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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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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
- An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
- An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
- An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Thesis Statement Examples
Example of an analytical thesis statement:
The paper that follows should:
- Explain the analysis of the college admission process
- Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
- Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement:
- Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
How To Write 3 Types Of Thesis Statements
A thesis statement is “a short summary of the main idea, purpose, or argument of an essay that usually appears in the first paragraph.” It’s generally only one or two sentences in length.
A strong thesis statement is the backbone of a well-organized paper, and helps you decide what information is most important to include and how it should be presented.
What is a good thesis statement?
This thesis statement, for example, could open a paper on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s importance as a civil rights leader: “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential figures of the American civil rights movement. His moving speeches and nonviolent protests helped unite a nation divided by race.”
This example lays out the writer’s basic argument (King was an important leader of the American civil rights movement), offers two areas of evidence (his speeches and nonviolent protests), and explains why the argument matters (united a divided nation).
A good thesis statement delivers a clear message about the scope of the topic and the writer’s approach to the subject. In contrast, poor thesis statements fail to take a position, are based solely on personal opinion, or state an obvious truth. For example, “Democracy is a form of government,” is a weak thesis statement because it’s too general, doesn’t adopt a stance, and states a well-known fact that doesn’t need further explanation.
What are the different types of thesis statements?
Thesis statements can be explanatory , argumentative , or analytical . The type of paper determines the form of the thesis statement.
1. Explanatory thesis statement
An explanatory thesis statement is based solely on factual information. It doesn’t contain personal opinions or make claims that are unsupported by evidence. Instead, it tells the reader precisely what the topic will be and touches on the major points that will be explored in the essay. An explanatory thesis statement is sometimes also called an expository thesis statement .
For example: The core components of a healthy lifestyle include a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.
2. Argumentative thesis statement
In an argumentative essay, the writer takes a stance on a debatable topic. This stance, and the claims to back it up, is the argument . Unlike an explanatory thesis statement, an argumentative thesis statement allows the writer to take a position about a subject (e.g., the deeper meaning of a literary text, the best policy towards a social problem) and to convince readers of their stance. The body of the argumentative essay uses examples and other evidence to support the writer’s opinion.
For example: Shakespeares’s Taming of the Shrew uses humor, disguise, and social roles to criticize the lack of power women had in Elizabethan England.
3. Analytical thesis statement
An analytical thesis statement analyzes, or breaks down, an issue or idea into its different parts. Then, it evaluates the topic and clearly presents the order of the analysis to the reader.
For example: The school’s policy to start its school day an hour later revealed three related benefits: students were more alert and attentive in class, had a more positive about school, and performed better in their coursework.
How to write a thesis statement
Writing a thesis statement requires time and careful thought. The thesis statement should flow naturally from research and set out the writer’s discoveries. When composing a thesis statement, make sure it focuses on one main idea that can be reasonably covered within your desired page length. Try not to write about the entire history of America, for example, in a three-page paper.
Although deciding upon a thesis statement can be challenging and time-consuming, a strong thesis statement can make the paper both easier to write and more enjoyable to read. Don’t worry: we’re not going to leave you hanging! We’ve got a whole article to help you write an effective thesis statement here .
Ways To Say
Synonym of the day
Feb 27, 2023
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... Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is... Coherent: Everything ...
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.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader. 2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
What are the different types of thesis statements? 1. Explanatory thesis statement An explanatory thesis statement is based solely on factual information. It doesn’t... 2. Argumentative thesis statement In an argumentative essay, the writer takes a stance on a debatable topic. This... 3. Analytical ...
A thesis statement should be specific, but not over-simplify your topic or position. Although thesis statements should be as short as possible, two sentence thesis statements are okay. It’s normal to revise your thesis statement throughout the writing process. GENERAL CONSTRUCTION OPINION + EVIDENCE + ORGANIZATION = THESIS STATEMENT TYPES 1. Argumentative