A thesis statement is the main idea of your paper. It’s a sentence that summarizes the entire essay, and it usually ends with a period. It provides a roadmap to the reader detailing what to expect from the rest of the paper, setting the tone for the writing, and generally providing a sense of the main idea. Given its importance, writing a good thesis statement can be tricky most of the time. A thesis statement can harbor the entire argument of the paper in just a few words; therefore, it’s important to take your time to craft a good thesis statement. In other words, if you’re writing an intro paragraph, then this should include your thesis statement.
If you’re unsure what your thesis statement should be yet, there are ways to figure it out! For example:
- Look at your topic and ask yourself what question(s) you’re trying to answer in this paper (i.e., What’s the problem?). This will give you a good starting point for writing your thesis statement because all papers have problems they are trying to solve or issues they are addressing within their subject matter. Think about how many paragraphs make up this part of your essay (if any). Then think about what evidence could support those claims/opinions/statements—and voila! You’ve got yourself a thesis statement!
How to choose a thesis topic
When you are writing a thesis, you must select a topic relevant to your readers and the assignment. The following questions can help you find the best topic for your paper:
- Does the assignment require a specific type of thesis? It’s important to check with your instructor if there are any special requirements or guidelines for submitting a thesis in their class. For example, some teachers may want students to include certain elements in their papers (like an introduction section), while others may not care about those parts.
- Does my thesis fit into any of the categories on this list? If there was one thing I wish I could go back and tell myself when I first started writing my first few assignments as an undergrad student, it would be “DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE YOU THINK IT’S COOL AND INTERESTING!” Often, we get so excited about the topics that we forget about what our professors or instructors require when it comes time for us to write up those final pieces of work because they have deadlines too! This leads me directly to my next point.
Does the assignment require a specific type of thesis?
If your assignment requires a specific type of thesis, you will have to follow that. For example, if the assignment asks for a cause-and-effect thesis, you will have to write about the effects of something and how that caused those effects. If it asks for topic and argumentation essays, your entire essay will be an argument in favor of one side of an issue or another.
However, if there is no specific requirement concerning your thesis statement (like what we’ve talked about so far), it’s up to you! You can choose whatever topic interests you most and create a research paper using the said topic as its central idea.
Does your thesis fit the assignment?
It’s important to make sure your thesis fits the assignment. It may be tempting to write a thesis that is larger than the topic you’re being asked to write about, but this is a bad idea for two reasons:
- You’ll have trouble writing an essay that fits your topic if it’s too broad or general.
- You’ll get in trouble with your professor if you don’t include enough specific evidence and details in your paper.
If you’re not sure how well your thesis matches what’s expected, take some time to read through the assignment sheet again before writing anything else.
State the main points of your thesis concisely, as it will guide your reader through the rest of your paper. In most cases, you should have three main points: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction has two parts: a hook and an overview or preview of what is to follow later on in your essay or research paper. The body is where you prove those arguments with supporting evidence and examples. Lastly, there’s the conclusion which wraps up all arguments into one neat little bow that ties everything together nicely for readers, so they get more out of reading it than if they didn’t know how much effort went into making sure this was done right.
Do not include any additional information (e.g., evidence) in your thesis statement – that is what the body paragraphs are for!
It is important to know that the thesis statement, unlike an essay’s conclusion, does not include any additional information (e.g., evidence) that supports the problem. In fact, it should be a one-sentence summary of your paper, for example:
“This paper aims to discuss the various ways in which X has affected Y.”
Types of thesis statements
The thesis statement is the foundation of your argument. It’s not an easy task to write a good one, but it’s not impossible either. The best way to start is by deciding what type of thesis statement you will use. There are four types:
- Compare and contrast
The best way to create a strong thesis statement is by using one of these four methods and focus on crafting a clear analysis that addresses all sides of the issue at hand.
Argumentative Thesis Statement
An argumentative thesis statement must be debatable. This means that you should be able to say why you believe the topic is worth debating and why it’s important to debate it. If a topic cannot be discussed, it shouldn’t be the basis for an argumentative essay or thesis statement.
An argumentative thesis must also be clear, unambiguous, and relevant. Don’t use confusing terms or phrases that are open to interpretation; instead, use words whose meanings are clear and easily understood by your intended audience. Further, don’t choose a topic with no relevance to your audience; make sure that what you’re writing about has value for them as well as yourself!
