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How to Write Thesis Statements

04 Aug 2018

Thesis statement is the core idea of any paper or article. Usually, it contains one or two sentences that reflect the main argument. This is the central message an author aims to tell about to the readers. Further discussion will revolve around your thesis statement. It guides the author’s writing and keeps them focused on the main topic.

Some Writing Tips

  • Thesis statement is placed in the introductory part of a paper;
  • Don’t exceed 1-2 sentences limit to save focus;
  • Be clear and specific when formulating a thesis statement;
  • Avoid vagueness;
  • Indicate the main point of your paper, but don’t be primitive, avoid the following sentence structure: “My paper relates to...” or “The main argument of my paper is...”.

Be Specific

Try to be specific and clear when formulating your thesis statement. Most probably, you will refine, revise and revisit your thesis statement several times. This is a normal writing process. This way you can finally obtain a more specific argument.

Some Tips on Conjunction

  • Use a coordinating conjunction like “and”, “or”, “nor”, “but”, “so”, “for”, “yet”, etc. when necessary to connect two large statements;
  • A subordinating conjunction like “since”, “though”, “although”, etc. can help to create a connection between two or more sentences;
  • Don’t lose focus when trying to express your idea in two sentences instead of one;
  • First, focus on one statement and then proceed to develop your idea in the next sentence.

Avoid Generalisations

Try to get straight to the point because thesis statement is limited to a certain number of sentences. Don’t write about general things – skimming the surface isn’t what you’re expected to do when writing this type of paper. Your writing should be narrow and focused. In the example below you can see the difference between correct and incorrect theses:

  • A generalized thesis: “There are significant objections to computer games.”
  • A focused thesis: “Modern computer designers make computer games so realistic that young people spend more time in front of computers that makes them addicted to gaming.” Or “A lot of time spent in front of laptops when playing games degrades young people.”

Be Clear

The thesis statement should convey a clear idea. This will help your readers better understand your message.

Some Tips to Clear Writing

  • Avoid technical language and jargon. You can use technical terms if you’re writing a technical report. Jargon is appropriate only if your audience is familiar with it or your paper relates to this topic, but it’s better not to use it in academic writing.
  • Avoid vague and abstract words. The words “exciting”, “difficult”, “unusual” or “negative” should be on your list as they are too vague to express the meaning.
  • Abstract words, such as “culture”, “society” and “values” as they are too generalized. If you plan to use these words, you need to explain to them carefully. The meaning of the words and sentences may not be clear to the readers. So, don’t assume they already understand the meaning of these words. It is quite possible that they misunderstood the meaning or assigned another meaning to these words.

Below you will find two examples of clear and unclear theses statements to give you an idea of correct and incorrect writing.

Incorrect: “Despite teachers take a lot of efforts to evoke interest in art in elementary students, they are still not interested in learning this discipline at schools.” [It is not clear why elementary students are not interested to learn art at schools: maybe teachers don’t have enough materials to teach, students are lazy or the methods of teaching art are ineffective.]

Correct: “Despite teachers take a lot of efforts to evoke interest in art in elementary students, they are still not interested in learning this discipline at schools because teachers don’t have enough materials that can help to teach art at their disposal.”

Thesis Statement Should Convey Your Personal Position to Readers

A good thesis statement should reveal your personal position and attitude to the issue. It is more than stating the topic. In your thesis statement, you need to describe how you plan to analyze or evaluate the issue.

➣ Stating a fact or a simplistic statement won’t do a good job for you.

The examples of correct and incorrect theses statements are shown below.

Incorrect: In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between early childhood stress and further issues in adult age.

Correct: Early childhood stress makes an impact on further development of personality in adult age.

➣ Avoid universal judgments that simplify complex problems.

Incorrect: We must save the plants placed in The Red Book.

Correct: Because the plants from The Red Book are critically endangered, we should save them.

➣ Don’t forget about proper reasoning: merely writing “because” is not enough. Your argument should be supported by strong reasons.

Incorrect: Socialist system is the best form of governance for Cambodia.

Correct: If the government of Cambodia will nationalize and subsidize industrial objects, the national industry will be strengthened.

➣ Stating a proven fact isn’t enough for a thesis statement. You need to convey your ideas to the readers.

Incorrect: Obama’s social policies provoked several conflicts in a society.

Correct: Obamacare social program reveals hidden processes in American society which led to the increase in insurance premiums paid by Americans.

Make a tentative thesis and then revise it as you develop your paper. This will help formulate a clear and relevant thesis.

Develop an Original Thesis

Keep your audience interested: avoid generic arguments as they are boring for readers. You need to revise your thesis statement until it reflects your own ideas.

Some Tips to Make an Original Thesis

  • Always keep in mind the following question: “So what?” Most probably, you will be asked this question when trying to explain your ideas to your audience.
  • In your thesis statement explain why the readers will be interested to read your paper.

Incorrect: Using statistical figures is associated with certain advantages and disadvantages.

Correct: Manipulation of the statistical figure gives a researcher an opportunity to support or refute certain claims.

  • Avoid formula, use active verbs and find concrete subjects.

Incorrect: “Society is...” or “Media is...” [It isn’t clear what do you mean when you use this word.]

Correct: “People protest against...” or “television reporters/advertisers can help...” or “American insurers must decide...”

Incorrect: “government was asked” or “people were shown” [passive voice].

Correct: “to signify”, “to ensure”, “to discover” [active voice].

  • Try to use your own ideas and avoid quoting. An original and memorable thesis will make a good impression on your readers. By copying someone’s ideas you will lose credibility. You can grab the attention of your readers only by developing your own ideas.

A thesis statement reflects your ideas. You will have a perfect chance to express yourself by composing a well-crafted and relevant thesis statement.

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