What Is a Succinct Thesis?

Lena freund.

A succinct thesis statement is concise and focuses on one idea.

During the course of your education, you will be asked to write research papers of various kinds, most of which will include a thesis statement. In order to write the most succinct thesis possible, communicate your thesis statement clearly and follow it up with evidence. Structure your paper either in chronological order or by theme so that your readers can easily follow your arguments.

Explore this article

1 What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is the central question around which a research paper or position paper centers. A thesis statement, even outside the scientific fields, is formulated via the scientific method. A student does research on a topic, makes observations about that topic and then formulates a thesis and uses evidence to prove that thesis. The thesis statement should be clearly communicated within the first paragraph or two of the paper. It should be a clear and concise statement of a position on a subject.

2 How to Start

Sometimes you will begin the process of writing your paper already having a specific thesis in mind. This is especially true if you are writing a position paper or an editorial of some kind; if your opinions have already been well-researched and informed, you can go ahead and write the paper without too much research. If you have no knowledge of the subject, however, start by reading books or journal articles on the subject. As you read, you will begin to ask questions about the subject; as you find answers to these questions, you will come up with several viable thesis statements.

3 Succinct Theses

A succinct thesis should answer one question rather than raising more questions about a particular subject. A concise thesis statement should also focus only on one topic. A thesis statement should also be specific; for example, if your topic is women’s right in Saudi Arabia, your thesis statement might be something like “the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia is the primary obstacle facing Saudi activists for women’s rights” or “a desire for power and control among the Saudi religious establishment inhibits progress on the status of women.” You should avoid general statements such as “there are many factors keeping Saudi women at bay.” Such a statement is too general; a thesis statement that is too general can produce a thesis paper that takes too many different directions without adequately connecting them.

4 How to Proceed

Typically, a thesis paper is divided into an introduction, multiple chapters including a section for conclusions and several pages of works cited. A cover page is generally required but an “Acknowledgements” page is usually optional. Each chapter or section of your paper should discuss a separate section of your argument. If you are writing a history paper, for example, your paper might be organized chronologically. If your paper is on literature, organize it by themes or concepts. The final chapter or section should discuss briefly the conclusions that you came to in your previous chapters or sections. You should finish the conclusion with a brief statement of how all of these observations prove your thesis statement true.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Lena Freund began writing professionally in 2007, while living in Tel Aviv. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University. Freund's articles about travel, languages and cultures have been published on various websites.

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Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

Basics of Thesis Statements

Being specific, making a unique argument, creating a debate, choosing the right words, leaving room for discussion, related resources.

The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper. Specific means the thesis deals with a narrow and focused topic, appropriate to the paper's length. Arguable means that a scholar in your field could disagree (or perhaps already has!).

Strong thesis statements address specific intellectual questions, have clear positions, and use a structure that reflects the overall structure of the paper. Read on to learn more about constructing a strong thesis statement.

This thesis statement has no specific argument:

Needs Improvement: In this essay, I will examine two scholarly articles to find similarities and differences.

This statement is concise, but it is neither specific nor arguable—a reader might wonder, "Which scholarly articles? What is the topic of this paper? What field is the author writing in?" Additionally, the purpose of the paper—to "examine…to find similarities and differences" is not of a scholarly level. Identifying similarities and differences is a good first step, but strong academic argument goes further, analyzing what those similarities and differences might mean or imply.

Better: In this essay, I will argue that Bowler's (2003) autocratic management style, when coupled with Smith's (2007) theory of social cognition, can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover.

The new revision here is still concise, as well as specific and arguable.  We can see that it is specific because the writer is mentioning (a) concrete ideas and (b) exact authors.  We can also gather the field (business) and the topic (management and employee turnover). The statement is arguable because the student goes beyond merely comparing; he or she draws conclusions from that comparison ("can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover").

This thesis draft repeats the language of the writing prompt without making a unique argument:

Needs Improvement: The purpose of this essay is to monitor, assess, and evaluate an educational program for its strengths and weaknesses. Then, I will provide suggestions for improvement.

You can see here that the student has simply stated the paper's assignment, without articulating specifically how he or she will address it. The student can correct this error simply by phrasing the thesis statement as a specific answer to the assignment prompt.

