First Step: A Strong Thesis Statement

As an academic writer thinking about structuring your paper, the first step you must focus on is a strong thesis statement, which must stand at the top of your paper. Your thesis statement should be a single sentence that is concisely and clearly stated. If you write your paper so that every sentence and paragraph follows from this thesis statement, your paper will be logically structured. Therefore, the stronger and more specific your thesis statement or research question is, the easier it will be for you to write strong individual topic sentences for each paragraph. And then the easier it will be for your readers to understand your paper.

The Thesis Statement Is Key to Structuring Your Paper

When paragraphs make clear points that follow logically from a strong research question and are supported by logically structured argumentation, your readers can discern the line of argumentation, or logical progression, within each paragraph and throughout the paper. This clear and logical paragraph structure serves to support your larger argument and increases the likelihood that your readers will know where you are going and be better able to follow along.  To repeat: Every sentence you write must follow that clearly stated thesis statement. In sum, a clear thesis statement is the first thing your readers will look for to help them to navigate through your paper.