thesis statement writing academic

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Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

Basics of thesis statements.

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.

Being Specific

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").

Making a Unique Argument

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.

Creating a Debate

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.

Choosing the Right Words

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.

Leaving Room for Discussion

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.

  • In this essay, I argue ____, using ______ to assert _____.
  • While scholars have often argued ______, I argue______, because_______.
  • Through an analysis of ______, I argue ______, which is important because_______.

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.

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How to write a thesis statement + examples

Thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?

Is a thesis statement a question, how do you write a good thesis statement, how do i know if my thesis statement is good, examples of thesis statements, helpful resources on how to write a thesis statement, frequently asked questions about writing a thesis statement, related articles.

A thesis statement is the main argument of your paper or thesis.

The thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any piece of academic writing . It is a brief statement of your paper’s main argument. Essentially, you are stating what you will be writing about.

You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the question with new information and not just restate or reiterate it.

Your thesis statement is part of your introduction. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our introduction guide .

A thesis statement is not a question. A statement must be arguable and provable through evidence and analysis. While your thesis might stem from a research question, it should be in the form of a statement.

Tip: A thesis statement is typically 1-2 sentences. For a longer project like a thesis, the statement may be several sentences or a paragraph.

A good thesis statement needs to do the following:

  • Condense the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences.
  • Answer your project’s main research question.
  • Clearly state your position in relation to the topic .
  • Make an argument that requires support or evidence.

Once you have written down a thesis statement, check if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • Your statement needs to be provable by evidence. As an argument, a thesis statement needs to be debatable.
  • Your statement needs to be precise. Do not give away too much information in the thesis statement and do not load it with unnecessary information.
  • Your statement cannot say that one solution is simply right or simply wrong as a matter of fact. You should draw upon verified facts to persuade the reader of your solution, but you cannot just declare something as right or wrong.

As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should answer a question.

If the question is:

What do you think the City of New York should do to reduce traffic congestion?

A good thesis statement restates the question and answers it:

In this paper, I will argue that the City of New York should focus on providing exclusive lanes for public transport and adaptive traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion by the year 2035.

Here is another example. If the question is:

How can we end poverty?

A good thesis statement should give more than one solution to the problem in question:

In this paper, I will argue that introducing universal basic income can help reduce poverty and positively impact the way we work.

  • The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina has a list of questions to ask to see if your thesis is strong .

A thesis statement is part of the introduction of your paper. It is usually found in the first or second paragraph to let the reader know your research purpose from the beginning.

In general, a thesis statement should have one or two sentences. But the length really depends on the overall length of your project. Take a look at our guide about the length of thesis statements for more insight on this topic.

Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how to write them.

Every good essay should include a thesis statement as part of its introduction, no matter the academic level. Of course, if you are a high school student you are not expected to have the same type of thesis as a PhD student.

Here is a great YouTube tutorial showing How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements .

thesis statement writing academic

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How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

[ Back to top ]

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

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Developing Strong Thesis Statements

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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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Thesis Statements

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A strong component of academic writing that all writers must understand is the difference between subject, topic, and thesis. Knowing the difference between these three terms will help you create a strong argument for your paper. This handout is designed to help inform you about these three distinct introductory elements, and it will also help you transition from deciding on a subject you are writing about, to the essay’s topic, and finally to your overall thesis.

The subject of your paper is a broad idea that stands alone. At this point, there is no detailed information associated with it or any kind of argumentation. It serves, in essence, as a launching pad for you to form an idea, or argument, which will eventually become the purpose of your paper.

Example: Women

The topic of your paper is an evolved, narrower version of your subject. Here is where you add a detailed, more conclusive area of focus for your paper so that you can eradicate vagueness.

Example: Women in late 1990s television

The thesis acts as the final idea on which the entirety of your paper will focus. It is the central message that ties the whole paper together into one definitive purpose that prepares readers for what you are arguing.

Example : Although people may argue that television in the late 1990s helped portray women in a more honest and intrepid light, programs including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed , and Sex and the City failed to illustrate the depth and truth of womanhood, choosing to focus heavily on clichéd romantic entanglements, unbecoming pathetic quarrels, and thin temptresses adorned with fashionable costumes and bare midriffs.

Subject to Topic

The following are some suggestions to help you shift from a broad subject area to a narrow, focused topic.

Seek out narrow topics

Inappropriate.

Subject:  Women

Topic:  Women in history

Note:  In this case, the topic is too large to create a complex thesis statement worthy of a paper. The broader the topic, the more difficulty you will have narrowing your argument enough to affect readers.

