Essay Writing 101: What Is a Thesis Statement?

Essay Writing 101: What Is a Thesis Statement?

What is a thesis statement? It is a sentence, which captures your main idea in an essay. This is a declaration of your beliefs and what you intend to defend throughout the paper using well-researched evidence. It is one crates the difference between a well-thought paper and a mere compilation of facts.

In essence, a good thesis statement acts as a compass pointer of your as it determines the ideas to include in your paper. You will always remain on track from the introduction of your paper to the conclusion as long as you have a holistic thesis.

Despite the indispensable role a thesis statement plays, it is common to find students struggling to design their declarations when handling writing assignment. In this handout, you will find all you need to overcome any challenge in drafting a good thesis statement. Read on and discover the mistakes you always make.

What is a thesis statement and what are its key functions

To understand this resource better, it is important to note that a thesis statement is not merely a topic. It is the backbone of your essay. Thus, mastering the art of creating one is the first step towards your written assignment breakthrough.

To develop a good tentative thesis, take time to scan all the search materials and explore all the angles of your issue before you settle on a position to defend. You do not want to pick a weak stance that lacks support. Imagine what the backbone does to your body. Have as solid thesis statement as possible.

If what is a thesis statement has been troubling you, then have a look at the following refined definitions and descriptions.

What a thesis statement does in summary:

  • It is a claim- It is supportable with evidence
  • Provides answers to the assignment question
  • It unifies the paper by identifying the most significant points to address
  • It is a single sentence and does not discuss many topics
  • It foretells the content, direction and the order of your paper
  • It mostly appears in the first paragraph of an essay
  • In rare cases, a thesis statement is implied

With this description, let us look at an example and see how a thesis statement looks like:

Sample #1 Thesis statement

In the essay, Impact of Legalization of Gay Marriage, the writer captures the essay as the last sentence. It reads:

“Debate on legalizing gay marriages elicits divergent opinions in the world. Be it in America, where same-sex is allowed or in conservative Africa, opponents and proponents of same-sex marriages hold very strong views. Antagonists opine that allowing gay marriages will dent the fabrics of our society while advocates believe that the move may not have any effect after all. {Thesis}However, human relationships will widely take a turn if the whole word accepts gay marriages.”

From this introduction, the writer sets the stage for a debate on whether to legalize gay marriages or not. However, in the last sentence, i.e. thesis statement, the writer makes it clear to the reader that legalizing gay marriages will dent human relationships.

What makes your thesis statement strong?

What is a thesis statement can be a mind-blowing question for students. This is because everyone can write a thesis statement but not everyone can write a strong thesis. What recipe do you need to spice your thesis and give it that oomph? This section offers all the answers:

Characteristics of a strong thesis:

A strong thesis gives direction to your paper– A good thesis gives bearing to your paper. It will also help you determine the scope of your research as you fluff from relevant information.

Besides giving you direction, the reader also needs direction while going through your essay. This direction comes from the thesis statement.

A strong thesis requires evidence. As mentioned in the introduction, a thesis statement is not a mere statement of fact. Be ready to support your claim with undisputable and well-researched details. This evidence also helps to hold the readers’ interest to read up to the end.

A strong thesis is specific. It focuses on single point without lumping all the ideas in a sentence. For example, instead of talking about music, you may consider American hip-hop in the 21st century. This is more specific because it narrows down to a genre and the period, which determines the scope.

It refutes counterarguments. A strong thesis anticipates opposing views and provides concrete evidence to negate such opinions.

It should pass the ‘so what’ test. As you formulate your thesis statement, ask yourself; who cares? What is the significance of your research? Does it matter? These questions should tell you if you are on track or off the tangent.

With these determinants of a strong argument, what is a thesis statement should no longer be a problem. Follow every checkpoint, and adjust your statements where necessary.

Let us look at another example of a thesis statement from a well-introductory paragraph.

In the introduction paragraph of Criminology, the writer says:

“Several theories exist, explaining deviant behavior in the society. They include but not limited to conflict theory, feminist theory, socialization theory, functional, labeling and control theory. Conflict theory is about how those in power make laws whose violation is criminal as a way of protecting their interests. On the other hand, labeling arises from how the society views some behavior as deviant. {Thesis}Although all these theories offer comprehensive explanations of how crime and deviant behavior arise, conflict theory offers an accurate rationalization.”

From this example, the author declares the argument by observing that conflict theory offers a better justification of criminal behavior as compared to other theories.

What is a thesis statement and how do you develop an appealing one…

As you work on your paper, do not be carried away by your evidence and forget to fine-tune a good thesis, that is appealing to the reader and wets his or her appetite. In this section, we shift to tips of knitting a thesis statement.

Tips for writing thesis statements

They are simple, systematic and easy to understand. In fact, with these hints, what is a thesis statement should no longer be a problem.

Know your topic– It would be ridiculous to start working on your thesis statement when you do not have a clue of your topic. Besides having a topic, make sure you know something about the subject matter.

Complex topics present unprecedented challenges when creating a thesis. It is more difficult to write to generate your thesis when you do not know the topic than drafting the paper.

Limit your paper. Whether it is your favorite topic or a complex one, every written assignment has boundaries. The scope of your paper should depend on:

The length of the paper-The longer the paper and wider the scope and vice versa

How much you know-It makes no sense to write broadly on a topic you have limited knowledge and information.

Available time-The deadline of your paper largely determines how wide you get with your research work. Be realistic to avoid last minute rush!

Brainstorming This is meditating on your topic of research and noting everything that pops in mind. At the end of the session, you will be shocked by how new ideas will be emerging. Organize these ideas thematically and use them to develop your thesis statement.

What a thesis statement is NOT

In the previous sections of this guide, we have looked at tips to help you come up with a good thesis statement. In this segment, you will discover inexcusable mistakes to avoid as you figure out what is a thesis statement.

A thesis statement is not an announcement. Avoid statements like “I am going to investigate ABC”

Avoid beginning your thesis statement with opinion phrases like I think, I feel, I believe. These phrases imply doubt. Your readers and even your lecturer will not consider your content to be factual when you express indecisiveness in thesis statement. Be confident and present the information an authority on the matter.

A thesis statement is not a statement of fact. If you are a veteran writer, you will agree that it is almost impossible to discuss a statement of fact. The challenge arises from the fact that you cannot dispute a fact. Therefore, no discussion!

A thesis statement is not a question. A question is not a statement and does not bring out your position on the topic of discussion.

A thesis statement is not a quote. A quote expresses another person’s position, not yours. Get yours!

You now have all you need to understand what is a thesis statement. Take a look at these sample essays and see if you can identify their theses.

Sample #3

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