Often, when writing an essay for your college, you might wander off on several tangents distantly related to your topic. Think of your essay topic as a forest that you’ve been plopped down in. Navigating the forest might be difficult without a map, as there are various routes you can take. A thesis statement acts a compass guiding you to the heart of the forest, where you can find the finest content. It also acts as a map for your readers, helping them know exactly where your essay is going and how.
We’ve prepared this guide to help you understand exactly how to write a thesis statement, providing thesis statement examples at every step along the way.
What is a thesis statement?
Typically placed at the end of your introduction, a thesis statement states the purpose of your essay in one or two sentences. Without it, your essay is simply a series of paragraphs in search of a point.
A good thesis statement tells your reader which elements you will be including in your paper and a clear idea of your opinion on them. In other words, it introduces the reader to your topic and illustrates exactly how you feel about it.
It also helps you, as a writer, stay on track during the writing process. Let’s cut the chit-chat and look at how to write a thesis statement.
To understand thesis statements, it is also important to understand what a thesis statement is not.
What is NOT a thesis statement?
Your thesis statement is NOT your topic
If you’re writing about the Second World War, your thesis statement will not be “World War II”. Instead, it would include the position you’re taking on World War II. In other words, what about World War II are you going to be debating or discussing?
Your thesis statement is NOT a fact about your topic
Your thesis statement must be debatable, which is why it cannot be a fact.
Example: "World War II is known as the golden age of aviation."
This is a fact and won’t be debated, so it cannot be a thesis statement. What about World War II being the golden age of aviation do you want to talk about in your paper.
To find your thesis statement, ask yourself how or why.
Your thesis statement is NOT a question
A thesis statement is not a question. A claim must be disputable and supported by logic and evidence. In contrast, a question cannot state anything. It's an excellent introduction to a thesis, but it's not a thesis statement.
Your thesis statement is NOT an announcement
Now, imagine you’re writing a paper on studying in a foreign country.
Incorrect Thesis Statements
A: “Studying in a foreign country.”
B: “The global number of students who study abroad rises with an annual increase of 10%.”
C: “Is studying abroad beneficial?”
D: “In this essay, I will discuss the benefits of studying abroad.”
Ideal Thesis Statement
E: “Every college-level student must complete an undergraduate abroad programme. They will learn more during that semester abroad than they will during any other academic year."
Types of thesis statements
Depending on your paper's aim, you can choose from different types of thesis statements.
Aim: To persuade your reader of a claim
Should: Takes a clear position
Example: High school graduates should be obliged to participate in community service projects prior to attending college to develop their maturity and global knowledge.
Aim: To analyse, interpret or evaluate different aspects of a topic
Should: Map out the key points of your analysis and briefly introduce the conclusions you would draw from it
Example: The typical college student's life is defined by time spent studying, attending classes, and socialising with peers.
Aim: To explain and discuss the facts of a topic
Should: Summarise all the main points you will cover
Example: An examination of the college admissions process reveals one difficulty for counsellors: accepting students with high test scores or strong extracurricular backgrounds.
How to write a thesis statement for an essay?
Before you draft a thesis statement, ensure you understand the topic you’re writing about. You might have to write some body paragraphs to articulate your views on the subject.
Don’t let yourself get carried away; the more you write without knowing your intended direction, the more you may have to rewrite your draft once you have a thesis in place.
According to the kind of essay you're writing, your thesis will take on a slightly different appearance. But the essential point you wish to make should always be stated in the thesis statement. The rest of your essay should build off of this concept.
Three Steps of Writing a Thesis Statement
Step One: Brainstorm a topic
The first step is to choose a topic because you cannot develop a thesis statement unless you know what your paper is about. You might have already been assigned a topic. If not, then consider the following when picking your topic:
1. Pick a topic that you’re passionate about.
2. Narrow down your topic to something specific.
3. Check for adequate credible research sources beforehand.
Step Two: Answer the question
Phrase your topic as a question. If you already know the answer, write it down; this will serve as a solid foundation for your thesis statement. If you don't already know the answer, conduct preliminary research to find out; the information you discover can be used as sources and proof in your essay's body paragraphs.
Step Three: Revise your statement
Your initial thesis statement is unlikely to be flawless. Edit it, add what's missing, and refine it to make it the best it can be.
If you're unsure, have a buddy read your thesis statement and then ask them what they believe your paper is going to be about. Your thesis statement has succeeded if they provide a correct response.
Parts of a thesis statement
A thesis statement has to contain two parts:
1.Topic – what the essay is about
2. Angle – your own insight or assertion about the topic
3. Evidence – reasons to support your opinion
Make sure that all of the components of the working thesis for your essay are realistic as you build it by reviewing and analysing it:
- Is there a thesis statement with a topic and an angle?
- Does the angle offer a debatable insight?
- Is the angle supportable with examples and evidence?
- Is the angle appropriate for the essay's scope?
- Are the reasons in the "because clause" clear, direct, and related to the claim in the angle?
Placement of thesis statement
The thesis statement can generally be found in the essay's introductory paragraph, either at the beginning or the end of the paragraph. Placing your thesis statement at the start of your paper might grab attention but can come off as too direct. Instead, if you want to pique your readers' interest, we recommend placing your thesis statement at the end of your introduction, followed by some context.
Thesis Statement Template
If you’re stuck, try writing your initial statement as your personal opinion from a first-person perspective.
To find your position on a topic and the evidence for your position, complete the following sentences.
“In this paper, I will…”
“I believe this because…”
Thesis Statement DOs and DON’Ts
DON'T be vague or mysterious.
Incorrect: This paper will discuss my reaction to Al Gore's viewpoint on global warming.
DO be as specific as possible about what your paper will argue.
Correct: While Al Gore does provide some strong evidence for global warming, he relies too heavily on scaring his audience, which weakens his argument.
DON’T include a list of the topics of each body paragraph.
Incorrect: The play Macbeth shows that men and women differ in emotionalism, loyalty, and the way they deal with guilty feelings.
DO explain the overall theme of the essay in your thesis statement.
Correct: The differences between Lady and Lord Macbeth's reactions to Duncan's murder demonstrate Shakespeare's view that men are more simplistic and straightforward than women.
Exception: If your main point is a list, a listing thesis statement can be effective.
DON’T cram too many ideas into one sentence.
Incorrect: “Many people believe that the Constitution is an unquestionable document whose ideas must be taken literally; however, I believe that the Constitution is a living document that should be open to interpretation and updated as our country progresses, while remaining true to the general ideals upon which our country was founded.”
DO break up your sentence if it becomes too long.
Correct: Many people believe that the Constitution is an unquestionable document whose ideas must be taken literally. However, I believe that the Constitution is a living instrument that should be open to interpretation and amended as our country grows, while remaining true to the broad ideas upon which our country was created.
DON’T ramble on. DO make sure your essay has a point which is being clearly articulated.
Writing a thesis statement requires more consideration than many other elements of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can summarise an entire argument in a few words, it is worth the extra effort to write this sentence. It can direct your research and argument, resulting in a tight, focused essay that makes readers think. If you're looking for tips to write a scholarship essay, research paper, or personal statement, look no further because we have it all right here for you. We've also got blogs for students beginning their career with a guide to writing your very first resume.