Appropriate

Topic:  Famous women aviators of WWII

Note:  Here the topic as narrowed down the subject by focusing on women belonging to a specific profession in a particular historical period. It is thorough enough to discover a thesis statement.

Choose arguable topics

Subject:  Toni Morrison

Topic:  Biography

Note:  This idea does not allow for speculation or disagreement, which gives it an underdeveloped quality.

Topic:  Literary merits of the novel Tar Baby

Note:  This idea allows for speculation or disagreement, which gives it a strong, developed quality.

Choose topics within your comfort zone

Subject:  Linguistics

Topic:  OE Northumbrian dialects

Note:  Unless you have studied OE Northumbrian dialects at length, it perhaps poses too high of a research challenge to pursue.

Subject:  College Freshmen

Topic:  The Freshman Fifteen

Note:  This topic is narrow enough and familiar enough to most college students to purse as a topic.

Rules for Thesis Statements

  • Needs to correspond to the assignment’s expectations
  • Usually, but not always, one sentence
  • Typically appears that the end of the introduction
  • More often than not, it is explicitly stated
  • Establishes an argument
  • Establishes the criteria for scrutiny of the topic (previews the structure of the paper)
  • Write for an audience. Your paper should be catchy enough to retain readers’ attention.

Determine a "Research Question"

Determining a research question is a crucial aspect of your writing. In order to stay focused on the assignment, you must form a clear and concise argument. Choose one major idea you want to concentrate on, and expand from there.

When your instructor assigns a paper, try and find some angle that makes you inspired to fulfill the assignment to the best of your abilities. For example, if your history professor assigns you to write about a historical figure who changed the world for the better, write about an individual whose work you can relate to. If you are interested in the supernatural, you could write about Joan of Arc, who became a crusader because of the visions she claimed to have had from God.

Next, ask yourself a series of questions to help form your research question. Try to avoid questions you can answer with “yes” or “no” because these will not allow you to explore your topic as thoroughly or as easily as questions that begin with “who,” “what,” “why,” or “how.”

  • When did Joan rise to prominence?
  • Did she develop a strong following that her enemies felt threatened by?
  • How did her gender play a part in her tragic demise?
  • What does Joan’s execution say about female leaders of the 15th century?

Once you have developed a series of questions, consider which questions allow you to form an argument that is not too broad that you cannot write a sufficient paper, but not too narrow that it prevents you from crafting an interesting and compelling piece of writing. Decide which question represents this criteria, then you can start researching. In this case, from the above examples, you may select “How did Joan’s gender play a part in her tragic demise?” This question will allow you to develop a complex thesis with argumentative points to pose to readers. Below is a way to develop a thesis statement from the simply worded question that was just brainstormed.

The answer to your research question can become the core of your thesis statement.

Research Question:

How did Joan of Arc’s gender play a part in her tragic demise?

Thesis Statement:

Joan of Arc’s gender played a significant role in her tragic demise because of the laws and social customs concerning women during France’s 15th century, which included social ideals that perceived women as secular citizens; political standards that favored men to hold positions of power over women; as well as religious ideals that perceived Joan’s alleged clairvoyant gifts as a natural trait of witchcraft, a crime of heresy also associated with women.

Note:  Beginning writers are taught to write theses that list and outline the main points of the paper. As college students, professors might expect more descriptive theses. Doing this will illustrate two points: 1) Readers will be able to isolate your argument, which will keep them more inclined to focus on your points and whether or not they agree with you. They may find themselves questioning their own thoughts about your case. 2) A descriptive thesis serves as a way to show your understanding of the topic by providing a substantial claim.

Troubleshooting your Thesis Statement

The following are some suggestions to help you scrutinize your working draft of your thesis statement to develop it through further revisions.

Specify your details

Example:  In today’s society, beauty advertisements are not mere pictures that promote vanity in the public, but instead, they inspire people to make changes so that they can lead better lifestyles.

  • Uses cliché phrases like “In today’s society.”
  • What kind of beauty advertisements are you referring to? All of them? Or specific kinds?
Note:  Who is this targeting? Women? Men? Adolescents? Being more specific with the targeted audience is going to strengthen your paper.

Example:  Makeup, clothing, and dieting advertisements endorse American ideals of female beauty and show the public that women should possess full ownership of their bodies and fight the stigma of physical and sexual repression which has been placed upon them.

  • Identifies specific forms of beauty advertisements for the sake of clearly expressing a strong argument.
  • Uses descriptive language.
Note:  By signifying that women’s beauty is the main topic being argued in the paper, this author clearly identifies their main, targeted audience.

Make arguable claims

Undeveloped.

Example:  Social media is not conducive to people’s personal growth because of the distractions, self-doubt, and social anxiety it can cause to its users.

