Better Thesis Statements
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is the central claim that the author promises to defend in his or her paper.
Why do I need a thesis statement?
A thesis statement tells the reader where the paper is headed and why s/he should bother going there. It serves to engage the reader’s interest and motivate her or him to read on. From the writer’s perspective, a thesis statement brings her central claim into focus so that it becomes obvious how to build the rest of the paper. A thesis statement, if it is a good one, helps the writer decide what arguments and evidence are necessary to make her point. In a sense, the thesis statement functions as the conscience of a paper; it helps the writer recognize what belongs in the paper and what does not, depending upon the specific promise it makes to the reader.
How do I come up with a thesis statement?
All formal papers and essays have a point. You can have some ideas on a topic, or about an issue, but until you distill what you have drawn a conclusion from your research and reflection and captured in it your thesis statement, your formal writing will lack direction and focus. To arrive at a working thesis statement, try to state out loud or write in a single sentence the most important conclusion you have come to from your research. Here are some examples of simple claims you could make after reading and reflecting in preparation for writing your paper:
- Politicians should use language responsibly if they wish to govern after the campaign.
- The face plays an important role in human communication.
- Migrating Atlantic seabirds need more protection along their migration paths.
Sentences like these, each of which makes a claim, are adequate as “working thesis statements”. As you write, research, arrange, and think through other supporting ideas in your paper, you should be moved to refine your working thesis statement to 1) narrow it, 2) make it more consequential or controversial, or 3) put it in a specific context. With more research and thought, we might revise A.-C. above as follows:
- The speed, reach, and permanence of mass media today can threaten a candidate’s ability to govern once elected.
- Although poets have always noted the role of the face in human communication, facial expression has lately become the subject of intense scientific scrutiny, with the potential for profound social consequences.
- Offshore wind farms, chemical pollution from industrialized livestock facilities, new coastal housing developments pose a triple threat to millions of migrating seabirds who have made their way along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. for millennia.
These revised thesis statements make specific promises to the reader. Can you predict what kinds of evidence or support a writer might include in his or her essay based on one of these thesis statements?
A good thesis statement gives you room to develop your ideas as you wish, but within the boundaries imposed by your knowledge, time, and page limits. We use the word “narrow” to describe a good thesis statement but we don’t mean “narrow-minded” or “stingy”. Instead, a narrow thesis statement is focused and fits the size and scope of your paper. When everything in your paper is selected to support or explore your thesis statement, then you are enjoying the benefits of a good thesis statement.
Here is a worksheet to help you come up with and refine a good thesis statement.
Thesis Statement Worksheet
What is your topic (the area of study for this paper)?
What background information does the reader need to know before you state your thesis?
What is your working thesis statement?
Test your thesis statement. Does your thesis statement:
- Make a claim that a reader can agree or disagree with?
- Reflect knowledge of the source material?
- Pick out an idea that can be defended in the space allowed?
- Limit the kinds of evidence you can use to defend it?
What evidence, examples, or arguments will you use to support the working thesis?
Now that you have thought ahead about your evidence, can you refine your thesis statement to focus on a particular problem and context? (This is where the originality of your claim comes in.)
Strong and Weak Thesis Statements Illustrated
Shakespeare was the world’s greatest playwright.
trite, not defensible
The last scene in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” showcases Shakespeare’s ability to manipulate subtle linguistic differences among his characters for comic effect.
intriguing, has an edge
This essay will show that the North American Free Trade agreement was a disaster.
Neither neo-protectionism nor post-industrial theory explains the downswing of the Canadian furniture industry in 1988-1994. Data on productivity and profits, however, can be closely correlated with provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement that took effect in the same period.
gives context, reflects research, shows intent
In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal. This paper will describe the history of euthanasia and give case studies.
doesn’t reveal a central claim or focus
Recent cases show that Dutch law on euthanasia has encountered difficulty with issues involving technological interventions and unconscious patients.
focused, promisesfacts and analysis
The occurrence of measles in medical settings is higher than nosocomial infections, rubella, pertussis, influenza, and nosocomial hepatitis B according to a survey of hospital records.
distracting detail, hard to follow, no context
In recent years, transmission of measles in hospitals has been described only rarely. New data suggest that the spread of measles in hospitals is more frequent than previously recognized.
shows purpose andcontext, promises new information of consequence
Myths about thesis statements
- A thesis statement is the topic of a paper or what the paper is ‘about.’