Better: Through a series of student interviews, I found that Kennedy High School's antibullying program was ineffective. In order to address issues of conflict between students, I argue that Kennedy High School should embrace policies outlined by the California Department of Education (2010).

Words like "ineffective" and "argue" show here that the student has clearly thought through the assignment and analyzed the material; he or she is putting forth a specific and debatable position. The concrete information ("student interviews," "antibullying") further prepares the reader for the body of the paper and demonstrates how the student has addressed the assignment prompt without just restating that language.

This thesis statement includes only obvious fact or plot summary instead of argument:

Needs Improvement: Leadership is an important quality in nurse educators.

A good strategy to determine if your thesis statement is too broad (and therefore, not arguable) is to ask yourself, "Would a scholar in my field disagree with this point?" Here, we can see easily that no scholar is likely to argue that leadership is an unimportant quality in nurse educators.  The student needs to come up with a more arguable claim, and probably a narrower one; remember that a short paper needs a more focused topic than a dissertation.

Better: Roderick's (2009) theory of participatory leadership  is particularly appropriate to nurse educators working within the emergency medicine field, where students benefit most from collegial and kinesthetic learning.

Here, the student has identified a particular type of leadership ("participatory leadership"), narrowing the topic, and has made an arguable claim (this type of leadership is "appropriate" to a specific type of nurse educator). Conceivably, a scholar in the nursing field might disagree with this approach. The student's paper can now proceed, providing specific pieces of evidence to support the arguable central claim.

This thesis statement uses large or scholarly-sounding words that have no real substance:

Needs Improvement: Scholars should work to seize metacognitive outcomes by harnessing discipline-based networks to empower collaborative infrastructures.

There are many words in this sentence that may be buzzwords in the student's field or key terms taken from other texts, but together they do not communicate a clear, specific meaning. Sometimes students think scholarly writing means constructing complex sentences using special language, but actually it's usually a stronger choice to write clear, simple sentences. When in doubt, remember that your ideas should be complex, not your sentence structure.

Better: Ecologists should work to educate the U.S. public on conservation methods by making use of local and national green organizations to create a widespread communication plan.

Notice in the revision that the field is now clear (ecology), and the language has been made much more field-specific ("conservation methods," "green organizations"), so the reader is able to see concretely the ideas the student is communicating.

This thesis statement is not capable of development or advancement in the paper:

Needs Improvement: There are always alternatives to illegal drug use.

This sample thesis statement makes a claim, but it is not a claim that will sustain extended discussion. This claim is the type of claim that might be appropriate for the conclusion of a paper, but in the beginning of the paper, the student is left with nowhere to go. What further points can be made? If there are "always alternatives" to the problem the student is identifying, then why bother developing a paper around that claim? Ideally, a thesis statement should be complex enough to explore over the length of the entire paper.

Better: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy, as argued by Baker (2008), Smith (2009), and Xavier (2011).

In the revised thesis, you can see the student make a specific, debatable claim that has the potential to generate several pages' worth of discussion. When drafting a thesis statement, think about the questions your thesis statement will generate: What follow-up inquiries might a reader have? In the first example, there are almost no additional questions implied, but the revised example allows for a good deal more exploration.

Thesis Mad Libs

If you are having trouble getting started, try using the models below to generate a rough model of a thesis statement! These models are intended for drafting purposes only and should not appear in your final work.

Words to Avoid and to Embrace

When drafting your thesis statement, avoid words like explore, investigate, learn, compile, summarize , and explain to describe the main purpose of your paper. These words imply a paper that summarizes or "reports," rather than synthesizing and analyzing.

Instead of the terms above, try words like argue, critique, question , and interrogate . These more analytical words may help you begin strongly, by articulating a specific, critical, scholarly position.

Read Kayla's blog post for tips on taking a stand in a well-crafted thesis statement.

define a succinct thesis statement

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Tips on writing a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

The thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. It often reflects an opinion or judgment that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience. For instance: Tocqueville believed that the domestic role most women held in America was the role that gave them the most power, an idea that many would hotly dispute today.

What Makes a Strong Thesis Statement?

Where Does the Thesis Statement Go?