  • “Social media” and “personal growth” both encompass a large span of topics and so they leave the reader confused about the particular focus of this paper.
Note:  The thesis is too broad to form a well-constructed argument. It lacks details and specificity about the paper’s points.

Example:  Although Facebook allows people to network personally and professionally, the procrastination and distraction from one’s demanding responsibilities can lead people to invest more time in narcissistic trivialities, resulting in severe cases of anxiety and low self-esteem.

  • It alludes to some kind of counterargument in the opening dependent clause.
  • The thesis specifies several points that makes a thesis credible. The argument connects all the points (distractions, self-doubt, and social anxiety) together into one linear train of thought, relating the ideas to one another.
Note:  The thesis is more focused. It concentrates on the idea that social media plays up on a person’s self-worth.

Preview the paper’s structure

Example:  College is a crucial stage in one’s life that will help them become more sophisticated individuals upon entering the harsh world as an adult.

Note:  Not only does this statement lack specificity and excitement, but it fails to present an idea of what the paper will look like, and how the argument is set up. As readers, we know this writer believes college is an imperative part of one’s life, but we have no idea how they are going to go about arguing that claim.

Example:  College is a crucial stage in a young adult’s life because it is the time in which they begin to transition from childhood to adulthood, learn to live away from their parents, budget their own finances, and take responsibility for their successes and failures, which will force them to make more responsible decisions about their lives.

Note:  The thesis points to different aspects of college life that help students ease into adulthood, which shows the reader the points the writer will explore throughout the body of the paper.

  • transition from childhood to adulthood
  • learn to live away from their parents
  • budget their own finances
  • take responsibility for their successes and failures

Final Thoughts

When you are asked to write a paper in college, there may not be as many detailed descriptions telling you what subject or argument to write about. Remember, the best way to pick your subject is to write about something that interests you. That way, the assignment will be more promising and passionate for you and may help you feel more in control of your writing.

As you venture closer to crafting your thesis, make sure your subject is narrowed down to a specific enough topic so that you can stay focused on the task. If your topic is specific enough, you will be able to create an argument that is concentrated enough for you to provide sufficient argumentative points and commentary.

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Thesis Statements

Thesis statements establish for your readers both the relationship between the ideas and the order in which the material will be presented. As the writer, you can use the thesis statement as a guide in developing a coherent argument. In the thesis statement you are not simply describing or recapitulating the material;  you are taking a specific position that you need to defend . A well-written thesis is a tool for both the writer and reader, reminding the writer of the direction of the text and acting as a "road sign" that lets the reader know what to expect. 

A thesis statement has two purposes: (1) to educate a group of people (the audience) on a subject within the chosen topic, and (2) to inspire further reactions and spur conversation. Thesis statements are not written in stone. As you research and explore your subject matter, you are bound to find new or differing points of views, and your response may change. You identify the audience, and your thesis speaks to that particular audience.

Preparing to Write Your Thesis: Narrowing Your Topic

Before writing your thesis statement, you should work to narrow your topic.   Focus statements  will help you stay on track as you delve into research and explore your topic.

  • I am researching ________to better understand ________.
  • My paper hopes to uncover ________about ________.
  • How does ________relate to ________?
  • How does ________work?
  • Why is ________ happening?
  • What is missing from the ________ debate?
  • What is missing from the current understanding of ________? 

Other questions to consider:

  • How do I state the assigned topic clearly and succinctly?
  • What are the most interesting and relevant aspects of the topic?
  • In what order do I want to present the various aspects, and how do my ideas relate to each other?
  • What is my point of view regarding the topic?

Writing a Thesis Statement

Thesis statements typically consist of a single sentence and stress the main argument or claim of your paper.  More often than not, the thesis statement comes at the end of your introduction paragraph; however, this can vary based on discipline and topic, so check with your instructor if you are unsure where to place it.

Thesis statement should include three main components:​

  • TOPIC  – the topic you are discussing (school uniforms in public secondary schools)
  • CONTROLLING IDEA  – the point you are making about the topic or significance of your idea in terms of understanding your position as a whole (should be required) 
  • REASONING  – the supporting reasons, events, ideas, sources, etc. that you choose to prove your claim​​ in the order you will discuss them. This section varies by type of essay and level of writing. In some cases, it may be left out (because they are more inclusive and foster unity) 

A Strategy to Form Your Own Thesis Statement

Using the topic information, develop this formulaic sentence:

I am writing about_______________, and I am going to argue, show, or prove___________.

What you wrote in the first blank is the topic of your paper; what you wrote in the second blank is what focuses your paper (suggested by Patrick Hartwell in  Open to Language ). For example, a sentence might be:

I am going to write about senior citizens who volunteer at literacy projects, and I am going to show that they are physically and mentally invigorated by the responsibility of volunteering.

