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. 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.
Both the argument and your thesis are likely to 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. If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories e. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper. 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.
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. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion. Finding Your Point of View A good thesis statement is developed from the point of view of the reader. Be very careful you're not developing a topic that is of interest to you alone.
This is a harsh yet necessary question to ask yourself: will my readers have any reason to care about what I'm writing? In the example about European travel above, readers might be interested in travel around Europe but will they be interested in solo travel, and greater independence and confidence?
Hopefully, the answer is yes. Just make sure you examine all viewpoints before investing your valuable time in a well-written piece. A thesis statement is powerful on two fronts. First, it allows the reader to get excited about what, specifically, is coming their way. Second, it stands as the point of reference for your entire paper. It also functions to inform your readers of what you will discuss in the body of the paper.
All paragraphs of the essay should explain, support, or argue with your thesis. A strong thesis statement requires proof; it is not merely a statement of fact. You should support your thesis statement with detailed supporting evidence will interest your readers and motivate them to continue reading the paper.
Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis? If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development. Is your thesis statement too general? Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the "meat" of it.
Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don't settle for three pages of just skimming the surface. The opposite of a focused, narrow, crisp thesis is a broad, sprawling, superficial thesis. Compare this original thesis too general with three possible revisions more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic : Original thesis: There are serious objections to today's horror movies.
Revised theses: Because modern cinematic techniques have allowed filmmakers to get more graphic, horror flicks have desensitized young American viewers to violence. The pornographic violence in "bloodbath" slasher movies degrades both men and women.
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. Compare the following: There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. Is your thesis statement too general? Keep revising until the thesis reflects your real ideas. In your thesis statement, you don't need to state every single detriment you're going to lay out in fact, you shouldn't as it will risk becoming a run-on sentence but you can point to the main areas you will explore. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. When developing your one-sentence thesis statement, it is important for you to be: specific, specific, specific. It is important that you give careful thought to the arrangement of your ideas and the paragraphs that contain them.
A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.
The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. While Dukakis' "soft-on-crime" image hurt his chances in the election, his failure to campaign vigorously after the Democratic National Convention bore a greater responsibility for his defeat. Is your thesis statement original?
What happens to them that causes you to take this stance? Why thesis statements are important and relevant to the structure of a paper: The author can refer back to it to narrow down points. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. Lunsford, Andrea A. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers.
It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion. An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. If you are having trouble beginning your paper or writing your thesis, take a piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind about your topic.
Original thesis: In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between fairy tales and early childhood. Why should readers care? Good: Given the grueling surgery and lifelong changes they endure, kidney donors should be financially compensated for their act of self-sacrifice. It gives you the main summary of the book, without all the details that the book will reveal over time. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view.