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Research Starter - CLDR 301: Academic Writing


A thesis is simply a statement or claim, which needs to be supported or proven.  In the case of this particular assignment, the thesis should be your proposed definition for leadership with reference to how you will support this definition.

What your thesis should NOT be:

  • Your thesis should not be a question... What is leadership?  This is not a thesis statement; it is the question your thesis should be answering.
  • Your thesis should not be a simple observation... Leadership is important in the local church.  Really?  Your thesis statement should have more substance to it.
  • Your thesis is not the title of your paper... Leadership in the local church: three reasons why it is important.  Your thesis statement needs to be more specific, providing a clear roadmap for your reader about what to expect from the rest of your paper.

What your thesis SHOULD be:

  • Succinct... The thesis statement should be one sentence, two at the most, and should be located (typically) at the end of your introductory paragraph.
  • Focused... The thesis statement should tell specifically what your paper will discuss.  This is a one (or two) sentence summarization of your entire paper.  
  • Arguable... You want people to be able to agree or disagree with the claim you are making in your thesis statement.
  • Supportable... The rest of your paper is going to be written to support the claim you make in your thesis statement; make sure you have something to write about. 

Thesis for Proposed Paper:

You should be able to formulate a proposed definition for leadership that is supported through the text of the rest of your paper.  Begin with answering for yourself the question of what leadership is... then tell the reader why you think so.  Your "why" will be support drawn from the other required parts of your paper.  Your thesis might follow this layout: 

  • Definition of leadership supported by
    • reference to a Biblical Foundation for your definition,
    • indication of what different leadership theories support your definition,
    • and mention of how your definition of leadership is evident in the local church.
  • Leadership could be defined as (your definition here) which is established in (Biblical Text here), explained through (leadership theory here), and demonstrated by (action from local church).


Having trouble getting started on your paper?  The resources included on this page can help.  The videos in this box explain what academic writing is, what the structure and organization of an academic paper should look like, how to incorporate resources into your paper to support your ideas and some rules to remember as you write your paper.  

Please note, some of these instructional videos reference the MLA Style of citation and formatting.  You will be using the SOR Style of Writing Guide as your citation and formatting style, which is a bit different.  Please follow the citation and formatting rules outlined in the SOR Manual of Style.    


Academic Writing Example Paper

Freewriting Example

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