Next, refine the sentence so that it is consistent with your style. For example:

Senior citizens who volunteer at literacy projects are invigorated physically and mentally by the responsibility of volunteering.

Here is a second example  illustrating the formulation of another thesis statement. First, read this sentence that includes both topic and focusing comment:

I am going to write about how Plato and Sophocles understand the proper role of women in Greek society, and I am going to argue that though they remain close to traditional ideas about women, the authors also introduce some revolutionary views which increase women's place in society.

Now read the refined sentence, consistent with your style:

When examining the role of women in society, Plato and Sophocles remain close to traditional ideas about women's duties and capabilities in society; however, the authors also introduce some revolutionary views which increase women's place in society.

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Introduction to Academic Reading and Writing: Thesis Statements

  • Concept Map
  • Select a Topic
  • Develop a Research Question
  • Identify Sources

Thesis Statements

  • Effective Paragraphs
  • Introductions and Conclusions
  • Quote, Paraphrase, Summarize
  • Synthesize Sources
  • MLA and APA
  • Transitions
  • Eliminate Wordiness
  • Grammar and Style
  • Resource Videos

Writing Tip Icon

Use your research question to create a thesis statement that is focused and contains a debatable claim.

After narrowing your topic with your research question, craft an answer that states a position regarding that question. 

Use words such as “should” or “ought to” indicating a claim is being made. 

Keep your thesis as concise as possible. 

Conduct further research to determine the best points of support to include in your thesis statement, if required. 

If you include points of support as part of your thesis statement, make sure that they maintain parallel grammatical structure. 

If a reader’s first response to your thesis statement could be “How?” or “Why?” your thesis statement may not be sufficiently narrow or specific. 

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An Overview of the Writing Process

Thesis statements, what this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can discover or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper .

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:.

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your  instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I get a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis,” a basic or main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question.
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough?

Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?

  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is, “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s o.k. to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You turn on the computer and type out the following:

The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.

This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information. You will expand on this new information in the body of the essay, but it is important that the reader know where you are heading. A reader of this weak thesis might think, “What reasons? How are they the same? How are they different?” Ask yourself these same questions and begin to compare Northern and Southern attitudes (perhaps you first think, “The South believed slavery was right, and the North thought slavery was wrong”). Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong? You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. You write:

While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.

Now you have a working thesis! Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason. As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague. Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues. You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper:

While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.

Compare this to the original weak thesis. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War—it is not the one and only right answer to the question . There isn’t one right answer; there are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence.

Let’s look at another example. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following  assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

Why is this thesis weak? Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: you will most likely provide a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel. The question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze. Your professor is probably not interested in your opinion of the novel; instead, she wants you to think about why it’s such a great novel— what do Huck’s adventures tell us about life, about America, about coming of age, about race relations, etc.? First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.

Here’s a working thesis with potential: you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation; however, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal. Your reader is intrigued, but is still thinking, “So what? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?” Perhaps you are not sure yet, either. That’s fine—begin to work on comparing scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions. Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters. After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing the original version of this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find the latest publications on this topic. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

Anson, Chris M. and Robert A. Schwegler. The Longman Handbook for Writers. 2nd ed. New York: Longman, 2000.

Hairston, Maxine and John J. Ruszkiewicz. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Connors. The St. Martin’s Handbook. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin’s, 1995.

Rosen, Leonard J. and Laurence Behrens. The Allyn & Bacon Handbook. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1997.

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Academic English UK

 Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement?

  • A thesis is the main idea of your essay and includes your stance (opinion).
  • A good thesis statement will direct the structure of your essay and will allow the reader to understand the ideas to be discussed within your paper.
  • A thesis is usually stated in the opening paragraphs of a paper, most often in the last sentences of the introduction.
  • Overall, a thesis should include the words from the essay question (if given one) , the key topics in the main body of the essay and your stance (opinion).

Thesis Statement Video

A short 7-minute video on what a thesis statement is and the key components of a thesis statement.

Thesis Statements: How to write a thesis statement

This lesson / worksheet presents the key sections to an academic introduction. It focuses on different writing structures using words like however, although, despite and then includes a writing task. Students write three thesis statements using the introduction models.  Example   Level: ** *** [B1/B2/C1]   / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP  / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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An introduction structure with a thesis statement.

Basic paragraph structure

An introduction example on CSR  

CSR thesis statement example

Thesis Statement Writing Structures

Notice the different structures and grammar

Thesis statement (Although): Although it may not always be possible for every business to focus on CSR due to financial limitations, it should be a top priority for SMEs andlarge corporations if they want to improve their reputation, attract investment and maximise profitability.

