Writing a Good Thesis Statement: 17 Experts Explain How

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Writing a Good Thesis Statement: 17 Experts Explain How

Attempting to write a paper without first having formulated a good thesis statement—a sense of direction or purpose—makes the entire researching and writing process more difficult.  Regardless of whether you're ahead of schedule or leaving everything to the last minute, a strong thesis statement will set the tone and help guide you through your paper.

A thesis statement is your chance to take a unique angle on the given material and shine throughout the paper.  Introduce readers to your original interpretation of the material and challenge them to consider a new viewpoint.  When you put forth your best effort into crafting a truly fascinating observation or argument, you'll discover your groove and the words will start to flow onto the page.  Therefore, in times of paper-writing stress, it's important to take a deep breath and brainstorm thesis ideas first.

Feel Confident About the Material

Your thesis statement does need to reflect your confidence about the material, so gather up all your class notes and highlight any key points that inspire you to think deeper about the material.  If your class notes leave something to be desired, you can always surf the web and read through other academic interpretations of the material or consider helpful reference guides.  As you read through every available resource, you'll feel those brain gears turning and those bright ideas will quickly appear.  However, don't lose track of a single thought and jot down everything that comes to mind!

Brainstorm Clouds

Brainstorming sessions can do a serious number on a piece of paper, and you may end up with thought bubbles, triangles, squares, and cats all over your page.  However, brainstorming is a fantastic way to challenge your mind and tap into those interesting points that'll make a thesis statement shine.  With all these great ideas in hand, you can start to build a strong line of argument that's strengthened by specific evidence in the material.

When piecing together your thesis, remember to keep the paper's instructions in mind and stay within any set perimeters.  While you might have crafted an amazing thesis, it won't bode well if it's not aligned with your instructor's specific criteria.  For example, your instructor may want you to connect the thesis statement to the relevance of civil rights, fashion or economics.

It's also important to understand whether you're expected to persuade readers your argument against another established argument; however, your thesis may be required to highlight an interesting connection in the material and not argue against another specific argument.  Thinking critically about arguments that can refute your point will definitely help you as well; you don't want to find yourself simply summarizing material and not inspiring some kind of disagreement.

The Sentence

Once you've settled on a groundbreaking, awe-inspiring thesis, you'll endeavor to summarize it into the form of a single sentence, the "thesis sentence."  This can be a bit of a challenge at first, but you can write a series of difference sentences that'll help you frame the words just right.  When writing your golden sentence, try to avoid some of the following pitfalls:
  • writing in first person: "In this paper, I'm going to prove....";
  • posing your thesis as a question: "How did 19th century fashion standards affect women?";
  • being overly combative with your line of argument;
  • veering completely off topic.
Your awesome thesis statement should generally appear in the introduction of your paper, so you should strategically place it to generate the most impact.  To be on the safe side, consider placing your thesis sentence in the middle or end of the paragraph, and write a couple lead-in statements to gear up to that impact.  A reader must be engaged from the very beginning, and your thesis statement will shine that much more when proceeding sentences are strong, informative, and fascinating!

Your Thesis Roadmap

Not only is a thesis statement a road map for your reader, it's also your own personal guide during the writing process.  It's easy to go off on a tangent while passionately writing about the material, but your thesis statement will wrangle you in and keep you focused on the objective.  The body paragraphs are there to provide strong evidence for your thesis, while the conclusion exists to wrap everything up and pack a final punch to drive your thesis home!

Regardless of whether you're arguing against an already established argument or persuading the validity of an observation, the power of your thesis will be determined by its impact on the reader.  As your paper builds, the power of your idea should be strengthened with each body paragraph that introduces more evidence.  It's absolutely crucial to interpret that evidence accurately and choose the strongest examples available.

While a reader may not even agree with your angle, you can still convince them that your point serves a place and deserves consideration.  Surprisingly, you may find yourself successfully challenging a reader and forcing them cave to your astounding and provocative argument.  Generating that type of response is a fantastic feeling, and it'll provide you with a surge of confidence that you can apply toward your next paper.

Viewpoint of Author #2

The thesis statement of your essay is the single most important element of your paper.  This is because the thesis statement is the one sentence that the entire paper will revolve around.  As such, all subsequent paragraphs and sentences must serve to support the thesis statement you have developed.

The thesis statement serves many different purposes for the reader.  First, it tells the reader how you will be interpreting the subject matter throughout the remainder.  The thesis statement also serves as a sort of "road map" to the reader that helps the reader understand what he or she should expect from the rest.  Similarly, when writing the report in response to an inquiry, it clearly states what your thoughts are about that question.  

