Creating Thesis Statements
What is a Thesis?
- A thesis statement indicates what the rest of the paper is about as well as indicating what the writer is specifically going to argue.
- Remember, your reader is always searching for the main point of your paper. Your thesis will allow your reader to discover what your paper is all about.
- A thesis answers questions that your reader might ask: What is your paper about? What is your main point? What is interesting about your topic? Why should I (as the reader) be interested in your topic? etc.
How do I Write a Thesis?
- First, think about your topic. What is it about your topic that interests you? What kind of point do you want to make about your topic?
- Make some kind of argument about the topic—some statement that your reader could either agree or disagree with.
- Remember, your job as a writer is to convince your reader. A thesis is not just a statement of fact.
- Keep in mind that since your thesis is a condensed version of what your paper is about, you should make your thesis clear and specific. Your reader shouldn’t have to use detective work to discover and understand the main point of your paper.
- Additionally, your thesis should be focused, specific, and strong. Keep in mind the length of your paper and try to narrow the focus of your thesis appropriately.
Constructing a Thesis
- Start by identifying the subject of your paper:
Kate Chopin’s character Edna in The Awakening
- Next, make some comment about the subject:
Kate Chopin’s character Edna in The Awakening is a repressed woman
- Then, go one step further and state WHY you think the way you do. Consider questions like who, what, when, where, why, how, etc. This is a good way to synthesize, or connect, your subject and your commentary. Here’s an example of a final thesis:
Kate Chopin’s character Edna in The Awakening is a repressed woman because she, like many women in the nineteenth-century American South, felt she had very few options in life.
Frequently Asked Questions about Thesis
Q: Does a thesis always have to be just one sentence?
A: Absolutely not! A thesis can be made up of several sentences. In addition, it often takes several sentences just to lead up to your thesis statement. You have to set the scene before you leave your thesis “clue.”
Q: Does a thesis always have to be the last sentence of the introductory paragraph?
A: It doesn’t always have to be the last sentence, but a thesis is probably most effective when it is placed somewhere in the introductory paragraph. Your introductory paragraph should establish your paper’s main idea and clarify what is to be discussed in the body of your paper.
Q: Does a thesis always have to make an argument?
A: Not exactly. A thesis doesn’t always have to make a blatant argument (something which calls for readers to agree or disagree), but it does always have to make a point that you must support with evidence in order to get the reader to see and understand your “take” on the issue.