About Thesis Statement

Academic writing is all about logic and clarity. Your teachers won't read between the lines, trying to understand what you mean. Rather, you should clearly articulate your main points right from the start, in a thesis statement, the last sentence (or two) in your introduction part.

What is a thesis statement?

Generally, a thesis statement is defined as a short statement summarizing the main claims and supported by examples and arguments in the text.

Extending this definition, a thesis statement is:

  • summary;
  • position;
  • plan;
  • logical center.

The next question to answer is what a good thesis statement is.

  • It passes the 'so what' test. In other words, nobody will read it and exclaim 'so what?' 'Why should I care?'
  • It clearly explains your stance. The idea of making it generic and uncertain to avoid mistakes can be rather attractive. However, it's better to avoid sitting on two chairs. Dare to write what you really think.
  • It prepares readers for what will follow. Your thesis statement should connect your entire paper into a whole. Make sure that all the following stuff supports your main idea. Feel free to delete all the irrelevant facts that occasionally cross your mind and get into your paper.

Summarize Your Main Points

If you occasionally change your conclusion, be sure to get back to your thesis statement and change it as well. Revisit this part whenever it is necessary.

DosDon'ts
  • Briefly state what your paper is about.
  • Revisit and rewrite your thesis statement if necessary.
  • Use complete sentences.
  • Don't include too much detail.
  • Don't stick to the first version of your thesis statement, no matter what.
  • Don't assume that a thesis statement is a mere announcement of the topic.

E.g. The role of self-motivation, which affects time management and personal productivity, in academic success should not be underestimated.

Present a Plan of Your Paper

DosDon'ts
  • Briefly mention your main arguments.
  • Combine arguments into a complete sentence.
  • Don't jump from one argument to another one.
  • Don't make vows (This paper will discuss, in this essay I am going to speak about...)

E.g. Raising bilingual kids is associated with a number of difficulties, including the additional pressure on parents, expenses on literature and training, the necessity to search for appropriate academic institutions, but the outcomes are worth all the efforts.

Logically Structure Your Paper

DosDon'ts
  • Use your entire essay to develop and defend your thesis statement.
  • Make your thesis statement the logical center of your essay.
  • Don't include any irrelevant information which has no connection with your thesis statement.
  • Don't include any information contradicting your main claim expressed in the thesis statement.

Use 4 Classical Thesis Statement Formulas

The easiest way to write a strong thesis statement is to use a thesis statement generator.

However, if you don't trust any software, here're the classical formulas explained and illustrated with really good examples of thesis statements:

  1. Position. This formula is applicable to argumentative writing. Though any thesis statement is based on the author's opinion, clearly expressing your position is especially important for argumentative writing.

E.g. The nature of smoking addition is more psychological than physical though the combination of the two factors can make dropping a harmful habit especially hard.

  1. Recommendation. Depending on your topic, your position can take a form of a recommendation. The cue words to use in this formula are should (be banned, prohibited, outlawed, encouraged, sponsored, developed), may, might etc.

E.g. Raising dangerous breeds of dogs without special permission and training should be banned.

  1. Description. Depending on the type and topic of your paper, taking a stance may seem inappropriate. Then descriptive formula is a better choice.

E.g. Optimists always focus on the positive side of life, wear a smile most of the time and look younger and more attractive, than pessimists.

  1. Relationship. Establishing a relationship between certain aspects is one of the most widely used academic writing patterns. The cue words that can come in handy are affect, effect, direct or indirect relationship, influence.

E.g. Despite the numerous factors influencing individual's learning outcomes, there is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent on studying and the student's score on tests.

Avoid 4 Typical Mistakes

If you really want to make your thesis statement shine, use the following checklist to avoid the most common mistakes. Read your thesis statement and ask yourself if it is not:

  • Too obvious.
  • E.g. Parents play an important role in an infant's life. (Compare: The parents' relationships and lifestyle play an important role in shaping an infant's personality.)
  • Ambiguous.
  • E.g. The goal of a literature review is to fill in the gaps in knowledge. (Compare: A good literature review should discuss the questions which were not covered in previous studies by other researchers.)
  • Too straightforward.
  • E.g. This paper will discuss the mating rituals of penguins. (Compare: The mating rituals of penguins illustrate the level of organization and development of this species.)
  • Uncertain.
  • E.g. Sometimes coffee is your friend, but sometimes it is a foe. (Compare: Excessive caffeine intake does more harm than good, having a negative impact on an individual's cardiovascular system and sleep patterns.)