What is a Thesis Statement?
Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to go after. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.
Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?
- to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
- to better organize and develop your argument
- to provide your reader with a «guide» to your argument
In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the response to the question your paper examines.
How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?
Here are some helpful hints to get you embarked. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned
Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be diminished to a single question. Your very first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, «Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,» turn the request into a question like, «What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?» After you’ve chosen the question your essay will reaction, compose one or two finish sentences answering that question.
Q: «What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?»
A: «The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are. »
A: «Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve. »
The response to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned
Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to reaction a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.
A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:
Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.
Brainstorm the topic .
Let’s say that your class concentrates upon the problems posed by switches in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.
You begin out with a thesis statement like this:
This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.
Narrow the topic .
Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.
You switch your thesis to look like this:
Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.
This fragment not only announces your subject, but it concentrates on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.
Take a position on the topic.
After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you determine that what you truly want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.
You revise your thesis statement to look like this:
More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.
This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.
Use specific language .
You determine to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices. so you write:
Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.
This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.
Make an assertion based on clearly stated support.
You eventually revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:
Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to substitute the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.
Notice how the thesis answers the question, «What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?» When you commenced thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis switched to reflect your fresh insights.
How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Feeble One
1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.
Recall that your thesis needs to showcase your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:
There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.
This is a feeble thesis statement. Very first, it fails to take a stand. 2nd, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.
Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean bod mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.
This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it’s specific.
Two. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.
Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:
My family is an extended family.
This is a powerless thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will most likely stop reading.
While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.
This is a strong thesis because it shows how your practice contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to display that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.
Trio. A strong thesis statement voices one main idea.
Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement voices more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:
Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.
This is a feeble thesis statement because the reader can’t determine whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship inbetween the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:
Because the Internet is packed with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that suggest both advertising and customer support.
This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a good many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because. since. so. albeit. unless. and however .
Four. A strong thesis statement is specific.
A thesis statement should demonstrate exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you’re writing a seven-to-ten page paper on thirst, you might say:
World thirst has many causes and effects.
This is a feeble thesis statement for two major reasons. Very first, world thirst can’t be discussed accurately in seven to ten pages. 2nd, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:
Thirst persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is uncommonly profitable.
This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of thirst.
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