If a reader knows that your paper is about migrating birds, she still doesn’t know what your point is. Only a thesis statement can tell the reader that. A topic merely names the field or subject area of your paper; it doesn’t propose anything. Topics are identified in other sentences that give background information that usually lead up to the thesis statement. Compare the topic sentence below with the thesis statement that follows it:
Topic sentence: There are few people totally unfamiliar with bingo—that game of chance in which numbers, called at random, are plotted on cards to form patterns and to win prizes.
Thesis statement: In order to understand bingo as a cultural phenomenon it should be studied not as a cultural ‘thing’ but as behavior compatible with a patterned way of life.
- Some writers put their thesis statement at the end of their paper.
This myth confuses the concluding section of a paper with the intellectual conclusion a writer must reach in order to begin writing a paper in earnest. Since a good thesis statement is the result of research, reflection, and, sometimes, a draft or two of the entire paper, it might seem that it ought to come at the end of one’s essay. But, in academic writing, what is the outcome of thinking and writing for the writer is best presented as the starting point for the reader. Many writers restate their thesis statement/hypothesis in the concluding section of their papers but few choose to delay revealing their central claim until after they have argued in favor of it
- There are strict rules about the form of a thesis statement.
You can learn to write better thesis statements by practicing with specific forms, e.g. one where a premise (“If term limits were adopted in today…”) precedes a conclusion (“we would lose valuable legislative experience.”). Yet if you grasp the function of a thesis statement, many forms are possible. It may take the form of a supported assertion as in “I agree with the author because…” or it can direct the reader’s attention to a scientific or philosophical issue as in “Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences has applications in the kindergarten classroom for..” or “The relationship between body and soul remains a central issue in…” Short pithy thesis statements are also possible as in “Television kills”—a claim, to be sure, but one which needs elaboration in nearby sentences to correctly direct the reader’s focus.
- A thesis statement is just your opinion.
While a thesis statement does present the reader with a claim, it should go well beyond a simple assertion that anyone can make without detailed information about the topic. Statements such as People are too lazy to solve the environmental crisis we face or Today’s educators need to know how to deal with students who don’t speak English don’t convey that the writer has researched his topic and come away with something new or non-obvious to say. A thesis statement offers an informed opinion that the writer is prepared to support with facts, arguments, analysis, and research-based evidence. It might be helpful to remember that a thesis statement takes a ‘point of view’ which the paper develops so that the reader can decide for himself on the issue.
Resources for Learning
“I really appreciate receiving such a perfect essay. I will be coming back for more! Thank you!”
You completed my research paper very fast. I used your paper as the basis of my further research project. I am very thankful for your support and everything you have done for me!
I spent a couple of weeks on the research proposal and did not manage to please professor’s demands, who provided a negative feedback on every submitted draft. I accidentally came across your online writing company and asked your writer to complete a part of the proposal. I submitted it and my professor really appreciated it.
It is the first time I am writing my feedback on your service. I am very lucky to have your support. I forgot about a research paper and ordered it at night. You still found the writer, who quickly did all the work. Thank you!
“I thought I was taking a risk ordering a paper from your writing company. But it all turned out very nicely, thank you.”
My best wishes to your writers! I am so thankful that I do not know even how to express my emotions. My teacher always gave me very low grades with comments that I am overlooking some instructions. Your writer #830 sent me a research paper and I got an A! I am more than pleased with your online services!
“You gave me a writer who is very knowledgeable in my discipline so I’m happy my paper was assigned to him. Your support staff is very efficient to. My grateful thanks to all!”