When writing a thesis statement, you need to try to keep it to just one sentence that will be included in your introductory paragraph.  In this way, the rest of your paper can be written to organize the research you have gathered in a logical manner that supports the thesis you have written.

In order to come up with your thesis, you need to have a clear idea about what your paper will be about and what your position will be on the matter.  If you are required to develop an opinion on the subject, this position should be conveyed in your thesis statement.

Before you develop your thesis statement, you will actually need to conduct an extensive amount of research on the topic first.  This way, you can formulate your ideas and develop your position.  Although you may have an idea of what your thesis will be as you conduct your research, which is referred to as having a "working thesis," it will likely need to be tweaked and revised as you conduct your research further.

After developing your thesis statement, there are many inquiries you can ask yourself in order to determine if the thesis you have developed is a good one.  These include:

  • Does the thesis answer the question?
  • Does it take a position that could be challenged or opposed by someone else?
  • Does it make a connection with the reader, or does it make the reader say "So what?"
  • Can I write an article that supports the thesis I have developed?
  • Does the report make the reader ask why or how?

A strong thesis will answer a question while taking a stand that may be argued against.  In addition, it should connect with the reader in some way.  If your thesis makes the reader say "So what?," you will need to rewrite the thesis statement.  Similarly, there must be enough information available to adequately support your thesis.  At the same time, if your thesis makes the reader ask how or why, it is probably too broad and should be narrowed accordingly.

If writing the report for a class, it is always a good idea to run your thesis statement past the instructor.  This way, you can gain feedback and find out if the thesis statement is strong and appropriate for the assignment.

Viewpoint of Author #3

A three-point thesis is a statement or group of statements asserting an argument that has three primary components.  A thesis is a sentence or two that states WHAT a report is about—the point or argument—and HOW that point or argument is going to be explained and defended.  A three-point thesis differs from other thesis statements only in that it has a specifically three-pronged approach to its explanation and defense.  These three prongs are introduced in the HOW part.  For instance, a history paper about the causes of the American Revolution might argue that the Revolution arose in part from an emerging sense of separate national identity on the part of New World inhabitants.  This is the argument.  To defend or explain this argument, the report might examine:

  • the ways in which distance from England allowed for the development of a separate national culture among colonists;
  • the ways in which English nationalism among colonists evolved over the course of the 18th century;
  • the reactions of colonists to the English Crown's attitude towards New World inhabitants and culture.

In this paper, the three-point thesis would be as follows: "The American Revolution arose in part from an emerging sense of separate national identity on the part of New World inhabitants.  This identity can be seen by examining the ways in which distance from England allowed for the development of a separate culture among colonists, the ways in which English nationalism among colonists evolved over the course of the 18th century, and the reactions of colonists to the English Crown's attitude towards New World inhabitants."  

Three-point theses should be specific enough to allow for detailed exploration of each of the three components.  For instance, the thesis above about the American Revolution would be a term-length paper or longer, because each of the three points would take several pages of development to adequately explain and defend.  If the assignment is to write a five-page essay regarding causes of the American Revolution, the scope of the document should be significantly narrowed and the three points scaled down accordingly.  A thesis for such a report might look like this: "New World colonists' distance from England allowed for the development of separate cultures among those colonists—cultures that were not as socially stratified, homogenous, or concerned with the traditions of European life as the culture of England.  These cultural differences led in part to a sense of nationalism and independence that contributed to the American Revolution."

When writing three-point theses, keep in mind that each point should be given roughly equal space and depth.  If the three-point thesis were for a two-page essay, there would likely be a paragraph each for the introduction and conclusion, then about two developed paragraphs for each point.  Three-point theses, like all theses, are essentially blueprints of a report or article.  Stick to the blueprint by following each point in the order in which it is presented in the thesis statement, and always remember to introduce the new point using a strong topic sentence.

Viewpoint of Author #4

A thesis statement is an essential part of many academic works.  It is most often a one-sentence statement that appears in the introductory paragraph of an academic paper, such as an essay or a reference project.  Thesis statements explain the theme for a paper by succinctly stating the purpose and conclusion.

There are several different ways to write a thesis statement.  The type of assignment that a pupil writes will generally determine the structure of the thesis statement.  In most cases, a simple "if, then" statement will be an appropriate thesis statement.  In an "if, then" statement, a student will state that if one thing happens, then a certain result will follow.  "If, then" statements are basic cause and effect statements, which help to provide structure and purpose for an article.  

Some essays, however, require more complex thesis statements.  For example, if a student is writing a comparative assignment, an "if, then" statement might not be appropriate.  In such a situation where a student needs to compare multiple documents or ideas, the student may wish to create a complex thesis statement that briefly explains the purpose and conclusion of the comparison article.  If a thesis statement cannot be written in one sentence, it may be appropriate to break the thesis statement into two sentences, but only in some cases.  

