What is a thesis statement, how long should it be, and where must you put it?
A thesis statement is a brief summary that describes the central premise of the paper. It helps to demonstrate your mastery of the subject and to create a context for your arguments. After reading your thesis, a reader should be able to understand your position and recognize your expertise in the particular field.
A thesis statement is usually only one or two sentences long, but it can sometimes be extended to a full paragraph. You won’t present any evidence in the thesis, as it is merely a description of intent at this stage.
A thesis statement is usually placed at the end of the first paragraph because this allows you to start the first argument easily. Alternatively, it can be written at the very beginning of the paper. You will repeat the statement at the end of the paper, where it will be more comprehensive and serve as a summary of your treatise.
Common Types of Thesis Statements
Not surprisingly, there are several types of thesis statements that are suitable for various kinds of academic papers. Here are some more common ones:
- The Analytical Thesis Statement. As you will see from the provided example, this sort of statement analyses the problem. It breaks down the issue into parts, components, and ideas, then evaluates it.
Example: The admission process to the National Football Academy reveals one challenge: whether to accept those students with healthy physiques or those with good cognitive skills.
- The Explanatory Thesis Statement. This kind of statement explains a particular kind of the problem.
Example: ESL teachers in Poland face three significant challenges in the classroom today: a lack of classroom utilities, an unhelpful administration, and large numbers of children in classes.
- The Argumentative Thesis Statement. In this type, the writer advances a particular argument on the issue, stating his or her opinion, claim, or interpretation. The writer’s aim is to convince the audience that substantial evidence backs the claim.
Example: The government should ban smoking in public places because every person has the right to breathe fresh air. The ban will also decrease the risk of certain types of cancer.
How to Check the Strength of Your Thesis
To begin with, your thesis must demonstrate your position on the issue. To do this, it must be clear and concise. No one appreciates a chaotic approach to a problem. People need to understand your opinion on the topic, together with the arguments that will support your claim. You should state your position “A” or “B”, then explain why you support one side of the issue.
Your position on the problem should challenge others to the discussion. If it does, the reader will consume the rest of your essay in an effort to find instances of where he or she can oppose your argument. Don’t be afraid to disagree with people, as academic argument leads to the development of knowledge.
Your thesis must also focus on the problem, exclusively. Including irrelevancies in the thesis will make it look unprofessional.
Writing Your Thesis Statement
Now, it’s the perfect time to answer the question “how to write a thesis statement?” Whether you are writing a simple essay or a research paper, the approach is pretty much the same.
First, investigate the topic thoroughly. You are intended to demonstrate your knowledge, so… show it! There shouldn’t be any questions on why you didn’t mention one or other aspect of your study. If you are discussing smoking in public, ignoring health issues will not look professional.
Second, create two to three drafts of the statement. The statement encapsulates the main thrust of your paper and will guide its content. It is useful to be able to approach your topic from more than one angle.
Third, write an outline of your paper, complete with a summary of your arguments, to see whether the construction will be suitable. Your statement should take the right spot in the outline – right before the argument is emerged or topic discussion is initiated. Remember that the overall success of your essay or term paper depends on the structure, so now is the time to get it right.
Fourth, write and rewrite! Write the paper, then check it against your thesis; rewrite the paper, then rewrite your thesis… Do this until you feel the harmony between the components.
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Questions to Ask Yourself When Creating a Thesis Statement
- Am I just rephrasing someone else’s ideas?
A great thesis illustrates your unique position, even if the majority of people disagree with you. Use well-researched evidence, ideas, and concepts to prove your point. This will surely benefit you, but don’t forget that the arguments must be true!
- What else?
Think about whether your thesis can be of at least some benefit to people. It is always a wonderful feeling to know that your thesis (and the paper itself!) can solve a problem. To be honest, that’s why students are often given “eco” topics: we need to find innovative ways to address global problems.
- Can I make it shorter?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask. If you can do it, there is nothing more to consider.
- Is my thesis statement a genuine summary of the paper?
Yes, that’s a summation, but written at the beginning of the project. In essence, these few sentences are what you wrote the entire paper for.
- Is it too basic?
It’s an academic piece of work, so you shouldn’t use simplified arguments. They need to be scientific and show your specialized understanding of the topic.
- Can I somehow rewrite it from a different angle?
You probably can, so draft three or four drafts and only choose the best. Writers all over the world do it, and it works!
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Examples of Good Thesis Statements:
- Global warming is one of the most crucial challenges today, and it can only be solved by the collaboration of all the countries in the world.
- J. Kerouac’s novel “On the Road” is a study of the introspections of young people in the US at the beginning of the 20th Century.
- Russian anti-pollution efforts should focus on big oil companies, as they are major contributors to global warming.