A good practice is to put the thesis statement at the end of your introduction so you can use it to lead into the body of your paper. This allows you, as the writer, to lead up to the thesis statement instead of diving directly into the topic. If you place the thesis statement at the beginning, your reader may forget or be confused about the main idea by the time he/she reaches the end of the introduction. Remember, a good introduction conceptualizes and anticipates the thesis statement.

Tips for Writing/Drafting Thesis Statements

University Learning Center

Developing Your Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement.

Composition classes stress the role of the thesis statement because it is the backbone of collegiate composition. The thesis statement gives the reader insight into the topic, letting him/her know what the essay is about. Without a thesis statement, the essay may lack an argument, focus, clarity, and continuity.

1. There are two major types of thesis statements: explanatory and argumentative. The explanatory thesis announces the subject to the reader; it never declares a stance which needs an argument to defend. These explanatory theses are evident in expository essays and research essays. In an argumentative essay, the thesis statement should be a claim, not a factual statement or a personal response to a topic. It should be an idea that provokes opposition, a claim that readers might choose to refute.

2. The thesis statement is usually found at the end of an introductory paragraph. It's planted early in the essay because it informs the reader of the main important idea that encompasses the entire essay.

3. A thesis statement is not always one sentence; the length of the thesis depends on the depth of the essay. Some essays may require more than a single sentence. However, the statement should be as clear and concise as possible in the final draft of the essay. The shorter and more direct a thesis statement is the more confident and assertive the writer sounds. Being assertive and confident is crucial, especially in argumentative essays.

Creating a thesis statement:

As a writer, keep your thesis statement in mind. Each proposed or considered topic within the essay should have some relevance to your thesis statement. It is the argument or focus of the essay, as well as a great structuring tool.

Because of the pivotal role a thesis statement plays in a piece of composition, many novice writers put too much emphasis on the thesis statement during the production of an essay. It is important to keep the thesis in mind, but it is also important to avoid hindering the writing process by restricting your writing to a thesis statement. This is where a working thesis comes into play.

A working thesis is exactly what it means: a thesis statement that is "in progress" during the writing process. Normally, a thesis statement will not be fully constructed until the entire essay is written. A working thesis allows for a writer to approach the topic with a thesis in mind, even though that thesis can be revised (and it will be numerous times) during the writing prcess.

Constructing a working thesis should come after brainstorming or deriving a topic. It should be a thesis that can help guide you as a writer through the composition of the essay. A simple way to begin the construction of a working thesis is to write "I believe that ... " and follow it up with a simple claim that includes the key topics to be discussed in the essay. An example would be:

" I believe that America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, and film."

The working thesis stated above now gives the writer a structure for the paper. Three main ideas should be discussed in their relation to cultural identity: art, literature, and film.

The best aspect of a working thesis is that it can be revised at any time to meet the needs of the essay or the writer. For instance, when using a working thesis, the writer knows that the thesis can be changed to fit in an extra topic if the essay needs it:

" I believe that America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, music , and film."

The role of the working thesis is to lessen the stress of writing a collegiate essay and to incorporate some flexibility into the writing process. Knowing that a working thesis will be subjected to numerous revisions allows the writer more freedom when writing the essay.

Now let's revise our working thesis into a stronger claim.

Revising the thesis statement

The first step in changing the working thesis into a strong, independent claim is to cut "I believe that" from the beginning of the sentence. Let us use the original working thesis from the previous section as an example:

As it stands now, this thesis is a bit weak because the writer is asserting that it is their opinion or what they think. To make it into an argument or claim, the writer must be taken out of the sentence.

"America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, and film."

Hmm….Still sounds a little weak. Although the writer is now void from the statement, there is still doubt in this claim. This is where diction becomes important. The key is to use words that make the claim stronger and more assertive. Taking out the passive voice in the statement will add strength to the statement.

"Art, literature, and film define America's cultural identity."

Now an argument can be sparked.

Although this is not the best thesis statement, the aforementioned example is to show how to create and revise a thesis. If this thesis were to be used, it probably would be revised again to make it more specific; the types of art, literature, and film would need clarification.

