Now that you understand what you’ve been asked to do, have chosen a topic that fits the assignment, and have researched and organized that research, you’re ready to articulate your own opinion, argument, or assertion.
If you want to find helpful and reliable sources of information, the library is literally the best place to look around. There are numerous books, published articles, journals and etc. that you can choose from about your chosen topic.
This can be daunting, but don’t get too bent out of shape. It can be very helpful to write about something you’re interested in or passionate about, but don’t worry about choosing the perfect topic. In many cases, a controversial topic can be ideal, so that you can exercise your ability to objectively explain differing positions, and even defend one if the assignment calls for that.
Any information that doesn’t fit within the framework of your outline, and doesn’t directly support your thesis statement, no matter how interesting, doesn’t belong in your research paper. Keep your focus narrow and avoid the kitchen sink approach.
The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay.