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In a research paper, a thesis statement should clearly outline what the topic of the essay is and the broad category of facts that will be included.
Because a thesis statement is such an important part of an essay or paper, it often gets its own scoring category on a rubric.
Imagine reading this lesson, but instead of headings, transitions, and a progression of ideas, you were instead presented with random facts all over the place with no clear organization.
It would probably be impossible to read and understand.
It is in this grading category that a research paper becomes different from other kinds of essays.
When you are writing a research paper, it is incredibly important that everything you state can be backed up with a source.
For our example rubric, the category 'Thesis Statement' covers this.
An unclear, poorly written thesis statement would earn a zero in this category, while a clearly written, engaging, and well-thought-out thesis statement would earn a three.