, you need to humbly consider the quality and impact of your work and to be realistic in your response. You don’t want to come across as arrogant (“my work is groundbreaking”), nor do you want to undersell the impact of your work. So, it’s important to strike the right balance between realistic and pessimistic .

This question also opens the door to questions about potential future research . So, think about what future research opportunities your study has created and which of these you feel are of the highest priority.

Discuss your contribution in your thesis defence

#13: If you could redo your research, how would you alter your approach?

This question is often used to wrap up a viva voce as it brings the discussion full circle.

Here, your committee is again assessing your ability to clearly identify and articulate the limitations and shortcomings of your research, both in terms of research design and topic focus . Perhaps, in hindsight, it would have been better to use a different analysis method or data set. Perhaps the research questions should have leaned in a slightly different direction. And so on.

This question intends to assess whether you’re able to look at your work critically , assess where the weaknesses are and make recommendations for the future. This question often sets apart those who did the research purely because it was required, from those that genuinely engaged with their research. So, don’t hold back here – reflect on your entire research journey ask yourself how you’d do things differently if you were starting with a  blank canvas today.

Recap: The 13 Key Dissertation Defense Questions

To recap, here are the 13 questions you need to be ready for to ace your dissertation or thesis oral defense:

As I mentioned, this list of dissertation defense questions is certainly not exhaustive – don’t assume that we’ve covered every possible question here. However, these questions are quite likely to come up in some shape or form in a typical dissertation or thesis defense, whether it’s for a Master’s degree, PhD or any other research degree. So, you should take the time to make sure you can answer them well.

If you need assistance preparing for your dissertation defense or viva voce, get in touch with us to discuss 1-on-1 coaching. We can critically review your research and identify potential issues and responses, as well as undertake a mock oral defense to prepare you for the pressures and stresses on the day.

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Psst… there’s more (for free)

This post is part of our research writing mini-course, which covers everything you need to get started with your dissertation, thesis or research project.

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Research Aims, Objectives & Questions: Explained Simply (+ Examples)


Jalla Dullacha

Very interesting

Fumtchum JEFFREY

Interesting. I appreciate!

Dargo Haftu

Really appreciating

My field is International Trade

Abera Gezahegn


Peter Gumisiriza

This is a full course on defence. I was fabulously enlightened and I gained enough confidence for my upcoming Masters Defence.

There are many lessons to learn and the simplicity in presentationmakes thee reader say “YesI can”

Milly Nalugoti

This is so helping… it has Enlightened me on how to answer specific questions. I pray to make it through for my upcoming defense

Derek Jansen

Lovely to hear that 🙂


Really educative and beneficial

Tweheyo Charles

Interesting. On-point and elaborate. And comforting too! Thanks.

Ismailu Kulme Emmanuel

Thank you very much for the enlightening me, be blessed

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Can a Thesis Statement Be a Question: Tips on Writing the Perfect Thesis Statement

You have probably struggled with your thesis statement when writing a research paper on whether the statement can be a question or not. And for many finding the perfect statement is one of the struggles in writing.

But in this blog, we’ll explore the formal and informal definitions of a thesis statement and then talk about whether or not it can be a question. It covers what your thesis statement should be as well as tips and tricks on how to write one.

After reading this post, you will be better placed to write your thesis statement and generally understand its structure.

Can a Thesis Statement Be a Question

Generally, your thesis statement cannot be a question because it essentially answers the question, “what is this paper about?” However, it’s a good idea to think of your thesis statement as a question, but it shouldn’t be an actual question.

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Your thesis statement is a declarative sentence that tells readers what you will discuss in your essay. If you have a question instead of a statement, it will be hard for people to know what your paper is about.

Further, the statement is a sentence in your essay providing your paper’s main idea. It is also the purpose or theme of your article and often appears near the beginning of your writing. This further shows that questions may not be the best if used as thesis statements.

Also see: Best thesis generator for your college paper 

Thesis statements can be various, but they all have one thing in common; they state an opinion or position on a particular subject. Therefore, a thesis statement is not just a statement of fact. It is an assertion that you will prove with evidence from your research.

Further, a question does not present or state a fact or claim. Thus questions should appear in the body but not as a thesis statement.

Can You Ask a Question in a Thesis Statement

In most cases, you cannot ask a question in a thesis statement because it will not help your readers understand what your paper is about.

It is essential to understand a thesis statement to know why you cannot ask a question in it. A thesis statement is used when writing an academic paper and is usually found at the end of your introduction paragraph, which states what you will talk about in your essay. It can also be used as a summary or summary sentence for your paper.