Finally, an effective argumentative thesis will include evidence from research studies (books/articles) that support its claims. These sources provide credibility as well as background information so readers can see where they came from and how they came up with conclusions drawn during the study sessions while researching this particular subject matter.”
Analytical Thesis Statement
The analytical thesis statement is a sentence that states what you’re going to talk about in your essay. It’s the foundation of your essay, and it should be the most important sentence in your paper. It should also be the first sentence that you’ll use to introduce your argument or paper.
The analytical thesis statement will help readers understand what they can expect from reading your work—it provides them with an overall sense of direction while still giving them room for surprise.
For example: “In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is characterized by her independent nature.” There are few surprises here; instead, readers can anticipate that this essay will explore how Austen’s heroines are portrayed as independent women who challenge gender norms during their respective periods. If a reader were interested in discussing how independence was represented differently between male and female characters (or both), this would make an excellent starting point!
Expository Thesis Statement
An expository thesis statement is a statement that gives the reader a clear idea of what you are going to write about. It provides a general overview of the topic and offers a clear direction for your paper.
Expository: Explaining something or someone; an explanation or description
Thesis Statement: The main idea (thesis) of an essay, report, or speech
Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement
This type of thesis statement compares two or more things, ideas, people, or events. Thesis statements are similar to an argumentative essay because they make claims that can be backed up by evidence. A good compare and contrast thesis statement will identify similarities and differences between the subjects being compared.
A compare and contrast thesis statement contains one or more contexts that are being compared and a claim about how they are similar or different to answer the question: “How do these two things differ?” An excellent way to think of it is this: if you were given two pairs of pants (one pair of blue jeans and another black dress pants), which pair would you wear? And why? This type of question helps guide your thinking, so when writing about your topic(s), you know what aspects matter most for your argument.
Cause and Effect Thesis Statement
Cause and effect thesis statements are a great way to connect your argument with the reader. Such an essay explains the reasons behind a phenomenon or event. The main idea of a cause and effect essay is that if you want to understand something, you need to look at its causes (or previous events) and how those causes led up to the present situation.
Thesis statement examples:
- If we don’t stop global warming, our planet will become uninhabitable by 2050.
- Obesity is caused by junk food in school cafeterias, lack of physical activity during school hours, and television advertising aimed at children.
- Lousy parenting leads directly to teen pregnancy because parents don’t spend enough time with their children. Teens then get pregnant because they don’t know what’s involved in raising a baby; teens who have babies go on welfare because they’re not ready for parenthood; teens who go on welfare end up having more kids than other people do—and so on.”
The following are examples of thesis statements:
- “The role of women in society has been changing since the 1960s.” This is too broad because it doesn’t give any information about what a writer will discuss. While this statement may be true, it does not tell the reader what to expect from reading your paper.
- “In Walden Two, Frazier’s utopia relies on an authoritarian government structure to keep order.” In contrast to the first example, this one is too narrow because it does not allow for other possible interpretations or ideas about the book.
- “George Orwell’s 1984 is an important work because it exposes the dangers of totalitarianism and fascism by portraying Winston Smith’s rebellion against Big Brother.” This thesis statement is too specific and too general at once; while you can use “a large number” as a synonym for many things (such as 800 words), someone else might think 200 words would be sufficient—or even 100!
- Analytical thesis statements should be broad and general, for example: “The media is biased towards the government.”
- Argumentative thesis statements are specific and narrow in scope, such as: “The media is biased towards the government because it fails to report on protests.”
Examples of weak and strong thesis statements
- The use of technology has increased over the years.
- The use of technology has been increasing over the years, and there is no sign that it will slow down any time soon.
- Women have made great strides toward equality with men in terms of employment; however, there are still many areas in which they are not equal with men or receive fewer opportunities than men do to pursue their careers or education after high school or college graduation, especially in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
- Women have made great strides toward equality with men in terms of employment since the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, which prohibited employers from discriminating against employees based on race and gender; however, there are still many areas in which they are not equal with men or receive fewer opportunities than men do to pursue their careers or education after high school or college graduation
The thesis statement is the most important part of your paper. It’s the main idea or points you want to convey, and it should be crafted in one sentence that clearly expresses what you intend to say. Your thesis statement should also be specific so that when you write your introduction, each paragraph and even every sentence supports this central theme.
You can write a strong thesis by considering three questions: What am I trying to prove? Why am I trying to prove it? What evidence will support my claim?
In sum, a good thesis statement should be concise and clear. It should contain your position on the topic and the main points you will cover to support that position.
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