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Writing a Thesis paper!

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Thanks everybody! I'm going to google them all. I did a little looking online and I'm very confused, because a lot of the things I read was talking about essays and I thought an essay was completely different than a thesis. Ugh!


The words "essay" and "thesis" each have different meanings in different contexts. Perhaps that is the confusion.


In general, an essay is just a short piece of writing. It could be descriptive or narrative. It could be a personal statement or an attempt at persuasion or even a short memoir. It really has more to do with the length than the content. If you get a collection of "essays" from the library, you'll find all kinds of writing on all kinds of subjects.


In a school setting, though, usually "essay" refers to a specific type of short writing, i.e. a short *persuasive* paper. Its subject could be almost anything: historical, contemporary, literary, political, etc., but the defining feature is that it asserts a contention and then presents an argument in favor of that contention. That contention is what's called a "thesis". The book Lively Art of Writing is devoted to writing this kind of essay.


A thesis, then, could be the contention asserted in a persuasive essay. Other types of papers, including research papers, can also have a thesis. The term "thesis" is also used, primarily in post-secondary education, to mean a long research paper, usually involving original research. So a graduate student will write a "doctoral thesis" to complete a PhD.


So, when you asked for advice on writing a "thesis paper", I think most people interpreted that to mean an "essay" of the second type. Did you mean a research paper instead? Or something else?

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