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Developing Strong Thesis Statements
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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.
Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:
This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.
Example of a debatable thesis statement:
This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.
Another example of a debatable thesis statement:
In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.
The thesis needs to be narrow
Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.
Example of a thesis that is too broad:
There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.
Example of a narrow or focused thesis:
In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.
We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:
Narrowed debatable thesis 1:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.
Narrowed debatable thesis 2:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.
Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.
Types of claims
Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.
Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:
Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:
Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:
Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:
Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.
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- How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on September 14, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .
Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:
- Start with a question
- Write your initial answer
- Develop your answer
- Refine your thesis statement
Table of contents
What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.
A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.
The best thesis statements are:
- Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
- Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
- Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.
The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.
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You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?
For example, you might ask:
After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .
Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.
In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.
The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.
In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.
The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.
A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:
- Why you hold this position
- What they’ll learn from your essay
- The key points of your argument or narrative
The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.
These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.
Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:
- In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
- In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :
- Ask a question about your topic .
- Write your initial answer.
- Develop your answer by including reasons.
- Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.
The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .
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40 Strong Thesis Statement Examples to Learn From
A thesis statement is a 3- 4 sentence summary that provides the readers with the central point of the whole paper. Your thesis statement should appear at the end of the introduction of your essay or research paper.
Also read: How and What to Write in a Thesis Statement?
What makes a good thesis statement?
Writing a good thesis statement can be the key to success in your academic journey. If you can write a good thesis statement, you’re well on your way to getting a great grade. So keep these tips in mind and get ready to craft your thesis statement – you can do it!
1. Concise: Short and to the point
The first thing you need to keep in mind is that a solid thesis statement should be brief and to the point. It should explain the main idea of your paper in a concise way.
Avoid using more words than necessary. You should try to summarize the whole paper in a few sentences.
2. Debatable or arguable (for argumentative essays only)
Let us take one thesis statement as an example:
A weak thesis statement:
This thesis statement is a weak statement as it reads like a closed question. You may either agree or disagree that a government is the only party that should bear the responsibilities when it comes to climate change.
This example is debatable as some people as people can disagree on this. Some may believe that most of the funds should be used to fight against it. Others may think that other issues such as education and healthcare are also important.
3. Coherent: Relatable to the main point
In other words, it should be relevant to the topic of your paper. A good thesis statement should answer the “so what?” question – why is this topic important and why should people care about it? It should also be able to stand on its own, encapsulating the main points of your paper in a few sentences.
Three types of thesis statements
A good thesis statement can make all the difference when it comes to writing a successful essay. In essence, there are three main types of thesis statements you can use:
More on thesis statements
Can a Thesis Statement Be an Opinion?
Jump into these quick guides to write a strong thesis statement in no time. We have included tons of good (and bad) examples to show you how to do it right. A simple formula is included in each article to help you create your strong thesis statement with suggested wordings.
How to Write a Strong Analytical Thesis Statement?
An argumentative thesis statement , on the other hand, should take a stance on a topic and argues for or against it. It presents the writer’s opinion and aims to persuade the reader. Example: “The excessive use of social media by teenagers is harmful and should be limited.”
An analytical thesis statement presents an analysis of a topic, breaking it down into its component parts and examining them in detail. It aims to provide a deeper understanding of the topic. Example: “The increasing popularity of social media among teenagers can be attributed to its convenience and ease of use, but also raises concerns about privacy and online safety.”
Thesis Statement Examples on Different Topics
1. Outer Space: The exploration of outer space is a waste of money; instead, funds should go toward solving issues on Earth, such as poverty, hunger, global warming, and traffic congestion.
3. Vegan Diet: While a vegan diet is a healthy and ethical way to eat, it also shows a position of power. If you travel around the world, it also limits your access to various cultural eating experiences.
4. University Degree: A university degree delivers significant life and career lessons, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend university immediately after graduation. Some students may benefit from attending a trade school or taking a “gap year” to think more deeply about what they want to do for a profession and how they may get there.
5. Rise in Nationalism: The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with the decline of moderate and centrist parties that have dominated since WWII.
7 . International education : One of the most diverse experiences you can have in college is studying abroad. It is the only way to become thoroughly absorbed in another language and learn how different other cultures and countries are from your ow n.
