How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Essay
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.
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