Thesis Statement Help

How to Write a Thesis Statement

What is a Thesis Statement?

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned
How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?”

A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”

OR

A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

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How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic.
Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic.
Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. 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. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

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.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support.
You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

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How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because, since, so, although, unless, and however.

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

Produced by Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Before reading a research paper, people usually look at its thesis statement. It helps them to understand if your paper is useful for them. This small sentence can concentrate all the important information about your study: the main idea and the questions that are answered on the pages of your research paper.

You should not underrate the significance of a thesis statement for research paper. People would not read the whole document to understand its main ideas or purpose, and your professor is not an exception – he will take a look at the intro of your research paper and decide whether it is worth to continue reading right away. Thus, it is fair to say that a thesis statement is a key to your project’s success!

How to Write a Thesis for a Research Paper?

To get a general understanding of what it is and how it should look like, search for examples of such statements online – there are lots of samples available for reading and downloading so you can find many suitable examples. Note that many of them may be not quite good. Also, note that such samples may not match the type of your task.

If you understand what the main goals of your research are, what you want to prove and explain by it, and why you do it, it will be easy to write a research paper thesis statement – just write down the idea of your study and make your thesis statement look like a catchy and informative:

This sentence should also show your position. Let your readers know what your position regarding the subject is, what you think is true, and what you are going to prove, especially if your topic and ideas are very debatable.

Many tutors don’t recommend using questions as statements. Even if the whole research paper is full of answers to specific questions. The list is also not a good form for a thesis statement – it is better to use a simple small sentence that describes the general idea and purpose of your investigation.

You can use “A is true because of B” and other standard formulas. Just write down the first version of your thesis statement and revise it as many times as you need through the course of working on your project. If you start writing your research paper from a thesis statement, you will have to edit it a lot. This will only take more of your time! That is why many write this part and the whole introduction when they have all the other sections; otherwise, if you look at the introduction after writing the main section, you will see that it requires a revision.

The sentence should be focused. Do not put the information that is not relevant or significant. Try to make it brief but specific, make it clear to help readers understand what your research is about and what your position is.

Make it attention-grabbing! If you strive to engage your readers, a good topic and attention-catching thesis can help you with it because if they are debatable and relevant, it will make your readers want to read further to find out more!

Finding an Example

Looking where to find thesis statement examples for research papers? The easiest way is to look for them on the Internet. You can search for research papers examples prepared for similar areas of science, but even if their topics are not similar to yours, you still use them to learn how to write a thesis statement for a research paper.

However, there is one thing to remember. You should understand that these are only examples and you should not simply copy them, it is better to develop a unique piece of writing and use examples only to find out how to write them. Otherwise, it is plagiarism and it can be easily checked.

Need Any Writing Help?

Creating a good thesis is vital because in many cases it sets the tone for the rest of the paper and thus, becomes a decisive point of your project’s success. Where to look for help when writing a research thesis statement becomes difficult for various reasons? Students can use the help of their advisors and teachers. Your tutors can give you a valuable advice, help to write a good outline, clarify the requirements, check your text for mistakes, and provide you with any other help if you need, but they wouldn’t help you too many times, especially if you can find the needed information yourself.

Other students can also help you with writing. However, most of them would not want to waste their time on your assignments as they already have tons of tasks to complete; besides, many other students are not too good at writing research papers so their tips wouldn’t bring much help for you or can even harm.

The fast and reliable way to get a helping hand when working on a thesis statement is turning to essay writing services. Luckily, you have no reasons to look further! Our research paper writing service works with almost all types of academic tasks. With the support of our professional writers, it will be easier to get a good paper on time and don’t waste too much time on it, especially taking into account that you get all of the benefits at a cheap price!

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