I am writing this review after I have made the 3rd order on your website. All papers were delivered on time. I did not have any recommendations or suggestions how to improve the paper because the content was great. Thank you so much.
I was almost expelled from my college because I could not attend classes and work on a pack of home assignments at the same time. Whenever I began writing one paper, I thought about other projects and could not focus on any. I was very happy to find your company, which is a real savior.
This year was very difficult for me because I had to work part-time and take care of my sister. I bought almost every home assignment from your company and every time, you delivered high quality papers. As a result, I am among the best students in the class, and do not waste my time on boring writing. Thanks!
“I’m thankful for the support you gave me. Your service is the best!”
Having used a couple of writing services, I finally found your company. My classmate told that he orders most of home assignments at Essaywritingstore.com. I totally changed my attitude towards writing companies when you sent me my coursework. Your writer #7539 helped me a lot! I wish I had found your service long time ago!
“I’m happy you followed my instructions so closely. I appreciate that a lot.”
My paper was so well written that I had nothing to add. I simply submitted the essay and got an A. Thanks for your work!
I did not think that you can complete an order within a few hours. You sent me the paper exactly on time, without any delays, though I chose a very sophisticated and boring topic. You saved my life! I will definitely use your writing services in the future. I have read many reviews of your services and they indeed show how professionally you work.
I asked my writer to send a draft first. I got it and did not even ask to revise anything. In cases when I have little time or simply do not have any chance to submit a paper that follows teacher’s instructions, I always ask your writers to help and they have never let me down.
I was shocked to see my coursework! Your writer sent me a masterpiece. I cannot provide any other comments apart from appreciation of your work. Cooperation with you is remarkable and is definitely worth it!
When you sent me the paper, I thought that some instructions were overlooked. I asked my writer to correct it and got a paper that fully met my demands. Sincerely.
I always try to do all the homework on my own. However, I can't succeed in studying and always get very poor grades and negative feedback. I contacted you with a question if you could write an essay for me. You have good prices, I am always pleased with the quality and content of your papers.
I can write papers myself, but formatting and grammar mistakes make me nervous. I sent my papers to you and your editors took care of those problems with ease.
I used to purchase papers from different online writing services, but I didn't receive what I paid for. Every time, I got lame excuses that they would send me the paper a bit later or they were sorry for the plagiarized content. Then I decided to look further and found your writing service. Your writer managed to complete the paper timely. I really appreciated it.
I got my essay written in 6 hours! How is that possible? I used to spend days on one essay. My writer was very fast, but I did not manage to find any mistakes in the paper. Thanks and thanks!
I had a surgery and could not study for a long time. I missed many tests, exams, quizzes, and did not submit writing assignments on time. I thought I would fail every class, but then I found your website. I was wondering if you specialize in all subjects and your support team assured me that every single piece of writing can be completed by writers.
“I never expected to get such a good paper. I haven’t use a writing service like yours before, but you are good. Thanks.”
Your writers always send me papers on time. I have never achieved such good grades in my classes!
I did not think that online writing services actually help. I purchased a book review and your writer made my professor put an A. I was deeply impressed. I am so proud of you! You definitely represent the best writing service because your writers pay attention to the quality of writing. Wonderful service!
“I’m very grateful you finished my paper on time. Your writers are professional and gave me much attention.”
I thought that every company on the Internet is a scam, until I found Essaywritingstore.com. I was very desperate since I had failed a couple of papers before. I asked your writers to be very attentive to instructions and they exceeded all my expectations. I was surprised and astonished to see the paper, where every sentence was breathtaking.
“Please let me have this writer every time I need a paper written.”
I had to write an admission essay to get a grant in one of the local colleges. I thought it was impossible because my writing skills are very poor. I placed an order and got a perfect essay! Thanks!
“I received the first part of the paper and it’s excellent. Can’t wait for the rest!”
I did not know if your company is real until I called your support team. Your company member explained what kind of services you offer and suggested placing the order. I asked to work on a dissertation section and pay attention to my remarks. Surprisingly, your writer managed to copy my writing style! Thanks a lot!