Key points in revising a thesis statement:

Make sure that your paper reinforces your thesis statement at all times. One way to ensure this is by checking the use of the topic sentences throughout the essay:

If not, don't change your paper right away; see if you can revise the thesis statement to meet the needs of your essay. If you can't change the thesis, then change the essay.

Using diction in a thesis statement is important. Make sure the words comprising the statement are used correctly and help reinforce the claim.

Be direct, clear and concise. Do not use large, vague words unless they are necessary. Do not fluff the thesis statement. The goal of the thesis statement is to make sure the reader understands the topic on hand. Don't confuse him/her with a big, flowery sentence.

If the essay is argumentative, be assertive !!

A Check List:

Here is a list of questions to help determine the strength of your thesis statement. After revising the working thesis into a more effective statement, ask yourself the following:

- by Patrick Williams

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Thesis Statement: Definition, Importance, Steps & Tips!

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Let’s accept it. There’s one superpower we all want in our lives – the power of persuasion.

Whether it is to convince our parents to let us get a dog OR to convince our teachers that we actually forgot the assignment at home – we all need great persuasion skills at some point in our lives.

But, the time when we need this superpower the most is…*drumroll*…while writing an essay or a research paper.

Writing a good and persuasive paper is not an easy feat, and we all know that. It takes tons of sleepless nights and, not to forget, multiple cups of coffee.

But, do you know the key to writing a good paper or essay ? It’s the thesis statement ! You need to write this statement in order to give a brief introduction to the argument you’ve made in the rest of the paper.

The more solid your thesis statement is, the more people would want to read your essay or paper. So, in this blog, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about a thesis statement. Ready? Let’s go!

What’s a Thesis Statement? (Definition)

A thesis statement is defined as a concise statement that is generally written at the end of the introduction. This statement sums up the entire paper or essay in a few words.

Basically, a thesis statement is a brief introduction to your topic and your point of view. It reveals the argument that you have made in the rest of your paper.

A man writing a thesis statement

In short, a thesis statement encapsulates the main idea that you want to share through your paper or essay. It’s like a claim that you’re making through the paper.

Now that you know what a thesis statement is, let’s find out why you need to write it in the first place.

Read more:   How to Write a Thesis with Perfection?

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Why Do You Need to Write a Thesis Statement?

1. to put focus on the central idea.

Your thesis statement conveys the core idea of your paper – loud and clear. It tells the readers what you’ve talked about in your paper and exactly what they should expect from it.

This short statement tells the readers what you’ve argued about in your essay and why you wrote it in the first place. Simply put, a thesis statement gives the readers a short glimpse into what lies ahead for them.

If you don’t write a thesis statement, the reader won’t know the reason why you wrote the paper. He won’t have any idea about what you’re trying to convey through the paper unless he reads the whole thing.

2. To Guide The Readers

When you’re writing other things, it’s okay to keep the reader in suspense. But, when you’re writing a research paper or an essay , you need to be very clear about what you want to prove or demonstrate.

A thesis statement tells the reader the entirety of the paper and what they are going to find on the way. It guides them about the elements of your paper, the argument you’ve made in the paper, and everything else.

This short statement often makes the difference between whether your paper will be read or ignored. So you need to make sure that it’s truly rock-solid, but more on that later.

3. Helps You Organize Your Essay

A thesis statement is like a road map. Without it, you’d be lost, i.e., you won’t know which way you should be taking your paper or essay. 🙂

This statement acts as a foundation on the basis of which you can write the rest of the essay and organize it in a way that supports your thesis statement!

Your thesis statement is the backbone of your paper. It needs to be strong, and it should support your paper wholeheartedly. So let’s go and learn how to write a thesis statement that does just that!

Read more:  Purpose Statement: What is it & How to Write it?

How to Write a Thesis Statement in 3 Easy Steps?

Step 1. think about the question.

Let’s suppose that your paper or essay is on ‘The effects of gaming on children.’

Now, to write a thesis statement for the same, you first need to think of a question that’s associated with the topic. For example, ‘Does gaming affect children’s behavior?’ OR ‘Do video games cause aggressive behavior?”

define a succinct thesis statement

Let’s take another example. If your paper is on Euthanasia, your question can be, ‘Should euthanasia be allowed?” OR “Should human beings have the right to decide on issues of life and death?”