Examples: Expository Thesis Statement
8. This dynamic between different generations sparks much of the play’s tension, as age becomes a motive for the violence and unrest that rocks King Lear.”
11. Hate crimes have increased three years in a row, according to the FBI.
12. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of stroke and arterial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).
14. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
16 . The explosion of 1800s philosophies like Positivism, Marxism, and Darwinism undermined and refuted Christianity to instead focus on the real, tangible world.
17. People should add exercise into their daily routine because it decreases the risk of high blood pressure and keeps the body at a healthy weight.
20 . The life of a college student can be categorized by time for studying, attending classes, giving exams, and socializing with others.
22. According to the FBI, crime rates have increased in the last two years.
Examples: Analytical Thesis Statement
Technically, the analytical thesis statement inspects or breaks down the main idea or issue into different phases. Then, it evaluates completely in order of explanation to give readers a clear picture of what they will be reading further.
25. The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with the decline of moderate and centrist parties that have dominated since WWII.
28. Although there are different causes of world war 1, Militarism, Nationalism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Assassination that led to the war’s beginning.
Examples: Argumentative Thesis Statement
In such a statement, the writer describes an attitude of an argument to create a debatable topic. Unlike other statement types, in this type, the writer can take a position on a subject to convince the readers about their perspective. Usually, the writer uses examples to explain the point of view better.
33. The exploration of outer space is a waste of money; instead, funds should go toward solving issues on Earth, such as poverty, hunger, global warming, and traffic congestion.
36. High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.
39. While some pundits have drafted graduation as something inevitable for success, this opinion should not be treated as presented.
With a good thesis statement, you’ll be able to craft an effective, persuasive essay that will make your readers think. With some practice and dedication, you can create thesis statements that will make your research paper stand out from the crowd.
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- Essay on Stem
Sample Thesis Statement On Education
Type of paper: Thesis Statement
Topic: STEM Education
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THESIS: “To benefit our economy and society, our national priority should be on encouraging more students to study STEM” (Adkins) that includes science, technology, engineering, and math.
Our economy and society need new generation of new technology innovators, however the number of STEM students has shrunk dramatically.
5% of U.S. workforce is employed in STEM related fields but they provide more than 50% of the country’s sustained economic expansion.
STEM-related disciplines can serve for the universal betterment of society.
Once the U.S. was the residence of high-qualified STEM experts, but today the number of them sharply decreased.
The urgent need to encourage students to study STEM requires taking some measures.
The size of the STEM education may be increased by maintaining an enthusiasm for studying science, technology, engineering and math among the high school or college students.
Public-private partnerships can also be of particular importance because students will be taught both theory and practice.
The composition of the STEM education should be also changed by including more women and underrepresented minorities. Parents can also inspire their children by role models that can potentially develop a scientific interest from the early age. We need to encourage our students to study STEM by explaining to them that the technological innovations that surround them are not only for consumption, they also serve as a basis to create new ones.
Adkins, Rodney C. “America Desperately Needs More STEM Students. Here’s How to Get Them.” Forbes, 7 Sep. 2012. ‹http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2012/07/09/america-desperately-needs-more-stem-students-heres-how-to-get-them/›.
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Developing Strong Thesis Statements The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps: Start with a question Write your initial answer Develop your answer Refine your thesis statement Table of contents What is a thesis statement? Placement of the thesis statement Step 1: Start with a question Step 2: Write your initial answer Step 3: Develop your answer
To set you up for success, here are the 3 criteria for a good thesis statement: 1. Concise: Short and to the point The first thing you need to keep in mind is that a solid thesis statement should be brief and to the point. It should explain the main idea of your paper in a concise way. Avoid using more words than necessary.
THESIS: “To benefit our economy and society, our national priority should be on encouraging more students to study STEM” (Adkins) that includes science, technology, engineering, and math. Our economy and society need new generation of new technology innovators, however the number of STEM students has shrunk dramatically.
Education is a vital topic that affects everyone in some way. Whether you are a student, a teacher, or a parent, you have likely encountered numerous challenges and opportunities related to education. A strong thesis statement can help to focus your ideas and guide your research on this complex and multifaceted topic.