What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is sentence that provides a summary of an essay or a paper or declares the position of the author on a topic and is usually added at the end of the introduction section. While most thesis statements follow the format of an essay its main goal is to articulate the main point of the paper or essay. A thesis statement tells how the author intends to interpret the topic being discussed and what to expect from the rest of the essay or a paper.
For students, the assignment instructions do not categorically specify that you need to provide a thesis statement. This is because most instructors believe that it is a vital part of your writing that shouldn’t be omitted. For assignments such as argumentative essay, you will be required declare and support a position. The declaration of your claim or position should be clearly articulated in the thesis statement. For other types of assignments that require you to provide an analysis, comparison, or interpretation, it is important to develop a thesis statement upon which you will build your thoughts.
Reason for a thesis statement in an Essay
- The main objective of a thesis statement is to provide the reader with a map to your line of thought or arguments. It is from your thesis statement that the reader decides whether your essay or paper is worth reading.
- Another reason for creating a thesis statement is help you organize and develop your argument. A thesis statement condenses your ideas into a sentence or two. This helps you develop an outline for your essay and how you will organize your thoughts
Categories of a thesis statement
An informative thesis statement is used in informative essays where the author declares their intensions and provide a guide to their conclusions. It introduces the topic and gives the direction the author intends to take in tackling it.
Persuasive thesis is mostly used in other types of essay such as argumentative, compare/contrast, or narrative. It provides an opinion or a stance of the author and explains why the opinion is true.
Styles of a thesis statement
There are two styles you can adopt to writing a thesis statement: listing of all point or using one overarching point
Listing of all points
You can list all the points you wish to cover in the thesis statement. This style of thesis statement is mainly used in short essays of about 2-3 paragraphs.
One overarching point
Listing all the points of your essay in the thesis statement can make it too lengthy for the reader especially if the essay is longer. This is why it is reasonable to shrink your arguments into one point in one or two sentences.
How to create a thesis statement
A thesis statement is a summary of your ideas and thus should be created after collecting the right materials and developing an argument. Having determined the topic, collect appropriate evidence such as facts around the topic. This should be followed by development of arguments or claims around the topic. Consequently, you can develop a thesis that presents the main topic and supporting arguments.
- To develop a good thesis statement, start with a question or the topic to write about. In most academic assignments, the question is often already provided by the lecturer. Alternatively, you can generate your own question that addresses the main topic.
- Once you have a clear question, come up with an answer by performing initial research. In case of an argumentative essay your answer should declare a position or a side
- Third and final, develop the answer explaining the reason for picking the answer and how to convince the reader to that your answer is right.
Features of a strong thesis statement
- A strong thesis statement should take a stance and declare a claim. It should be specific and clear enough for the reader to understand the author’s intentions from the get go.
- Second, a strong thesis statement should justify the discussion. It should clearly define the point of the discussion. For example, it can contradict a widely accepted view to arouse the attention of the reader and curiosity to read more into your essay.
Instead of, “American policing system is racially biased” Say, “Many believe that racial disparities in the American policing system is as a result of individual bad apples, however, evidence point to the underlying structural and social constructs affecting the system.”
The first thesis statement is considered weak because it does not clarify the point of the statement to the reader. The second one is considered strong because it provides an argument that contradicts a general belief and arouses the readers interest in learning more about your arguments.
- Third, strong thesis statement should present one main point of the essay or paper. This is to avoid confusing the readers about the subject matter. A reader should be able to tell the main idea of the essay from the get go. It is recommended that you use words like since, because, however, so, and unless to bring clarity to the main point.
Instead of, “Covid-19 has affected many families, countries that had poor healthcare infrastructure were greatly impacted by the pandemic.” Say, “families in countries with poor healthcare infrastructure were greatly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic” The first one is considered a weak thesis statement because it present two topics: impact on covid-19 on families and on the countries with poor healthcare infrastructure which makes it difficult for the reader to identify the main topic. The second one is considered strong because it focuses on the impact of covid-19 on the families.
- Fourth, a strong thesis statement should provide a clear answer to the question on the topic. It should provide a concise response to the question defined earlier in the thesis formulation process.
- Fifth, a strong thesis statement should be specific to keep the paper manageable. It should narrow the subject of discussion into a simple and manageable topic.
Instead of saying “There are many reasons for high number of infectious diseases in poor countries.” Say, “One of the causes of high number of infectious diseases in poor countries is lack of effective healthcare infrastructures.” The first thesis statement is considered weak because it widens the scope of discussion making it vague and lengthy. The second one focuses on a specific cause of high number of infectious disease in poor countries thus making it precise and manageable.