How to Write a Thesis Statement


The content of your thesis is usually determined by the kind of paper that you’re writing.  Theses can take a number of different forms and structures, but the three main types of papers are:  expository, analytical and argumentative.

Expository papers are usually relatively straightforward, simply presenting the topic to the reader with explanations for clarity.  Typically, expository papers do not argue a point or analyze an idea, and is a mere explanation.

Analytical papers tend to go a step further; such papers evaluate issues and ideas, exploring the concepts and examining the ideas from various angles.

Finally, argumentative papers generally involve both of the previous styles, expository and analytical.  An argumentative paper can incorporate elements of exposition and explanation, before moving on to analyzing the ideas, and ultimately, drawing a conclusion.  Argumentative papers are used to express the opinions of the author, using evidence and citing from other sources.  Argumentative papers try to convince the reader of the accuracy of the author’s opinion.

When writing, remember to structure your paper logically and cohesively, supporting your statements with evidence and citations where possible.  Try to keep your thesis concise, as well; remember to eliminate unnecessary digressions and only discuss the subjects that are absolutely necessary.  Only include the ideas that help to develop your thesis statement, which is a one- or two-sentence summary of the overall idea of your paper.  This thesis statement should come at the end of the introduction to your paper.

In general, a thesis statement should highlight your ideas by condensing them into only one or two sentences.  A thesis statement will also help you to better organize and structure your overall paper, thus helping you to develop your thesis on the whole.  A thesis statement also serves to give your reader an idea of what to expect in the following pages.

Try to think of your thesis statement as the concise answer to the questions that are posed by your assignment.  If you are not assigned a general question to discuss, then your first step should be to brainstorm the questions that you would like your paper to address.  For example, if you are writing a literature thesis, then the following may be some questions that you might wish to consider:  What books do I want to discuss?  What are the characters like in these books?  Are they complex characters or simplistic ones?  How do they contribute to the plot and how does this affect the book as a whole?  The answers to such questions should be summarized in your thesis statement, and then your ideas and opinions on the subject would then be explored further in the body of your paper.

The key to a polished final thesis is rewriting.  So edit your thesis often, making sure that it is free of grammar and spelling errors.  Also, be sure that it conforms to your chosen citation style, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.  There are many free resources that can help you with your proofreading needs, such as free online dictionaries and your spell check and grammar check in your Word program.

Furthermore, the Purdue website also contains informative and useful instructions on effective ways to structure your paper according to the most recent editions of the citation style guides.  The Purdue website also gives advice as to how to write a thesis statement:

However, if you feel that you need further assistance when it comes to revising your thesis, beyond what these resources can offer, then it will probably be worth hiring a professional editor for your final proofreading needs!

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