Thesis statements are always included in the beginning of the document.  Some professors prefer that they are the first sentence of the introductory paragraph.  Other professors prefer that a thesis statement is the last sentence of an introductory paragraph.  Therefore, learners should always review writing guidelines that a professor hands out prior to creating the structure for the document.

Each body paragraph of a report should support the thesis statement.  It often takes multiple ideas or pieces of information in order to prove a thesis statement to be true.  Each new idea or piece of information should be included in a separate paragraph.  The final paragraph of the article should provide a conclusion to the reports by summarizing the ideas or pieces of information and drawing conclusions.  The conclusion will always tie back to the thesis statement.

A thesis statement is similar to a purpose statement.  However, a formal purpose statement is a specific section of a scientific method or a reference project.  A thesis is generally used with articles that explore ideas or provide information.  A thesis does provide the purpose for an assignment, but a thesis statement is not synonymous with a purpose statement, as a purpose statement refers to a scientific document.

Viewpoint of Author #5

It is common for students new to college to receive criticism about their writing that focuses on the thesis.  A thesis statement is a sentence or group of sentences that asserts the main idea of any piece of writing.  All documents should have a thesis; frequently, however, students do not really know how to write a thesis statement.  Learning how to write theses is one of the most important skills that a college writer will acquire.  It will enhance not only his or her writing ability, but also his or her critical analysis and reading skills.

Students learning how to write a thesis statement will benefit from first learning how to identify the thesis in others' writing.  Once a student is comfortable recognizing a thesis, she will better know how to write a thesis herself.  To this end, it may be helpful for students to read a variety of student and professional texts to determine if they can identify the thesis statements of these documents.  Typically, a thesis will be in the first 1/4 of the document, and will encapsulate in a few sentences the entire point of the piece.  A good way to begin identifying thesis statements is to read a document and then write down in a sentence what the main idea of the entire document is.  When going back to the first 1/4 of the document, some variation of that sentence should be clearly presented in the text.  This is the thesis.  Students may also find it helpful to look at writing composition books and online resources that underline or highlight thesis statements so that they can double-check their article-finding abilities.

After students are comfortable recognizing a thesis statement, they can learn how to write theses themselves by imitating these theses.  This does not mean that the student should copy the thesis of another writer, but that he or she should use other student compositions as models.  For instance, a student may find the following thesis in an essay on the American Revolution: "The American Revolution arose in part from an emerging sense of separate national identity on the part of New World inhabitants.  This identity can be seen by examining the ways in which distance from England allowed for the development of a separate culture among colonists."  When examining this thesis in detail, the student may note that the thesis is two fully-developed sentences.  The first sentence clearly identifies the topic of the thesis and the following sentence presents evidence for the defense of that topic.  The student may also notice that the thesis is written in very strong and specific language—there is no question about exactly what the sentences mean, and no words that have vague connotations.  In fact, the student may even notice that every single word contributes directly to the clear understanding of each sentence.  After observing these elements, the pupil can model his own thesis on this form using an entirely different topic.  

Once a student has modeled a few theses, he or she will learn how to write theses without assistance.  A thesis will always include an assertion of an opinion or interpretation and then reasons supporting the validity of that opinion or interpretation.  Typically, the thesis will need to undergo several stages of revision until the student refines it to the clearest and most precise statement it can be.

Viewpoint of Author #6

A thesis sentence is one that encapsulates a main argument or one component of a thesis statement.  A thesis statement—the main point or argument of a text—can be of varying length and complexity.  Therefore, it is not uncommon for a single thesis statement to be comprised of two or three main argument sentences.  It is important not to confuse a thesis sentence with a thesis statement.

Sometimes, a main argument contains only one thesis sentence.  In this single sentence, the entire main point or primary argument of the text will be expressed.  More often, however, this point or argument is broken into two and sometimes more sentences, particularly if the point or argument is detailed or complex.  When the main argument is comprised of more than one sentence, it is common for the first sentence to be an assertion of the primary interpretation or argument of the report, and for the second thesis sentence to present evidence or examples that support that interpretation or argument.  This second sentence can be thought of as the "how" sentence because it explains how the interpretation or argument will be defended and discussed in the course.  

