How to Create a Decent Thesis Statement

Academic writing is part and parcel of studying in college or a university. Once you become a student, you should be ready that essays, research papers, term papers, coursework, and discussion board posts are going to become your inescapable routine. Of course, it might be tough to get used to such a regimen as well as strict and demanding requirements of professors. Fortunately, there are ways to learn to deal with writing assignments easily and quickly. A student just needs to get acquainted with the major elements of any paper, and writing will stop being so tiring. In this short handout, you will find out about one of such components, and it is a thesis statement.

What a Thesis Statement Is and Is Not

The majority of writing tasks require students to write in a persuasive manner and convince a reader of something, for example, that one presidential candidate is better than another, that one solution to the given problem is more effective than the rest, that global warming exists, while ghosts do not, etc. In academic writing, in order to persuade the audience of something, an author should present the topic, i.e., write an introduction, and then make a strong claim that expresses his/her position regarding the subject under consideration. This claim is referred to as a thesis statement, and it is the most important element of the entire paper.

Here is what you need to know about thesis statements:

  1. It introduces the topic to a reader and shows the significance of discussing it.
  2. It serves as a roadmap for the audience. It allows predicting what and how will be addressed and enables to develop some expectations.
  3. If the requirements of the paper instruct to answer a specific question, the answer to it will be in a thesis statement. Well, at least, it should be there. For example, if you were asked to interpret a poem, your thesis should succinctly present your overall idea about the work analyzed.
  4. It should be arguable, meaning that a reader must be able to disagree with the claim.
  5. As a rule, a thesis statement is limited to one or two sentences at the end of the introduction.
  6. The body of a paper should be devoted to proving the accuracy and appropriateness of the claim made in a thesis statement. In other words, every single paragraph should be used to persuade the audience that your point of view is valid and worth accepting.
  7. Even if it is not stated explicitly in the task, a thesis statement is necessary in all of your papers. It is likely that your professor considers you to be aware of this sentence by default. Therefore, remember that regardless of whether you were asked to compare and contrast, describe a process, interpret a piece of writing, analyze an issue, explain a procedure, tell a story, make recommendations, summarize some text, determine causes and effects, or take a stance concerning a burning issue, etc., a thesis statement should be included.

How to Create a Thesis Statement

It is impossible to create a flawless thesis statement at one sitting or within a few minutes. Composing a well-though-out claim that is capable of bringing a high grade for a paper requires much time, efforts, and, what is most important, reading. In order to formulate an argument, it is necessary to be familiar with the topic. You will have to find multiple relevant sources, review them all and collect data. Next, you should critically analyze the facts gathered, try to find relations between them, and assess the significance of the existing connection. Finally, if having evaluated whether there is sufficient evidence to support your argument, you are sure that the argument may be backed up, you can proceed to compose a working thesis. The latter is subject to modifications, changes, and alterations with an aim to get a perfectly articulated claim.

Thesis Statement Checklist

The best way to verify whether your thesis statement is good enough is to consult your professor. He/she will be glad to help you and give a piece of advice if there is a need. Another approach is to arrange an appointment with a consultant in a writing center in your school. This person may give you valuable feedback. If, however, you are pressed for time or just have no possibility to discuss the matter with a professor or the writing center employee, you may use the following checklist to make sure your thesis statement is properly composed. So, when you have at least the first draft of the paper and a working thesis, ask yourself:

  • Have I answered all the questions asked? - Be sure to reread the prompt one more time in a very careful manner. Highlight questions that were fully answered. Fix the paper is there is a need.
  • Can my argument be opposed or contradicted to? - If it is impossible to disagree with the thesis statement, you have probably stated a fact, for instance, "This paper is about global warming." Such a thesis statement should be rewritten and made arguable.
  • Have I included enough details in my thesis statement? - Vague arguments are usually weak. There always should be a specific connection of the idea to a larger subject so that the thesis statement could pass a "why?" test. In other words, it is bad to say, "Implementation of this policy will be helpful." Ideas should be developed with details and reason, for instance, "Implementation of this policy will be helpful because it is likely to lead to the economic rise, improvement of education, and a lower rate of unemployment."
  • Is my thesis statement well supported throughout the body? - A thesis statement and all body paragraphs should be closely tied, and the connection should be clearly visible. If they do not work well together, either the body or thesis statement has to be changed. So, be sure to keep this connection strong and vivid.
  • Does my thesis statement allow to predict the structure of the paper? - In a nutshell, a thesis should pass not only "why?" test but also "how?" test. A reader should clearly see how your argument will be developed, how many sections there will be, in which order they will be presented, etc.