Writing a Thesis Statement
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.
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