Thesis statements must be very clear and precise; therefore, thesis sentences must be carefully crafted and even more carefully revised.  A good practice for revising thesis sentences is to examine each word and phrase of the sentence and consider if that word or phrase is as precise as it can be.  Consider the following thesis sentence: "Community service is a good thing for communities because it helps society improve."  This has a basic idea, but it is not very specific.  First, the word "good" is too vague.  This writer should determine exactly what type of "good" community service does for communities.  The same is true for the word "improve."  This sentence should explain how society improves through community service.  Another vague word is "society."  Who or what comprises "society?" A better thesis on the same idea would be "Community service contributes to the social and cultural well-being of cities and towns by developing community relationships and addressing the particular needs of specific locales."  All thesis sentences should be scrutinized in this fashion in order to develop thesis sentences that cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Viewpoint of Author #7

All college students must learn how to write a thesis.  A thesis is a statement or group of statements that expresses the main point or argument of a piece of writing.  Every document—whether it is a three-page essay or a multi-volume book—will have a thesis.  Learning how to write theses well is an essential skill for college writing.

To write a thesis is to make an assertion.  An assertion is a bold statement of idea, opinion, or argument.  An assertion is confident and precise.  Therefore, although to write a thesis is to present one's own idea or opinion, writing a thesis is not the same as merely expressing oneself.  Often, self-expression uses the first-person voice: "I think that..."  or "My opinion is...."  These are not theses; they are only expressions of self.  A thesis must transform that expression into an assertion that the writer presents as a true statement that can be logically defended.  For example, if one were to write a critical assertion on one's belief that Beethoven was a better composer than Mozart, one would not say: "I think that Beethoven was a better composer than Mozart."  This is self-expression.  To make a thesis from this opinion requires the writer to cast this in assertive language, remove the first-person voice, and present justification for the opinion: "Though lacking Mozart's impressive productivity, Beethoven was a superior composer because his work demonstrates increasingly complex innovation over the course of his career."  Notice that in this thesis, there is a phrase that explains why Beethoven was a superior composer.  A thesis presents a point, and always gives justification for that point by saying why or how the point is valid.  

To write theses well, one must perform a process of multiple revisions.  Revising the thesis requires carefully considering each word and phrase and determining if that word or phrase is assertive and precise.  It also requires determining whether or not the claims the thesis makes are valid, defendable, and complex enough to write about.  One cannot write theses on definitive facts such as "A foot consists of twelve inches," because there is nothing to say.  Similarly, a thesis cannot assert that "There are fourteen deities on Mars" because that thesis cannot be defended using any valid scholarly document.  

Writing good theses takes time, but, like most skills, can be learned.  Students will benefit greatly from seeking the assistance and feedback of their instructors or their university writing centers.  These writing professionals can walk students through the process of constructing solid and compelling thesis statements.

Viewpoint of Author #8

Thesis research is unlike the research a writer will do after the thesis has been determined in that thesis research is not focused, but wandering; its purpose is to generate ideas rather than to find them.  For many academic essays and papers, a thesis emerges from a period of brainstorming and exploring rather than from a eureka moment of inspiration.  This is natural, as a thesis is a very refined, specific idea, and does not typically occur to a writer in its final form.  The exploratory process of thesis generation often includes some research, particularly if the writer's topic is a complex or academic one.

Why do thesis research?  Often, a writer will be interested in a particular topic, but will not have enough information about that topic to develop a definitive point or opinion about it.  In such cases, it is necessary to do some preliminary investigating in order to learn enough about the subject to develop a particular stance or opinion.  In other cases, a writer may simply have a general area of interest, but no specific topic on which to develop an argument, and then may do some thesis research in order to determine possible topics on which to write.  

As mentioned, thesis research is not the focused type of research a student will do after she has determined her thesis.  Rather, thesis research is exploratory, and should be directed by a student's interest.  For instance, if a student wishes to write an essay on the relationship between left-handedness and musical talent, she would likely begin her research by browsing literature on handedness and talent.  However, through the research, she may find herself drawn in a new direction by a point made in that literature about a psychological aspect of musical talent, and decide she would prefer to write her assignment on that instead.  

Another difference between thesis research and essay or paper research is that thesis research is often internet-based, and this is fine.  When writing academic texts, students are typically encouraged to base their research in sources found through scholarly databases; however, because thesis research is exploratory and is intended to generate ideas rather than serve as cited research, the internet is often an excellent source for this type of data collection.  In fact, the type of web surfing students commonly do when casually browsing the web is the exact type of exploratory research a student should do when researching for a thesis.

Viewpoint of Author #9

Students will have to write thesis statements as a normal part of their academic writing assignments.  Every type of academic paper needs a thesis.  Therefore, in order to effectively write theses for all of these various types of reports, students need to understand the purpose of a thesis.

