The basics of writing a thesis statement

Pamphlet: How to Write a Thesis Statement. After you've chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that .
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This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing.

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement - EasyBib Blog

After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one.

When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process.

Select a Topic

Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts such as surprising contrasts or similarities , and think about the significance of these relationships. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way. Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement.

For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :. Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You turn on the computer and type out the following:.

This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information. How are they the same? How are they different? Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong? You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. You write:. Now you have a working thesis!

Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason. As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague. Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues. You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper:.

Compare this to the original weak thesis. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Use your own words in thesis statements; avoid quoting. Crafting an original, insightful, and memorable thesis makes a distinct impression on a reader. You will lose credibility as a writer if you become only a mouthpiece or a copyist; you will gain credibility by grabbing the reader with your own ideas and words. A well-crafted thesis statement reflects well-crafted ideas. It signals a writer who has intelligence, commitment, and enthusiasm.

Wright St. Degree Ph. How long does it need to be? Tip : In order to write a successful thesis statement: Avoid burying a great thesis statement in the middle of a paragraph or late in the paper. Be as clear and as specific as possible; avoid vague words. Tip : Check your thesis: Are there two large statements connected loosely by a coordinating conjunction i. Would a subordinating conjunction help i. Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis? If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development.

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Is your thesis statement too general? Compare this original thesis too general with three possible revisions more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic : Original thesis : There are serious objections to today's horror movies. Revised theses : Because modern cinematic techniques have allowed filmmakers to get more graphic, horror flicks have desensitized young American viewers to violence. The pornographic violence in "bloodbath" slasher movies degrades both men and women.

How to Create the Perfect Thesis Statement with Examples

Today's slasher movies fail to deliver the emotional catharsis that s horror films did. Is your thesis statement clear? Tip : In order to be as clear as possible in your writing: Unless you're writing a technical report, avoid technical language.

Always avoid jargon, unless you are confident your audience will be familiar with it. Compare the original thesis not specific and clear enough with the revised version much more specific and clear : Original thesis : Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated.

Does your thesis include a comment about your position on the issue at hand? Tips : Avoid merely announcing the topic; your original and specific "angle" should be clear. In this way you will tell your reader why your take on the issue matters. Original thesis : In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between fairy tales and early childhood. Revised thesis : Not just empty stories for kids, fairy tales shed light on the psychology of young children.

Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

Original thesis : We must save the whales. Revised thesis : Because our planet's health may depend upon biological diversity, we should save the whales. When you make a subjective judgment call, specify and justify your reasoning.

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Original thesis : Socialism is the best form of government for Kenya. Revised thesis : If the government takes over industry in Kenya, the industry will become more efficient. Avoid merely reporting a fact. Say more than what is already proven fact. Go further with your ideas. Otherwise… why would your point matter? Original thesis : Hoover's administration was rocked by scandal.