Once you have a specific, narrow topic, you’ll want to be sure you bring that specific topic into your essay effectively and maintain focus on that specific topic. It can be easy to wander off topic in a long research paper, but a good research paper always has a strong focus. Information that does not directly relate to supporting your point or maintaining your focus shouldn’t be included in your research essay.
Some research assignments will require a specifically stated thesis statement, while other projects will simply require that you maintain a strong focus, without requiring a specific thesis. The following pages on thesis and focus will help you make effective choices, no matter the nature of your assignment.