Whenever a student is required to write thesis statements, learners should spend some time reflecting on the nature of the report before they actually create the thesis statement.  The whole purpose of a thesis statement is to briefly explain the point of a college report.  If a report is especially long or research-loaded, then the student might have a hard time narrowing down the point of the report so that he or she can write theses statements.  

One of the best ways for students to write theses statements is to create a loose outline for the document.  Of course, a detailed outline can only be created once a student knows what he or she wishes to say in the report, which will be determined by the thesis statement.  However, a loose outline will help the student to compose his or her thoughts so he or she can understand where he or she would like to go with the document.  

The loose outline will also help the student to determine his or her conclusion to the document.  The conclusion is going to be a one or two paragraph statement about the student's findings.  However, the thesis statement is a miniature, one-sentence conclusions will provides the purpose.  Students should write thesis statements before they write the conclusion or the body.  Yet, if the student already knows what the conclusion will be, the learner will have an easier time writing the thesis statement.  

When learners write theses statements, they usually follow a format.  First, the thesis statement should appear as the first or last sentence of the introduction.  Next, the thesis statement should follow an "if, then" format, which means that the student should state that if something happens in one way, then a result will occur in another way.  

When learners write thesis statements, they need to be aware that the thesis statement is not the same thing as the introduction, even though the thesis statement is included in the introduction.  Many times, students think that an entire introduction can replace a thesis statement.  However, an introduction should provide background information and basic information about key themes.  A thesis statement needs to provide the purpose for the document and should only be one sentence long.

Viewpoint of Author #10

A thesis is the main point of a written document.  It can often be found written out in a text in a statement or group of statements asserting an argument, claim, or idea that is the essential premise of the entire text.  A thesis is not the same as a topic.  A topic is the general subject of a college report.  For instance, there are reports written about marine biology, reports written about musicology, and papers written about George Washington.  All of these are topics.  A hypothesis presents a point about that topic, typically incorporating a WHAT and a HOW.  The WHAT is the article's point or argument and the HOW is the way that point or argument is going to be explained and developed.  

Theses must be very specific.  A hypothesis should not state, for instance, that "George Washington was a good president."  First, the word "good" is very vague—it could mean many different things.  Second, this thesis does not give reasons explaining how Washington was a good president.  A better hypothesis would develop the idea of "good" to be very specific—for instance, it might say that "George Washington's excellent negotiating and strategy skills regarding both domestic planning and foreign relations developed his reputation as a wise leader and a popular president."  This thesis explains why Washington was a good president—because he was an excellent negotiator and strategist—and will explain how he was an excellent negotiator and strategist by pointing to his domestic planning success as well as his foreign relations skills.

When composing theses, it is helpful to perform a process of multiple revisions in order to truly narrow the hypothesis down to a specific argument.  This often begins by starting with general statements such as "George Washington was a good president."  Like most aspects of writing, it is helpful to get basic ideas down first, and then to revise and refine.  Revising the thesis requires carefully considering each word and phrase in the thesis.  It may help to constantly state to yourself, "George Washington was a good president because...."  Then, reply with a variety of specific expansions of thought.  For example, "George Washington was a good president because he helped to develop the nation and was an excellent negotiator."  This is far more specific than "George Washington was a good president," but in this thesis statement, the phrases "helped to develop the nation" and "an excellent negotiator" are not specific enough.  Helped develop the nation how?  Was good at negotiating in what way?  Constantly asking these types of questions eventually leads to the final, specific thesis statement: "George Washington's excellent negotiating and strategy skills regarding both domestic planning and foreign relations developed his reputation as a wise leader and a popular president."

Writing good theses takes this type of constant revision and investigation.  However, once a solid hypothesis is discovered, the most difficult aspect of paper writing is over.  The rest simply requires explaining and defending the ideas and arguments put forth in the thesis by sticking closely to the report's subject.  

Viewpoint of Author #11

When a student is working on a term paper or essay, one of his or her top priorities should be coming up with a good thesis statement.  A good argument statement is one that states the purpose of the academic work without being too long or confusing.  Good thesis statements can be difficult to construct, as they are one of the most important parts of an entire academic work and should be very specific.

There are some tips that students can use when trying to make their own good thesis statements.  The first thing that a student should think about, though, is the topic.  The topic of the work will influence the thesis statement directly, as the thesis statement should directly relate to the topic.  Therefore, the best way to create a good thesis statement is to perform the research on a topic first.  

Next, before students are able to form good thesis statements, they need to research the topic and form their own opinions.  The research and opinions will both influence the purpose of the report and the direction that students plan to take the document.  

