There are a lot of new notions first-year students have to grasp. And one of them is a "thesis statement." This term refers to the main idea, opinion, or theory expressed by a person or group either in writing or in speech. It can be found in many places — a dispute letter, legal documentation, and even advertising. And talking about academic writing, it is one of the most important parts of any research paper.
What Is a Thesis Statement in an Essay?
A thesis statement is a one- or two-sentence piece that communicates a central message of the essay. It states the topic of your research, presents your position on the subject, and includes the major arguments you will introduce in the body of your work. It also serves as a guide to your essay's content and tells your audience whether it is something they want to read.
What Is the Purpose of a Thesis Statement?
Whether you're writing an argumentative paper, a comparative analysis, or a synthesis essay, you need to think thoroughly about what you will write in the introductory paragraph of your paper. Apart from summarizing the main idea of your discourse, a good thesis statement performs several other functions:
- represents the theme being discussed and your interpretation of it;
- singles out a specific issue within the topic stated in the essay prompt;
- educates the audience on the subject matter you are going to address;
- is a reference point that helps you to stay focused and stick to the outlined direction of your text;
- helps to organize your writing so that you can develop your points more clearly;
- encourages you to refine the evidence that backs up your ideas or belief;
- makes a claim that might spur further dispute.
What Are the Types of Thesis Statements?
Any writing assignments require doing a certain amount of groundwork. If you want to learn how to create a thesis statement, the first thing on your to-do list should be exploring available options.
Just as all the academic papers fall into four major categories, namely expository essay, descriptive essay, narrative, and argumentative essays, so do the thesis statements. This implies that the thesis should be totally in line with the paper's major goal and match its style and content.
Thesis statements can also differentiate on the grounds of intent, revealing the two basic types — informative and persuasive. Let's have a closer look at them:
The aim here is to inform your readers about a subject or process you are going to cover, without stating your opinion or arguing your point. You should create a roadmap that your essay will follow and guide your audience to the conclusion you plan to reach.
Example: Mass surveillance programs are often attributed to the effective measures that help to combat terrorism, protect national security, and bring down the crime rate. Still, there are many shortcomings of such initiatives as compared to their benefits.
The majority of essays are likely to belong to this category, as they require students to take a position on the given issue and then prove why it is true. In this case, thesis statements should contain an opinion and a list of evidence or reasons that support that stance.
Example: Programs like PRISM should be discontinued, as they invade civil liberties, violate privacy rights, and do not comply with their declared role, which is safeguarding the citizens.
What Are the Styles of Thesis Statements?
The way you arrange the ideas in your thesis statement would be largely determined by the essay format and the maximum word count. There are two main styles you can use:
It is an ideal solution for a short essay (500-800 words), that follows a 5-paragraph structure: introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. This format implies that each passage of the paper's main part introduces a new concept, argument, or a piece of evidence related to the core subject matter. Therefore, it's easy to present your thesis as a list of two or more major points that will be discussed in the text.
For longer essays that don't fit into the rigid writing structure, it is better to state one overarching point that will tie all body paragraphs together. Such a thesis will create more room for versatility as it can cover a broader scope of issues under the same universal theme.
How to Write A Good Thesis Statement?
So you've figured out what type of thesis fits your assignment prompt the best and decided how to arrange your thoughts in the most efficient way. Now it's time to think about how to grab your readers' attention and make them eager to read the whole piece.
The good thesis statements follow the CCC-rule — they are concise, contentious, and coherent.
A thesis must be specific and to the point. It should comprise concrete ideas without any fluff, jargon, flowery language, or overly vague expressions. You know you did well when you can distill your thesis into a sentence or two, and not waste the whole introductory paragraph on it.
A thesis statement is not a simple fact or observation. It is an assertion you have to prove to your readers. That requires deep analysis, convincing reasoning, and powerful argumentation. The best thesis statements raise questions and are likely to cause disagreement.
Even though a thesis statement is a kind of content summary for your essay or research paper, it is still a part of the whole. Thus, it should not be an isolated element of your writing, but a foundation on which you build your narrative. It would be great if you can reflect the main aspects of your thesis in the section headings or in-text examples.
What Is the Gripping Thesis Statement Formula?
