Developing a thesis statement. This is the main idea or central theme that you are developing, and the body of the paper should be designed to support your thesis. Therefore, the thesis should be stated at the outset of the paper, in your introduction. For example, " Should Abraham Lincoln be regarded as ' the Great Emancipator'?" Here you provide evidence in support of this idea, as well as information to the contrary. Then you would weigh the merits of one versus the other and draw a conclusion. In conclusion, you could take sides or decline to do so by indicating that both viewpoints have merit and why you believe that to be the case.