The basics of how to write a thesis statement
A thesis statement is perhaps the most important sentence of any written assignment. It is the building block that determines the strength of your argument from the introduction to when you sign off. In summary, a thesis statement is your argument. It captures what you are about to tell your readers. Without a thesis statement, you may as well forget about writing an appealing paper. You will only find yourself stuck in confusion and unable to convince your audience. To find out more on how to write a thesis statement, read this handout keenly for we designed it for you. It is a toolkit that you, your friends and tutor will find nourishing.
What to expect on this page:
- Thesis writing tricks
- Developing a strong thesis statement
- Examples of thesis statements
As you are about to experience, these guidelines are flexible and applicable to any written assignment. What you only need to do is understand the purpose of your essay and apply the tricks. Are you ready for the journey? Let us get started…
How to write a thesis statement that appeals to your readers
A common mistake students make is coming up with a fixed thesis statement. A good thesis statement is dynamic, not static. Thus, as you start working on your assignment, you need a working or provisional thesis, which you would refine at the end of your paper into a clear and coherent statement that affirms your argument.
When you think of a thesis statement, you should imagine listening to a lawyer make his opening remarks on a particular case. It must stamp clarity of thought and purpose and must show the reader where you are taking him or her.
This should not sound like rocket science as below are steps of how to write a thesis statement. Follow them and overcome the challenge of articulating your claim during essay writing.
Steps to follow when writing a thesis statement
STEP 1: Identify your topic – A thesis statement is a product of an issue or topic of discussion. Your tutor may assign you a topic or allow you to choose one and work on it. Whichever the case, this is the initial step, in thesis writing.
As you choose your topic, do the following:
- Get the assignment prompt – It should be clear what the question demands of you.
- Research about the topic – Gather more information on the topic to help you take an informed stance.
- Focus on a single aspect – Do not address everything on the subject in your topic. Your mind should focus on one aspect of the issue.
- Is your topic worth it? Do not just settle on anything. Choose a topic that adds value to you as a scholar, is worthy your effort and addresses the needs of your audience.
STEP 2: Derive your main point – Once your topic is in place, your next task is to decide on the main idea that you want to explore in your essay. This controlling idea will serve as your backbone and will unify sub-theses in as you develop your case.
With your controlling idea, convert into your purpose statement, defining what you intend to do. As you figure out how to write a thesis statement, look for patterns that emerge from your evidence. Common patterns may include repletion and contrast. This calls for a thorough scrutiny of your research material before the actual writing begins.
STEP 3: Compose a draft statement – Remember that you never get it right the first time. Be ready to develop several drafts before you get your final statement. Make it your provisional thesis and revisit it depending on how your ideas and argument shapes up.
STEP 4: Refine your thesis statement – Your final thesis statement will come from your draft. Polish it so that it becomes specific and contestable.
How to refine your draft thesis:
- Evaluate if your draft answers the question at hand
- Evaluate every element of your thesis
- Seek clarity by eliminating vagueness
- See if you have alternatives to your thesis draft
STEP 5: Complete your thesis statement – You thought it was hard? You are at the last stage. Make sure your statement is contextual and relates to what you learned in class or what you discussed with your instructor.
- Keep in mind your assignment. Do not be driven away by an argument that does not relate to what you are doing. A good thesis should harmonize with the topic, content and the audience.
- Have the rest of your paper in mind – As you conclude your thesis, keep the rest of your essay in mind and adjust it as your ideas evolve. This is important because your thesis should only promise what your paper delivers.
With the above discussion on how to write a thesis statement, let us look at sample statements and see the feasibility of these steps.
Example #1: Sample thesis statement
Consider this paper A Scientific Report on Climate Change. In the introductory paragraph, the author captures the argument in a thesis, stating that:
Climate change occurs gradually mainly as result of human activities, which negatively affect the environment and the ecosystem.
Notice that the writer opens a debate window, allowing the audience to take a swipe on the topic and have their say on the causes of climate change. We however expect the essay to pinpoint strongly, how man contributes to climate change. This is an interesting debate. Find the rest of the essay here in a single click.
Example #2: Sample thesis statement
Here is another example to help you master thesis writing:
The writer goes ahead to state that:
The government has a role in providing safe and comfortable shelter to its people. Thus, it should pump more resources into the housing sector and help in building decent shelter.
From this argument, the writer has taken a position. However, the statement has room for counterargument from the audience, since there are people who opine that it is not the responsibility of the government to provide shelter to the public.
Hope these examples have helped you master the art of how to write a thesis statement. In the following section, we look at more tips to enhance your skills. Keep reading…
FIVE tips to guide you on how to write a thesis statement
When you start writing your essay, your thesis statement serves as your compass pointer. It determines the flow of ideas, the material include and the scope of your paper. However, once you are through with your essay, your thesis becomes important to your audience, guiding him or her on what you are writing.
To maintain this interchangeable role, here are tips for effective thesis writing:
- It should be substantial – Your thesis statement should provide an answer to the ‘so what’ question.
- It should be defendable – Draft a thesis you can easily support using evidence and convince your readers that you have a mastery of the subject. Avoid outlandish statements and sweeping generalizations.
- It should be precise – Narrow down your argument to something manageable. You do not want to address a topic or issue that can cover hundreds of pages within a few days or hours. Limit your coverage.
- It should be debatable – Your thesis should articulate your strong opinion on the issue but also allow room for counterarguments. Thus, as you collect your evidence, prepare for rebuttals.
- It should be relevant – The top secret of how to write a thesis statement is remaining relevant. Come up with a thesis that answers what the lecturer asked. Do not set your own question.
Quick hints on how to write a thesis statement
You want your ideas to flow logically, address every angle of your argument and help your audience follow your case with ease. Here are the final pieces of wisdom to apply as you work on your thesis statement:
Be clear in your opinion – Do not leave your audience with any doubts about your claim.
Deal with a single idea – Avoid stuffing your thesis with multiple ideas.
Lead a discussion – Your thesis should take the reader deep into the discussion of the issue.
Limit your scope – You cannot address everything, make it manageable
Be rational – Take a reasonable stance and present your evidence objectively.
Example #3: Sample thesis statement
The following essays have excellent thesis statements. Take a look at them…
Congratulations! You now have all the tricks of how to write a thesis statement. Just practice!
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