I was driving the endless miles of Interstate 70 crossing Kansas when I began to notice that the exits all looked the same. Thesis statements usually forecast the paper’s content, present the paper’s fundamental hypothesis, or even suggest that the paper is an argument for a particular way of thinking about a topic. Here are two carefully focused and thoughtfully worded thesis statements, both of which appeared at the ends of introductory paragraphs: This paper reviews the problem of Pennsylvania’s dwindling landfill space, evaluates the success of recycling as a solution to this problem, and challenges the assumption that Pennsylvania will run out of landfill space by the year 2020.
Avoid the purely mechanical act of writing statements like "The first topic covered in this paper is x. As this paper will show, the fundamental problem behind the Arab-Israeli conflict is the lack of a workable solution to the third stage of partition, which greatly hinders the current negotiations for peace.
Most importantly, then, you must use your section headings in the same way that you use topic sentences or thesis statements: to control, limit, and organize your thinking for your reader’s sake.
Most papers use "Conclusion" as a heading for the final section of the text, although there are times when headings such as "Future Trends" will serve equally well for a paper’s closing section.
As examples, I offer two sets of section headings taken from essays. Craig Bohren’s "Understanding Colors in Nature" (1), which appeared in a 1990 edition of Just by considering the section headings in the above examples, we can begin to see the fundamental structures and directions of the essays, because both sets of headings break the paper topic into its natural parts and suggest some sort of a movement forward through a topic.
Note how these headings—as all section headings should—tell us the story of the paper and are worded just as carefully as any title should be.
As these findings demonstrate, women of all ages can benefit by regular weight-bearing exercise, an increased intake of calcium-rich foods, and—for postmenopausal women—the maintenance of adequate estrogen levels.
For all women, it is never too late to prevent osteoporosis or lessen its severity by making appropriate lifestyle choices.
Often you are expected to supply a cover sheet giving the date, your name, the title of the paper, the class, and the professor’s name.
Tables and figures should be numbered consecutively throughout the text, and if there are a good number of them, then separate lists of tables and figures at the beginning of the paper may be expected.