Similarly, it is the central point of your paper. It states what you’re going to talk about and how you’re going to talk about it. In most cases, it’s a declarative sentence that tells your reader what your argument is without giving away the conclusion. Thus, it is the backbone of your essay and acts as your chance to tell the reader what you’ll talk about and why it’s crucial.

For these reasons, you cannot ask a question here because it will be more confusing. The general rule is to make it clear and concise, and questions do not provide this clarity or conciseness.

How to Write a Good Thesis Statement With Examples

The thesis statement is the most critical element of your essay. The statement tells your reader what to expect and why it’s worth reading.

A good thesis statement is clear, concise, and specific. It states your position on an issue but doesn’t overstate or understate it. It contains a word or phrase that will grab the attention of your reader and make them want to keep reading.

The following are some tips to help you craft a good statement;

Be clear and focused.

This means you should ensure your thesis statement clearly states the main idea of your paper without any ambiguity or vagueness. You should avoid using superlatives in your statement as they do not add anything substantial but make it more difficult for the reader to understand what you are trying to say.

Also, do not use phrases like “this paper argues” or “this paper will discuss” as they do not give much information about what is going on in the rest of your paper

Further, don’t try to cover everything in one sentence. Instead, choose one main idea and make it clear what that idea is. The thesis statement should not have several ideas or multiple points because doing so will confuse readers and make it difficult for them to follow your argumentation in the body paragraphs of your essay.

Make sure it’s a declarative sentence

A good thesis statement is a declarative sentence that clearly states what your paper is about. It must be specific enough to serve as an organizing principle for the article but not so narrow that it limits your ability to explore other ideas during research and writing.

For example, you can say dogs do not like milk rather than dogs may like milk.

Additionally, don’t use words like “I believe” or “I think.” Instead, come up with a fact that you want to prove. For example, if you’re writing about the effects of pollution on the environment, write something like “Air pollution is responsible for millions of deaths each year.”

Include appropriate keywords or phrases related to your topic

Your thesis statement should contain proper keywords or phrases related to your subject to help readers understand what they’ll learn from reading your essay.

Use short sentences, active verbs, and simple words in your thesis statement; they improve readability and make it easy for readers to understand your statement quickly.

For example, if the topic is factors contributing to dog illnesses, your statement may include keywords like dog illnesses.

Hoe vragen over scriptieverdediging te benaderen

Wees voorbereid op de beste aanpak van je proefschrift verdediging vragen met behulp van onze eenvoudige Mind The Graph artikel.

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Tijdens het schrijven van een proefschrift denkt iedereen na over het moment van de verdediging en welke vragen of kwesties daarbij aan de orde zullen komen.  

De beste manier om je voor te bereiden op dit uitdagende moment in je academische carrière is door te oefenen met het beantwoorden van vragen over de verdediging van je proefschrift. Je moet je onderzoeksproject goed genoeg kennen om zelfverzekerd en met kennis van zaken te kunnen reageren op elke vraag die op je pad komt. 

Dit artikel leidt je door het proces, zodat je begrijpt hoe het werkt, wat je kunt verwachten, en hoe je het succesvol kunt benaderen. Leren over proefschrift verdediging is een andere uitstekende strategie om je voor te bereiden op wat komen gaat.

Wat kun je verwachten tijdens de verdediging van je proefschrift?

In een proefschriftverdediging krijg je eerst de gelegenheid om je begrip van het gekozen onderwerp aan te tonen, door je publiek te wijzen op de belangrijkste onderdelen ervan, hoe je de belangrijkste aspecten van je werk met elkaar in verband hebt gebracht, en hoe die belangrijke aspecten je tot je ontdekkingen hebben geleid. Je docenten of mentoren zullen je aansporen om aan te tonen hoe goed je de inhoud kent, terwijl de commissie zal beginnen met het formuleren van vragen voor de verdediging van je proefschrift. 

Een verdediging van een proefschrift kan tot één of twee uur duren, afhankelijk van het onderwerp en de hoeveelheid informatie die moet worden behandeld. 

De commissieleden zullen je pas gaan ondervragen over je scriptieverdediging nadat je je mondelinge presentatie en een schriftelijke scriptie, die ze eerder hebben gelezen, hebt afgerond. Ten slotte kan de commissie je scriptie goedkeuren of verbeteringen in je werk voorstellen.

Vergeet niet een diapresentatie te maken voor je proefschrift verdediging

Een mooie diapresentatie is een goede oproep voor je scriptieverdediging. Ze vergemakkelijken niet alleen het begrip van complexe onderwerpen, maar maken je werk ook professioneler. Mind the Graph is een drag-and-drop tool waarin je in enkele minuten wetenschappelijke ontwerpen kunt maken. Probeer het eens!