You need to think deeply about the question that you’re answering in the paper and write it down. To get started, ask yourself: What are you talking about in the paper? What’s the core idea? What’s the essence of your paper?

Step 2. Write Down The Answer

Now that you know the question, it’s time to write down its answer. You don’t need a 100% solid answer at this step. Just write down a basic, short and sweet draft of your answer.

For example, if your paper proves that gaming doesn’t affect children’s behavior, then that’d be the answer, or vice versa. Just go through your findings, and you’d find the answer easily.

All in all, you need to just write a brief summary of what you’ve described in detail later in your paper. It’s as easy as it sounds. The hard part is the next step…

Step 3. Convince The Readers About The Answer

Now comes the most crucial part – convincing the readers about your answer. Saying, “yes, gaming affects children’s behavior because I conducted a survey, and that’s what I found” is not enough.

Take the answer you wrote in the last step and shape it into something solid and awesome. Make it as convincing as you can, because that is going to be your final thesis statement.

Tip: Create multiple drafts of your thesis statement, and then use the one that sounds the most powerful and supports your paper or essay the best.

Read more:  How to Write an Insane White Paper that Gets High Engagement?

Tips for Writing a Good Thesis Statement:

1. clear & concise.

Remember that your thesis statement is just a tiny part of your paper, not the entire paper. So don’t drag it too much. Keep it short and sweet and crystal clear.

Wrap your statement up in as few words as you can so that the readers can grasp it in seconds. If they have to go to lengths to understand what the paper entails, they’d probably bail out on it.

There’s another thing that you should avoid while writing a thesis statement: giving away everything in it. Don’t try to every single thing about your paper in it; otherwise, no one would ready your paper.

2. Explains Only a Single Idea

if you want your thesis statement to be powerful, don’t overcomplicate things. What we are trying to say is, convey just one single idea through your thesis statement.

A student brainstorming ideas for his thesis statement

Basically, write about the single most important thing that your paper talks about. You can always get into the other details later in the paper. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Another reason why you should not tangle all the ideas together because that’d make it extremely hard for the readers to understand your core point.

3. Something That Requires Evidence

Don’t write a statement everyone already knows about, like “we live on the planet earth”. You need to write a statement that requires hard proof.

All in all, don’t write a vague statement. Write one that makes the readers want to read more and talk about it. Write something that can be argued upon.

For example, if your essay is on animal testing, you can write, “ artificial intelligence is dangerous because, in the hands of the wrong person, it could easily cause mass casualties. “

Before you go!

Our team at  bit.ai  has created a few awesome education templates to make your processes more efficient. Make sure to check them out before you go, y ou might need them!

Wrapping Up

We’ve told you why it’s important to write a thesis statement, and we’ve shared some great tips for writing the perfect one. In short, you’ve all the information you need to write an awesome thesis statement.

Always remember, the better your thesis statement is, the better your paper is going to be. It’s the building block of your paper. It is something that guides the reader, and yourself.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t put off your paper or essay any longer. Get up, grab a cup of coffee and start working on it. We’re totally rooting for you!

This blog was written by the Bit.ai team. Bit.ai is a powerful documentation and collaboration platform where you and your team can easily create, access, share, and manage all your documents under one roof. To learn more about this wonderful platform, visit Bit.ai .

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Grant Proposal: What is it & How to Write it?

Study Guide: What is it & How to Create an Amazing One?

Mission Statement: What is it & How to Write it? (With Examples)

Positioning Statement: Definition, Elements & Examples!

Research Proposal: How to Write a Perfect One? (Steps & Format)

How To Write A Research Paper?

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What is a Thesis Statement?


Writing the thesis statement is one of the most important things when it is about thesis writing. But what is a thesis statement? How to write a thesis statement? What is the thesis statement example? If you are stumbling with your thesis writing, you are at the right place.

Today's article explains the concept of a thesis statement. A thesis statement is basically a one-sentence statement that puts the main idea of a thesis in a nutshell while explaining the purpose of the research. Ultimately, a thesis statement is the foundation of your dissertation essay upon which you construct the building of a thesis.

However, if this foundation is not strong enough, the building will be shaky. It's tricky to write a perfect thesis statement if you are a newbie. That's why researching properly before writing a thesis statement is recommended. Let's understand this concept.