Thesis statement (However):   It may not always be possible for every business to focus on CSR due to financial limitations. However, it should be a top priority for SMEs and large corporations if they want to improve their reputation, attract investment and maximise profitability.

Thesis statement (Despite) :  Despite not always being possible for every business to focus on CSR due to financial limitations, it should be a top priority for SMEs and large corporations if they want to improve their reputation, attract investment and maximise profitability.

Thesis + outline combined

Thesis Statements: How to write a thesis statement  

Introductions: How to write an academic introduction

This lesson / worksheet presents the key sections to an academic introduction. It then focuses on highlighting those key sections in three model introductions with particular attention to the thesis (question / topics / stance) and finally finishes with writing an introduction using a range of titles.  Example   Level: ** *** [B1/B2/C1]    / Website link / TEACHER MEMBERSHIP  / INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP

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  1. How To Write A Thesis Statement (with Useful Steps and Tips) • 7ESL

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  2. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

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  3. 36 Examples of Strong Thesis Statement

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  4. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

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  5. 💐 Thesis and thesis statement. How to Write a Thesis Statement Step

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  1. How To Write A Thesis Statement

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  3. What is Thesis Statement? Writing Thesis Statement with Practice in Urdu/Hindi #researchmethodology

  4. What is thesis statement and example?

  5. How to Start your Writing

  6. How to Write a Thesis Statement?

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 1: Start with a question. 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.

  2. Academic Guides: Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

    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.

  3. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement: tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

  4. Developing a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper. Is generally located near the end ...

  5. Developing A Thesis

    A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay. Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication.

  6. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay, and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay. A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to ...

  7. How to write a thesis statement + Examples

    It is a brief statement of your paper's main argument. Essentially, you are stating what you will be writing about. Organize your papers in one place. Try Paperpile. No credit card needed. Get 30 days free. You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the ...

  8. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Even if your assignment doesn't ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you'd like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you'd like to write about. A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  9. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  10. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    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 ...

  11. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Use words like "because" and language which is firm and definitive. Example thesis statements with good statement language include: "Because of William the Conqueror's campaign into England, that nation developed the strength and culture it would need to eventually build the British Empire.". "Hemingway significantly changed ...

  12. PDF Thesis Statements

    The Writing Center Thesis Statements What this handout is about ... often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument ...

  13. Strong Thesis Statements

    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.

  14. Writing a Thesis Statement

    The kind of thesis statement you write will depend on the type of paper you are writing. Here is how to write the different kinds of thesis statements: Argumentative Thesis Statement: Making a Claim. An argumentative thesis states the topic of your paper, your position on the topic, and the reasons you have for taking that position.

  15. Thesis Statements

    Thesis Statements. A strong component of academic writing that all writers must understand is the difference between subject, topic, and thesis. Knowing the difference between these three terms will help you create a strong argument for your paper. This handout is designed to help inform you about these three distinct introductory elements, and ...

  16. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement has two purposes: (1) to educate a group of people (the audience) on a subject within the chosen topic, and (2) to inspire further reactions and spur conversation. Thesis statements are not written in stone. As you research and explore your subject matter, you are bound to find new or differing points of views, and your ...

  17. What is a thesis

    A thesis is a comprehensive academic paper based on your original research that presents new findings, arguments, and ideas of your study. It's typically submitted at the end of your master's degree or as a capstone of your bachelor's degree. However, writing a thesis can be laborious, especially for beginners.

  18. Thesis and Purpose Statements

    A thesis statement makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of the paper. It summarizes the conclusions that the writer has reached about the topic. A thesis statement is generally located near the end of the introduction. Sometimes in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or an entire ...

  19. Thesis Statements

    Keep your thesis as concise as possible. Conduct further research to determine the best points of support to include in your thesis statement, if required. If you include points of support as part of your thesis statement, make sure that they maintain parallel grammatical structure.

  20. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement: tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

  21. PDF The Structure of an Academic Paper

    Thesis statement The thesis is generally the narrowest part and last sentence of the introduction, and conveys your position, the essence of your argument or idea. See our handout on Writing a Thesis Statement for more. The roadmap Not all academic papers include a roadmap, but many do. Usually following the thesis, a roadmap is a

  22. Academic Thesis Statements

    A good thesis statement will direct the structure of your essay and will allow the reader to understand the ideas to be discussed within your paper. A thesis is usually stated in the opening paragraphs of a paper, most often in the last sentences of the introduction. Overall, a thesis should include the words from the essay question (if given ...