Acht waarschijnlijke vragen over de verdediging van een proefschrift en hoe ze te beantwoorden

Mind The Graph heeft een aantal van de meest gestelde vragen opgesteld en een kleine gids over hoe ze te beantwoorden tijdens een proefschrift verdediging. Lees ze aandachtig, bedenk objectieve antwoorden, en oefen. 

1. Ben je in staat om in een paar zinnen over je scriptie te vertellen?

Dit is een vraag die een uitgebreide kennis van het onderwerp vereist. En het is eenvoudig om te antwoorden als je de informatie in je samenvatting en samenvatting begrijpt. Zorg ervoor dat je echt begrijpt wat je in die secties hebt geschreven.

2. Waarom is je stelling relevant?

Om voor deze vraag te slagen, moet je kunnen aantonen hoe je scriptie bijdraagt aan de oplossing van het onderwerp dat erin wordt behandeld, hoe het andere studenten zal helpen bij het uitvoeren van meer onderzoek naar het onderwerp, en hoe de maatschappij of de industrie zou kunnen profiteren van je werk.

3. Wat is uw persoonlijke motivatie om dit proefschrift te voltooien?

Om deze vraag te beantwoorden zonder de commissie te beïnvloeden, moet je uiterst voorzichtig zijn en je woorden zorgvuldig kiezen. Als je een eerdere vraag hebt beantwoord waarin je de relevantie van je scriptie hebt kunnen aantonen, moet je gewoon toevoegen hoeveel belang je hecht aan het oplossen van dit probleem. Gebruik geen financiële overwegingen of de noodzaak om af te studeren als motivatie, want dan verlies je snel je geloofwaardigheid.

4. Wat waren de beperkingen van uw proefschrift?

Een andere complexe vraag die kennis en praktijk vereist. Het bespreken van beperkingen in je methodologieën of benaderingen van gegevensanalyse kan suggereren dat je paper bevooroordeeld of slecht onderzocht is. In plaats van je scriptie te beperken, gebruik je beter kleine beperkingen zoals de moeilijkheid om informatie te mengen en te correleren.

5. Wat waren de bevindingen?

Je moet je resultaten snel hebben doorgenomen bij de presentatie van je scriptie, dus als ze je vragen stellen over je bevindingen, hopen ze die diepgaander en duidelijker te horen. Vergeet niet je resultaten te koppelen aan de vraag/het probleem dat je in je scriptie hebt aangepakt.

6. Hoe heb je het gemeten?

Ze willen gewoon aanvullende informatie over de gegevensverzamelingsprocedure bij deze vraag. Zorg er dus voor dat u aangeeft of u vragenlijsten, interviews of secundaire bronnen hebt gebruikt.

7. Welke gebieden stelt U voor voor toekomstig onderzoek?

Deze vraag vereist probleemoplossend vermogen of op zijn minst een grondige voorbereiding. Je moet bereid zijn om gebieden aan te wijzen die verder onderzoek vereisen, zoals het soort materiaal dat je wilde verwerven om je scriptie te voltooien, maar dat niet kon.

8. Wat zou je veranderen in de manier waarop je je scriptie hebt uitgevoerd?

Deze vraag wordt gebruikt om je zwakke punten en de gaten in je scriptie op te sporen. Beantwoord hem op dezelfde manier als de vraag over beperkingen, waarbij je je concentreert op minder belangrijke zaken zoals persoonlijke organisatie.

Voeg visuele impact toe aan uw posters met wetenschappelijke illustraties en grafieken

Een uitstekende poster kan op allerlei manieren worden gebruikt. Het kan een geweldige methode zijn om je werkterrein te promoten, een geweldig uitgangspunt voor een presentatie, of een briljante manier om het bewustzijn over een onderwerp te vergroten. Esthetisch aantrekkelijke posters kunnen een verhaal overbrengen op een manier die geen tekst kan. Maak de meest trendy posters met Mind The Graph.

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Home » world » Corona virus origin: Laboratory thesis as a pawn in US-China policy

Corona virus origin: Laboratory thesis as a pawn in US-China policy

“The FBI has long held that the origin of the pandemic is most likely a possible laboratory incident in Wuhan,” Wray told Fox News. “This is about a possible leak in a laboratory controlled by the Chinese government.” Among other things, it was suspicious that the FBI chief appointed by then US President Donald Trump made his statements to the conservative broadcaster Fox News of all people.

Wray did not want to name any details or evidence – citing secrecy and pending investigations. At the same time, however, he accused the Chinese government of “doing its best” to “hinder and cover up” the work of the US government and foreign partners. That is unfortunate for everyone.