Starting with the definition, a thesis statement is a single sentence that describes how the writer is going to interpret the subject matter under discussion. In a single sentence, it explains what a reader should expect from the succeeding discussion. The rest of the write-up gives arguments, opinions, supporting ideas, and logic for the thesis statement.

The importance of a thesis statement can be analyzed from the fact that it carries a certain number of marks in academic writing. Not only failing to mention it but also writing a weak thesis statement leads to the deduction of marks. To avoid any kind of risk, we must learn how to write it and make it concise, clear, and eye-catching. It may be difficult to write because summing a whole essay into a single statement is not an easy task. But as a proverb says.

How to Write a Thesis statement?

Now the question pops up, Which steps do we need to take to make a thesis statement strong? A study conducted by Research prospect states that out of 5, every 3 students lack proficiency in writing skills, which is a great number. Trying not to be among those three, let's learn how to write a thesis statement in 5 easy steps. First, we need to know that a good thesis statement is simple, concise, and adherent to the rest of the paper.

Step 1: Select the essay style:

This is the most important step as the type of thesis statement pursued varies surely with the type of essay you choose. Depending on the content, there are two types of essays. So, here are two further questions! What is a thesis statement from the perspective of an expository style essay, and how do write a thesis statement for expository essays? And what is thesis statement from the perspective of a persuasive style essay, and how to write a thesis statement for a persuasive essay?

While Focusing on the title of the topic, we need to answer the question in the title while writing the thesis statement. If it’s not a question, we shall assume the question in our minds. While keeping that question in mind, the answer to the question must support our argument in the rest of the paper (in the case of an argumentative essay).

This type of essay demands an argument of the writer, his personal opinion and support for a particular point of view. The thesis statement for such an essay must either give the opinion of the writer or clearly define which side of the argument the writer supports and the reason for it.

The next part of your thesis statement will give a logical reason for "why" or "how" you support a certain side of the argument.

It usually occurs at the concluding line of the introductory paragraph but can also be located at the beginning of an introductory paragraph or even middle. 

In order to stay on track and avoid shifting your focus from the core idea of the essay, keep visiting your thesis statement while writing the essay.

A thesis statement is usually 1 or 2 sentences long. Too many lengthy statements are avoided to avoid the reader getting frustrated.

Finally, evaluate the thesis statement of this article. It's an expository one as it provides factual information and not the writer’s personal opinion or argument. It starts with the first basic step i.e answering the question of the title. Then gives a logical answer for "how".

The next part of the statement includes the summary of the rest of the information. Observing practically, it can be evaluated that the article contains no information other than the one, mentioned in the article.

Make a Thesis Statement via Mind-mapping

Mind maps are a visual articulation of your thoughts, opinions, and ideas. It helps you to contextualize your vision and draw inspiration from it to guide your direction of writing and craft the language and terminologies that will best express your vein of thought.

Mind mapping can work wonderfully to guide you in choosing an appropriate thesis statement for your essay. Mind-maps help develop an understanding of the text that you are trying to write. A visual map of ideas whether hand-drawn or done through computer software is a fun way of putting together all your ideas and assertions in one easy-to-read format.

This mapping of ideas will orient you towards the central theme or element of the essay that is crucial for you to highlight. This central idea is what needs to be communicated to the reader and therefore will determine the content and form of your thesis statement.

Here, you can choose EdrawMind to create your mind maps. 

A thesis statement is an important part of writing that must be written while following the rules. It is an eye-catching part for the reader and the impression for the rest of the work depends on this as it occurs at the starting point. Substituting the statement with the proverb, "First impression is the last impression", a writer must stick to the thesis statement in whole writing.

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How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.

Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.

Guide Overview

What is a “thesis statement” anyway.

You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.

Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument . In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.

2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive

Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.

For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.

To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.

This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).

Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.

In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.

2 Styles of Thesis Statements

Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.

The first style uses a list of two or more points . This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.

In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.

In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.

Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.

In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.

Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis

One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:

___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:

___________________ is true because of _____________________.

Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.

The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement

When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.

Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.

Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.

Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.

Example of weak thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.

Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.

Example of a stronger thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.

This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.

Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.

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