Thesis Statement

Writing a thesis statement can be a challenge if you lack experience with writing academic papers. But if you follow these helpful hints, you stand a good chance of success. For additional help, free thesis generators and makers are available online.

What is a Thesis Statement?

The definition of a thesis statement is the sentence that proposes an argument or main purpose of the essay and serves to guide the ideas of the paper. Thesis statements are required for analytical, expository and argumentative essays, but can also be useful for other types of papers. Note that a thesis statement is not simply stating the topic of the paper; rather, it expresses an opinion that the writer has formed based on a particular reading or an experience that the writer has had. One example of a thesis for a research paper could be the following: while there have been many proposals to revamp the health care system, the most logical solution would be a single-payer option.

What is an Effective Thesis Statement?

A good thesis statement should be between one and two sentences and both introduce the topic and inform the reader of your position on the matter. It provides direction for your essay and keeps it focused on a narrow topic. You will use consequential paragraphs in the body of the paper to support your position using factual evidence.

How to Start a Thesis Statement

Pick a topic you understand. To get started, it is best to choose among topics that you have some degree of familiarity with as it is difficult if not impossible to make an effective argument if you are not well-informed. Doing research or, even better, selecting a topic in which you have personal experience will set you on the right track.

Strike the right balance. Based on the page/word limit of your paper, limit the topic to something specific but without being too broad or narrow. If you attempt to define topic that is too general, it will cause the paper to lose focus whereas an overly-specific topic might not contain enough information to meet the page requirements.

Do some Brainstorming. If you are having difficulties on how to choose your topic or thesis, jot down everything that comes to mind on a piece of paper. Have you come up with any interesting thoughts or developed compelling links between ideas? Can you separate these ideas into categories? Are you noticing any themes? By answering these questions, you will have a better idea on how to start your thesis statement. Consider using any ideas generating during the brainstorming as you develop and shape your thesis statement in particular and paper as a whole.

How to Make a Thesis Statement Successful

As you decide upon your thesis statement, keep it clear and specific. If you are connecting two ideas in your statement (e.g., “Some argue that A is true, but it is evident that B is a stronger argument”), make sure that you are able to establish a genuine relationship. If the two statements imply a hazy, unfocused thesis, you are better off focusing on one point or the other rather than both. Now that you know how to make a thesis statement, the next step is crafting the paper!

Thesis Statement Examples

An example of an analytical thesis statement:

When examining the criteria for electing a baseball player into the Hall of Fame, the voters face a dilemma: rewarding players based on their career statistics or taking into consideration the effect that performance-enhancement drugs had on giving them an unfair advantage, even if the use of PEDs was never proven.

This paper would:

Explain the criteria for how voters elect baseball players into the Hall of Fame

Explain the challenges the voters face by arguing how PEDs can artificially inflate the players’ statistics.

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

The life of a typical college student is characterized by the time spent reading the coursework, going to lectures, and spending time with friends.

This paper would:

Explain how students spend their time reading up on their coursework, going to lectures, and spending time with friends.

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

The best way to prevent mass shootings is to implement sensible legislation that limits the amount of ammunition that can be fired off in a cartridge.

This paper would:

Present an argument and support the claim that limiting the amount of ammunition that can be fired off in a cartridge would help prevent mass shootings.

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