No consensus in US government

The Department of Energy, which is responsible for overseeing laboratories, had previously changed its assessment of the origin of the corona virus, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to the report, a possible laboratory failure is now also being assumed there, but only with a “low” degree of certainty.

After this publication, the communications director of the National Security Council, John Kirby, pointed out on Monday that there was still no unified view within the US government on the origin of the corona virus. “There is currently no consensus in the US government as to how exactly Covid came about,” he said.

According to the Wall Street Journal report, the National Intelligence Council and four US secret services assume that the virus became dangerous to humans through “natural” transmission. The CIA and another intelligence service, on the other hand, have not yet come to a final conclusion.

Struggling for a stance on China

According to commentators, the fact that the laboratory thesis is now being put forward again could not have so much to do with the actual status of the investigations. Because in US politics the question of how to deal with China in the future is becoming more and more vacant: The tension in the Taiwan question and in the South China Sea, Beijing’s at least tolerant attitude towards Russia in the Ukraine war and most recently the mysterious balloons in in Washington, the voices calling for a tougher approach to China have gotten louder.

FBI: Covid originated in laboratory

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a TV interview that the FBI had assumed for some time that the origin of the Covid pandemic was most likely a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China. China reacted with outrage.

And if you then also blame China for the biggest pandemic in decades, a more confrontational policy is easier to argue. Of course, China repeatedly vehemently rejected the laboratory thesis, even after the new developments – at the same time, the country showed only limited cooperation in international studies by the World Health Organization (WHO).

No clarification possible

The Financial Times pointed out that the lines between conservatives and liberals in the US are beginning to blur on the China issue. So far, staunch Republicans in particular have accused China of covering up that the virus comes from a laboratory, and Trump even spoke of the “Wuhan virus”. Democrats had joined the thesis of a natural zoonosis, which prevails in scientific studies and is also represented by the WHO. Not infrequently, the laboratory thesis was seen as a conspiracy theory from this side.

It may also not be possible to explain one hundred percent how the virus came into the world . This makes the question all the more a pawn in the political debate – because in the end nobody runs the risk of being proven wrong.

“Hawks” are getting louder

Several media outlets, including the Guardian and the Financial Times, noted that the “hawks” for a tougher policy on China were becoming louder and louder – not only among Republicans, but also among Democrats. This also puts US President Joe Biden under pressure. It’s a difficult tightrope walk for him: on the one hand, he has to show strength in the face of China, but on the other hand, he also has to leave room for more leeway.

The “Financial Times” also referred to the possible consequences of a tightened China policy. It was recalled that Australia, which became the first country to request an investigation in 2020, paid the heaviest price when Beijing imposed heavy tariffs on a number of Australian exports. However, Australia was not able to deter China, the conflict continued to intensify and also fueled the debate in the USA .

Dangerous confrontation course

A geopolitical situation in which the USA and China are on an open course for confrontation is extremely dangerous not only for conflict regions such as Taiwan and Ukraine. The Financial Times pointed out that the two powers must cooperate on global issues. The newspaper not only cited the fight against the climate crisis as an example: Even in the event of a possible next pandemic, the origin of which is statistically not improbable in China, the USA , like the whole world , is dependent on functioning cooperation.

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Anglican Mainstream

An information resource for orthodox Anglicans

Mar 2, 2023 by Jill

by Stephen Noll:

The Jerusalem Statement from GAFCON 2008 opens with a prophetic indictment which  identifies the ideology of the Western churches as “ a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel .” Such rank heresy, it continues, has obliged orthodox churches to break communion with these churches. Finally, it faults the Communion “Instruments” for failing to take action and discipline those churches ten years after Lambeth 1998.

PREFACE: How the Jerusalem Statement Came to Be

The Jerusalem Statement from GAFCON 2008 is the foundational text for the Gafcon movement. (Note: the “ Jerusalem Declaration ” is an integral part of the Jerusalem Statement.) The gestation and birth of this statement took place as a result of careful consultation. Here are the main steps:

I shall be considering the Jerusalem Statement in three parts over three weeks: the prophetic indictment (Thesis 8), the confession of faith (Thesis 9), and the structure of governance (Thesis 10).

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    A draft thesis is an initial statement that outlines the main argument of a research paper, essay, or project. This statement should be clear, concise, and focused, and it should present the author's stance on a particular issue. A draft thesis, therefore, makes an argument for or against a position. The other options are not the correct answer ...

  24. python

    Please be sure to answer the question. Provide details and share your research! But avoid … Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. To learn more, see our tips on writing great answers.