Students should write the thesis statement before writing the document.  Some writers recommend writing the introduction after the entire paper has been written.  However, because the thesis statement is part of the introduction, it is important to distinguish between the two.  The thesis statement provides the purpose.  All paragraphs and information within the document should directly support the thesis statement.  Therefore, it is essential that students have defined their article statements before they begin writing the document.  A good argument statement will help learners to stick with the flow and the meaning of the overall report while they write.  

Many professors also recommend that students follow a certain format in order to write good thesis statements, especially younger writers.  The simplest thesis statement format is an "if, then" format, in which a learner will state that if something happens one way, then there will be a corresponding result.  This type of thesis statement is easy for many learners to write.  

The difference between a good thesis statement and a bad thesis statement is simple: good thesis statements are easy to support throughout the document.  Bad thesis statements are usually harder to support.  Therefore, a sign of a good paper is also that it supports that thesis statement.  A bad paper often is bad because it goes off topic from the thesis statement.  A good argument statement is the center of a college report.

Viewpoint of Author #12

Many students find the word "thesis" at least somewhat confusing in the beginning of their college studies.  Teachers will emphasize the importance of a thesis countless times, yet often students are left wondering what exactly a thesis is, and are therefore somewhat confused on how to make a thesis themselves.  A thesis is simply a sentence or two asserting an individual's ideas, opinions, or analyses of a specific topic.  To consider a thesis this way reveals that we all have many theses ready at our disposal simply from the opinions we hold.  For instance, we may think that "Chicken is better roasted than baked" or "The city should hire more police offers to patrol the interstates" or "The political party I support is better equipped to run the country."  The challenge for many college students, then, is not how to make a thesis itself, but how to make a thesis that is appropriate for a college paper.  This is not as difficult as it seems.

Some students may be skeptical of how to make a thesis for a paper using some of the everyday opinions mentioned above.  But really, it is quite simple.  A thesis statement in a report should be a sentence or group of sentences that asserts the writer's ideas, opinions, or analyses regarding a certain topic, and should give an indication of how the writer is going to defend those ideas, opinions, or analyses in the course of his or her assignment.  So—let's take the thesis that "I think chicken is better roasted than baked."  Some may think this is an absurd topic on which to write an article, but it is nonetheless a thesis statement, and could very well be a thesis statement for a student studying culinary arts.  To revise it and make it appropriate for writing on, first, the thesis needs to indicate how this opinion is going to be defended.  This can easily be done by inserting a "because" at the end of the sentence and adding on some justifications: "I think chicken is better roasted than baked because roasted chickens retain tenderness while developing a crispy skin."  Now, this thesis has a why that explains why the writer believes roasted chickens are better than baked.  

This has illustrated how to make a thesis appropriate for a paper simply by drawing on the student's own ideas.  How to make theses better requires a little more finesse.  A thesis does not have to be earth-shatteringly new; however, it should present the original ideas of the writer.  Therefore, students wondering how to make theses better should simply look beneath the surface of their original thoughts and opinions and try to uncover the deeper nuances of their topic of interest.  This may be difficult with the chicken thesis above, but not so much with the second thesis presented regarding increasing police patrols.  Rather than simply writing a thesis such as "The city should hire more police offers to patrol the interstates because...", it would be much stronger to present an assertion that offers solutions.  For instance: "If the city hired more police offers to patrol the interstates, the city could reduce the high accident mortality rate that is both financially costly and damaging to our city's families."  This is a much more interesting thesis than "The city should hire more police offers to patrol the interstates because..."  because this thesis asserts a strong, perhaps even controversial point-of-view.  It holds within it a very complex idea.

When wondering how to make an argument, learners should simply ask themselves what their opinions or ideas are regarding the topic of their documents, and then write these down.  Next, they should revise these ideas in the way illustrated above.  This is the process of how to make theses interesting, complex, and appropriate for college level writing.

Viewpoint of Author #13

Every written work that is academically based, such as a term paper or essay, needs to have a thesis statement.  The thesis statement is a one-sentence explanation of the purpose of the report and helps to define what the learner will prove.  One of the most popular questions that students have when it comes to writing their documents and essays has to do with how to write a thesis statement.  The answer to questions about how to write a thesis statement is easy: follow a formula.

Many professors recommend that all students begin the process of writing a thesis statement with a simple "if, then" formula in which a learner will state that if one thing happens in one way, then a result will occur in another way.  When it comes to how to write thesis statements, the "if, then" formula is a sure-fire way for students to create an effective and simple statement.  

However, while the construction answer for how to write a thesis statement may be to use a formula, many learners may not understand the philosophical motivations behind thesis statements.  Therefore, students need to know how to write thesis statements from a practical standpoint, as well as from the standpoint that thesis statements may be hard to create.  

