How to Write a Good Thesis Statement

thesis

The value that a good thesis statement holds in any type of writing is irrefutable. Whether you’re writing an argumentative, persuasive or comparison paper, speech or research paper; you will need to have a thesis statement. You can have a section within your paper specifically dedicated to the thesis statement, or if it is a short paper that you’re writing, that is, with fewer paragraphs – you can have a list of two or more points.

A thesis statement is meant to serve two primary purposes:

Guide the writer:

  • Makes your paper have a certain structure and a point to pass across
  • Create a hook to hang your sentences on: it’s what draws your readers
  • Establish the focus and clearly bring out your main points

Blueprint for your reader:

  • Engages readers to the main arguments
  • Draws and keeps them focused on the main points
  • Serves as a ‘map’ for reading through the paper

So, how does one go about writing a strong thesis statement? It is a process that requires one to fully have a comprehension of what a thesis is, the two types, qualities, and strategies to developing a good thesis statement.

What is a Thesis Statement?

So, what is a thesis statement? You have often come across students, especially seniors, talking about a ‘thesis’ – this is entirely different from a thesis statement. A thesis also commonly referred to a dissertation, is a long essay paper containing personal research written by a college student in the quest to getting a degree. A thesis statement, on the other hand, is a claim, fact or argument that you intend to approve or disapprove in your essay.

Writing a good thesis statement all boils down to thoroughly understanding the type of ‘claim’ that you’re trying to assert to your readers. The type of claim dictates the focus and direction your paper will take.

Types of Claims for Thesis Statements

Cause and Effect

The thesis statement is argumentative highlighting how a particular person, or event has caused certain things to transpire.

Example:

Prolonged smoking can lead to lung cancer

Fact or Definition

The thesis statement attempts to bring out the meaning to something or in other scenarios reaffirm or contradict a stated fact.

Example:

Life forms exist outside earth

Policies or Solutions

The thesis statement, in this case, argues for or against certain policy or solution approaches in solving problems.

Example:

GMOs are the solution to the existing food shortages globally

Claims about Value

The thesis statement highlights whether a particular thing has value or otherwise. It also shows how we have rated or categorized certain issues or things.

Example:

Global warming is a serious and worldwide problem

Types of Thesis Statements

The nature of the essay you are writing has a significant effect on the thesis statement that you’ll use. Just as there are different kinds of essays so are there thesis statements. We have three categories of essays: expository, analytical and argumentative.

The thesis statement will take the form of the essay. However, certain pieces cannot be categorized into either of the three, but still, the approach to writing the thesis statement is the same. The following are some types of thesis statements:

Persuasive Thesis Statement

A persuasive thesis statement is a compelling thesis statement, which can also be termed as being argumentative, strives to show your readers an accurate claim which you back with evidence. For a majority of essays, be they policy, compare and contrast, narrative or argumentative, the thesis statement is often persuasive. It is so because your piece gives an opinion or claim and an explanation on why.

Example:

Swimming is the best form of exercise because it allows you to exercise all your body muscles and it’s fun.

The goal of the essay is to show readers why swimming is an excellent form of exercise. My opinion will be ‘best form of exercise,’ I have then gone ahead and justified my opinion with a couple of reasons ‘exercise all your body muscles, and it is fun.’

Informative Thesis Statement

Expository or informative essays have an informative kind of thesis statement. Your thesis statement explains or informs and guides your reader to the conclusion that you’ve made with regards to a particular event, issue or individual.

Example

To exercise all body muscles at once, you can take up swimming as a form of exercise.

The subject of your essay is ‘exercising body muscles,’ the focus your essay will take – ‘showing your audience how swimming can be the best exercise to take up.’

Analytical Thesis Statement

An analytical paper is more focused on research. It breakdowns issues or ideas, giving a more detailed explanation and evaluation to your audience.

Example:

An analysis of global warming effects and the challenges facing a reduction of greenhouse gases emission.

The paper will give an analysis of the effects of global warming and the challenges facing those trying to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, which is among the leading causes of global warming.

Creating a Good Thesis Statement

Coming up with a thesis statement is a process that requires much thought. You cannot have a thesis statement just by reading the essay topic. Before settling on a particular line of thinking or argument, you need to have evidence to back it up. Therefore, you will need to collect the necessary information, identify existing relationships if there are any, and see the significance of the information that forms the basis of your argument. This process will help you develop a “working thesis.” ‘Working’ because as you proceed with your paper, you are likely to make adjustments to it.

Qualities of a Good Thesis Statement

Specific

A thesis statement is not too general but rather narrowed down such that it leads to a particular line of thinking. You will also be keen to limit your thesis statement to what can be accomplished within the essay. Being general will make your essay not have much relevant or important information. Being specific allows a writer to give valuable information.

Original

Originality is a key issue when it comes to writing. In fact, it is an offense to reproduce someone else’s work. For students, it can negatively impact on their academic performance and in some cases get them suspended from school. A strong thesis statement is one that you develop on your own. A good thesis statement is one that avoids the use of formula statements and generic arguments.

Clarity

Your thesis statement needs to be clear such that anyone reading your paper can quickly see it. You need to avoid any misunderstandings, which implies that you cannot assume that your reader will automatically understand your sentence. This means that if there are any words that need defining, ensure that you do so. Therefore, be very clear avoiding any vagueness while stating your thesis statement.

States Your Position

A thesis statement as defined, is an opinion or stance that you will be taking. Therefore, this means that any good thesis statement does not just introduce the topic but lets your reader see the position or claim that you’re making in relation to that subject. Your position should not be general but specific; it also shouldn’t be a universal or self-evident argument. Give your readers a reason to read your paper!

The Position of Your Thesis Statement

Place your thesis statement at the beginning of your paper. Not specifically in the first paragraph, it could be in the second paragraph of your article if you are writing a long paper. Importantly, let it be evident such that anyone reading your paper can clearly see your argument. Placing it at the beginning of your paper gives it a sense of direction.

Strategies for Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

Hint 1: Using a Formula to derive a thesis statement

A formula statement is an option to use while developing your thesis statement. However it’s not specific enough and will require adjustments as you proceed with writing

Example of templates

Even though majority of readers ______ have argued that ______, detailed examination shows that ______.

___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Hint 2: Have a sentence that recaps the main points of the essay

Hint 3: If your paper entails answering a question, then turn your question to an assertion and validate your arguments.

Hint 4: Developing a thesis statement is a thinking process that takes time. After thoroughly understanding the subject of your essay, list down the most important point and eventually what you have is an organizational plan, which shows you what the thesis statement can be.

Conclusion

A thesis statement is a crucial part of your paper, and therefore it is very important that you get it right. A good thesis statement gives your paper a sense of direction that will not only make it easy for you to write it but also a blueprint for your readers. To write a good thesis statement, it is vital that you have a thorough understanding of certain aspects that include the subject of your essay, what a thesis statement is and the different types. There are different approaches that one can take as shown by the different strategies. Have a specific, original, and precise thesis statement that will not leave your readers wondering what your objective or argument in the paper was.

When in doubt, you can always seek the help of your supervisor or tutor. Having a strong thesis statement takes effort and skill, you need all the assist you can get if you’ve not mastered how to develop one.

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