Good thesis statements normally include two elements: a claim about the subject and the reasons that explain a writer's position. The first element could be presented as an opinion, a judgment, an interpretation, or a proposal. Then you can refer to some trustful sources, related events, theories, or concepts to back up your point and illustrate your understanding of the situation. Such a bi-component thesis structure enables you to fit your ideas into one of these basic templates:
- X is true because of A, B, and C.
It is the simplest strategy on how to start a thesis statement. You just make a claim under the X part and justify it with credible evidence marked by A, B, and C. Of course, you'll still have to hone this tentative draft to turn it into an original, complex argument, but it is a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
Example: SMM improves brand exposure, because active social media presence drives targeted traffic, builds relationships with your audience, and helps to boost the sales rate.
- Although Y, a closer examination of A, B, and C show X.
Such a thesis statement format works best for written discourses that aim to debunk the conventional perception of the given subject matter. It also helps to develop a working thesis if the central point of your paper opposes the idea declared in the essay prompt. This template suggests that you open up your assertion with the counterargument, and then present reasons that both show your disagreement with the original statement and defend your point.
Example: Although SMM is seen as a perfect medium for marketing, application of the outdated SEO content tactics and total misunderstanding of social media algorithms by many business owners, has turned social media platforms into a cluttered bulletin board full of annoying, irrelevant ads.
How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step?
A thesis statement is a central hub for your whole essay. So it has to be strong enough to take on that job. The following is some useful advice that can make it work:
Know the Task
Make sure you understand what is being asked from you. Go through the essay prompt several times to define the key idea, issue, or conflict and see how you can work with it in your text.
Find your Focus
Once you've clarified the topic and the purpose of your assignment, narrow the subject down to one specific aspect you would like to address in your paper. It might seem a bit challenging at first, but this template can be a great starting point to spark your creativity:
I am writing about_______________, and I am going to argue/show/prove __________.
Example: I am writing about financial compensation for donors, and I will prove that the widely-established practice of unpaid organ donations actively contributes to the development of transplant tourism and the black market for illicit human organs.
Before you start writing, scrawl a few points that you can bring into the spotlight. Just let your thoughts flow and see where that takes you. This practice can reveal new connections, enable you to discover previously unnoticed peculiarities of the given topic, and help sort out your ideas.
Answer a Specific Question
Regardless of how your essay prompt is formulated, you can always restructure it to make an inquiry. The rest is simple: turn your thesis into a compelling and accurate response to that question.
Make a Provable Argument
Because a thesis is a contentious statement, you need to collect evidence that will support your claim. Consider all the possible counterarguments your readers might have, and think of a strategy on how you can defend your stance against those counterpoints.
How do you write a thesis outline?
When drafting your thesis statement, you should cover three core elements:
- topic — the subject to be discussed;
- precise opinion — the writer's point of view concerning the given topic;
- explanation — reasons why the author agrees with or disputes the subject.
What is the most important part of a thesis?
A good thesis statement, just like any good piece of academic writing, is based on a strong argument. Without that central point, your paper is dead in the water. You should know what you want to write about and how you will defeat your claim, already at the preliminary stage of the essay writing process.
Can a thesis statement be a question?
No, a thesis is not a place to make inquiries. It's quite the contrary. You should provide a succinct answer to question prompt, and then extend and elaborate this idea in the following passages of your essay.
Can a thesis statement be an opinion?
100% yes. As mentioned earlier, one of the constituent parts of a good thesis statement is an arguable claim. It can take the form of interpretation, evaluation, or opinion, that should be supported by relevant evidence.
What words should you avoid in a thesis statement?
Resist the temptation to use verbs like explore, investigate, summarize, learn, and explain in your thesis statement. These words denote the functions of the thesis, and they should be incorporated in its underlying structure, but not under the spotlight.
It's also good to steer clear of words like could, may and might that bring about uncertainty into your writing. Better refine your thesis to include more assertive verbs such as will, do, and shall.
Though a thesis statement usually consists of one or two sentences, it sets the direction for the whole essay. A thesis is a condensed version of the subject, precise opinion, and the blueprint of reasons tied together. Such a compact format makes it easier to keep in mind while doing the research, evaluating sources, and eventually creating your first essay draft. The tentative thesis also helps to spot relevant statistics, examples, or other evidence that can be used to support your claims.
If you have any doubts about how to write a thesis statement, you can always ask for the help of professional content creators who have 10+ years of experience in custom essay writing. Our experts would be glad to be partners in your academic success.