One of the first things that students need to do if they are wondering how to write thesis statements is to consider the topic and purpose of their documents.  The topic of the article is the subject that the student has researched and decided to write about for the assignment.  The purpose of the report will be a result of the research.  After a student spends time researching the report, the learner will have an idea about something that they want to prove to be true or suggest to be true.  The thesis statement is a one-sentence summary of this purpose.  In effect, a main argument is a mini-conclusion to the document.  

When students have questions about how to write a thesis statement, they are generally wondering how to construct an effective thesis statement and how to decide on a thesis statement.  However, they are not usually wondering how to structure their documents.  Because the thesis statement is the backbone of an academic article, students need to be aware that the thesis statement should come before the construction of the report, but only after the student has decided what the purpose of the article is going to be.  Therefore, the thesis statement provides the purpose of the report, but should not provide the format for the document.

Viewpoint of Author #14

Perhaps the most difficult part of writing a research paper for many college and university students is the report thesis statement.  Most students have no idea how to write a research paper thesis statement, the purpose of such a statement, and where their statement should appear.  Clearing up the mystery surrounding research paper thesis statements is the key to helping students understand what goes into creating a good thesis statement which is ultimately the basis of a good reference project.

Research paper thesis statements are what support a student's academic argument.  An academic argument is what college-level writing is all about.  Academic writing assignments are intended to be a form of persuasive writing.  The student's job is to persuade the reader that his or her argument is sound, if not completely persuasive.  A project that fails to present a persuasive argument backed by facts and research is a project that will likely receive a poor academic grade.  

The research paper thesis statement should appear in the introductory paragraph of the document.  Some students make the mistake of thinking that the thesis statement should appear in the conclusion and that it is a summation of what appears.  On the contrary, a main argument is what supports the rest of the report, not what results from the document.  

A research paper thesis statement is essentially the stand that the writer intends to take.  After a brief introduction of the topic, a student should state his or her position on the subject that the remainder of the report will support.  The research paper thesis statement is often one short sentence.  It does not have to be an entire paragraph.  As a matter of fact, shorter, to-the-point, thesis statements are better than long, drawn out thesis statements.

A thesis statement acts as the basis for the entire paper.  The reason it appears at the beginning of the document is because the remainder of the article is used to support that one statement.  Making a research paper thesis statement is like saying to someone "here is what I think," and then proceeding to support the position with sound, investigation-based arguments.

Research paper thesis statements often make claims and assertions that may be unpopular.  What students must do is to make sure that they fully support their article statement or their document will be weak.  Rather than concentrating on a research paper thesis statement that is inflammatory, learners should be certain that their statement is one they can argue credibly.

Viewpoint of Author #15

Thesis statements are one of the most common demands of academic studies at any level.  This is because every writing assignment a student completes will require a thesis statement.  Writing a thesis statement is not easy; in fact, many learners will find that writing a thesis statement is the most difficult aspect of writing a paper or article.  For many learners, therefore, writing thesis statements effectively comes through regular and focused practice.  

A thesis statement is typically a sentence or group of sentences.  Therefore, it is a very short text to compose.  However, writing a thesis statement differs drastically from writing other sentences because in a thesis statement, every single word matters.  A thesis statement summarizes the entire point of a report or essay; therefore, it must be explicitly clear, exceptionally well thought-through, and at least somewhat original.  Therefore, these few sentences will likely take hours to generate and refine.  

The first step of writing a thesis statement is selecting a general topic.  This topic should be something the student is interested in and has an opinion about.  After choosing a general topic of interest, the student should consider if there is a more specific area of the topic that is interesting to him.  Most student texts are brief; therefore the topic of the document should not be larger than the space allotted for the assigned text.  For instance, a student could not write about the topic "global warming" in the span of a single text: it is too large.  Therefore, he should select one specific aspect of global warming—such as the contribution of household energy consumption to global warming.  

Next, the student must develop a thesis by inserting his or her opinion on or interpretation of the topic.  For instance, in the previously mentioned topic regarding the contribution of household energy consumption to global warming, a student's opinion may be that "The contribution of household energy consumption to climate change is one of the most easily addressable ways of reducing global warming."  This statement asserts an opinion.  

The statement above is a thesis statement, but it is not the best thesis statement possible.  This is because it is not very specific.  Writing thesis statements effectively requires re-examining the thesis several times to challenge it to be more original, more interesting, and more specific.  For instance, in the statement above, there is no indication of why addressing household energy consumption is one of the easiest ways to reduce global warming.  This writer should give an indication of that why in the thesis statement, so that it looks something like this: "Reducing household energy consumption is one of the most easily addressable ways of reducing global warming because household energy consumption can be reduced with very simple measures that are easy to implement."  This is a much more specific thesis.  Next, the student should consider vague words that could be replaced with more specific ones: for instance, "easily" could perhaps more accurately reflect the writer's idea if it were replaced with "efficiently."

Writing thesis statements that are clear and precise requires this kind of careful revision.  The revision process should be continued until the student has no further ideas of how to make the thesis statement more detailed.  Then, the student should ask for feedback from his or her instructor or a classmate in order to determine if the thesis is as clear and specific to others as it is to him.

Viewpoint of Author #16

If a student needs to write an academic paper, the student needs to be sure to include a thesis statement.  All academic works (essays, research papers, term papers, etc.) need to have a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.  When students need to learn how to create a thesis statement, it often helps if they use a sample thesis statement as a basis.

A sample thesis statement may help students to learn how to format and write a thesis statement because it will provide an example of what a thesis statement should look like and accomplish.  Many students can easily model their own thesis statements around sample thesis statements as well by substituting their subject and thesis purpose where appropriate.  

There are many sources for sample thesis statements, including essays and other academic works that students may have submitted in the past to a professor for a grade.  Students, therefore, may wish to ask their professors from some sample thesis statements that they can review.  Professors may then direct the students to sample thesis statements that are actually effective and that the professor particularly likes.  

Students may also be able to find samples online by performing a search for thesis statements or by reviewing academic writings that have been published online.  If a student reviews works that have been published online, the student may have a hard time determining which sentence in the first paragraph of the work is the sample thesis statement.  Therefore, it often helps if the student has a professor or professional writer to turn to for assistance.  Also, not all reports will have thesis statements, especially if the report was written incorrectly.  

One of the best exercises that professors use when helping their students to learn how to write and identify thesis statements is to have them mimic an "if, then" thesis statement, in which the learner will review an "if, then" statement and then try to create one of his or her own.  An "if, then" statement basically states that if something happens one way, then there will be a corresponding consequence.  These are very popular thesis statement formats.  

Students also need to be aware that a sample thesis statement is not the same as a sample thesis topic.  In many cases where a student is not familiar with writing, he or she may confuse a topic with a thesis statement.  However, paper topics define the broad reach.  Thesis statements are one-sentence statements that fall within the first paragraph of the report and are constructed based on research on the particular topic.

Viewpoint of Author #17

An example thesis is one that is distributed so that students unfamiliar with scholarly projects can become comfortable with some of the conventions of a thesis.  A thesis, which is also referred to as the critical assertion, is a sentence or group of sentences in which a writer asserts his or her main point or argument.  In other words, a thesis states in very specific language what a composition is going to be about.  The main argument is one of the most important aspects of any text; therefore, students must learn how to write them, and how to write them well.  Studying example theses is one of the best ways to learn how to do this.

Example theses are often distributed by instructors so that students are aware of the type of project the instructor is seeking.  Example theses are also frequently available from educational resource organizations and web sites.  In addition to these types of examples, learners can also find a document in every academic text they read, as every academic composition will feature a main argument.  Whatever the source, there are two specific elements of the example thesis that a student should look for.

First, the student should consider how understandable the main argument is.  Is it clear what the author's main point or argument is?  Is that main point or argument general or specific?  A good argument is precise and direct.  This means that rather than saying "Hamlet is a coward," which is a very general claim, the document should read, "In his soliloquies, Hamlet displays a fear of avenging his father's death that is based in a fear of divine retribution."  This thesis explains specifically what the first thesis implied with the word "coward," and does so in a direct and precise way.

Second, the student should analyze the example thesis to determine if the point is interesting or compelling.  A good argument will address an idea or issue that is complex and meaningful.  Notice how an argument that asserts that "The world is suffering from too much pollution" is much less interesting than an argument that asserts that "The primary cause of planetary demise is global warming, a phenomenon that is directly related to human behaviors."  The second thesis engages a reader by making the issue at hand (global warming) related to personal responsibility.  Furthermore, by specifically identifying an issue (global warming) rather than pointing to a general concept (pollution), the writer indicates exactly what is going to be discussed.  Specificity is always more engaging than generality.

When examining an argument, learners should determine how clear, precise, and compelling the example is, and attempt to write their own theses in a similar way.  It may be helpful for students to write a detailed argument of their own based on a similar idea or structure as an example thesis in order to gain practice in how to write good theses.  However, they should keep in mind that example theses are intended to be used as models, not templates.  This means that the structure and style of an example thesis is not presenting the way to write theses, but one way.  Theses must be clear, specific, and compelling, but there is not an exact model that a critical assertion must take.  In order to gain true benefit from the study of example theses, students must therefore study a variety of them to see how different writers approach the thesis in different ways.

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