“I have another assignment coming up and would like the same writer again. I love his work.”
My friend told me a secret. He orders all papers on your website and recommended to do the same for me. I was very shy and afraid that my teacher would find it out. Eventually, I decided to ask your writer complete a lab report and got superb results! It is exactly what I needed.
I purchased a couple of essays from two writing companies, who cheated and sent my fully plagiarized papers. They definitely do not offer “custom” writing. I found your company and read a couple of reviews. I placed a “trial” order to see if you would send me the paper at all. I was shocked to see such a well structured and well written paper!
I could not write my paper because the topic was too complex. I did not even manage to find suitable materials. Your writer agreed to help and sent me a nice paper with impressive ideas. Thanks!
Many thanks to your wonderful writers and supportive online representatives! You have helped me a lot! My assignments are always complex, but your writers always manage to meet my expectations. Your company helped me to pass many courses successfully and improve my reputation.
I used to spend days and weeks in the library, searching for appropriate sources for my essays and research papers. Being very tired, I decided to order an essay at Essaywritingstore.com and see what you offer. To my surprise, you sent me an excellent paper with great ideas. Now I will definitely order more papers from you.
I used to buy papers from other companies and every time I was more and more disappointed. Eventually, I found your company that made me happy! Even if I give a very short deadline, your writers still manage to send me the paper with interesting content. Thank you for support.
You helped me restore my reputation after I had failed some papers. Other students deserve to know that Essaywritingstore.com always does its best to help students succeed. I will surely place more orders. Your writing service is all that I needed in my student life.
I was very shy to order any papers online and thought that every student should diligently do homework. But when I found out that most of my classmates get A grades only because they purchase papers online, I also decided to do it. It was the first time I got an A+!
I came across too many writing services and did not know which one to choose. I read some reviews, where students recommended your online writing service. I did not know if you can be trusted, but I decided to give you a try. As a result, I got a well-written paper.
I forgot to leave my feedback the first time I placed the order. Now I am writing it to tell other students how helpful your writing services are. You are definitely the best writing company on the web because you have never let me down.
I found out that some of my classmates purchase papers from you and decided to give you a try. At that time, I had to work on a research essay. I registered on your website and placed an order. In a day, I got a notification that my paper was ready. You helped me pass this class! I am very happy to cooperate with professionals!
“I liked your style and clinical approach – thank you very much.”
I thought that I would never manage to complete my essay on time. There were only a couple of hours left and your company agreed to help. I only sent instructions and your writer did everything for me. I did not face late submission and got a good grade. Thanks!
I am very thankful to your writers who are very professional and punctual. They have never missed my deadline. I have dealt with a couple of writers and did not face any essays. You are seriously the best writing service!
I have already recommended your services to my close friend, who also cannot compose all essays simultaneously. Our teachers are very strict and they do not tolerate any instances of late submission. Luckily, I found your company and your experienced writers, who solved all my problems in academic writing! Excellent work!
I guess other students need to know that your company is very professional and efficient in terms of academic writing services. Your writers are definitely well-versed and skillful. I sent some assignments to your writers and have always received what I wanted.
I like to compose essays, but sometimes my part-time job makes me devastated and exhausted that I do not have time to sleep. My friend told me that students can purchase papers online. I was a bit afraid to do it, but your company sent me the best paper! Will surely order more papers because your prices are really cheap!
“Hi there, many thanks for the superb effort you put into my paper. Really appreciate it!”
I was very afraid to use your company services because it was my first experience. I am very bad in writing and always suffer from failing grades. Please tell to my writer #5720 that she is the best! I will definitely ask to complete more orders for me. Your company is definitely worth considering for other students.
I was constantly writing messages to my writer because I was very nervous about my research project. However, I got a perfect paper in the end. It is just what I wanted. Thanks!
“There’s no doubt your writers are professional people. Thanks for the excellent work!”
I did not know how to start writing my thesis proposal. Your writers carried out research and surprised my professor with incredible ideas. Good job.
“Was glad of the opportunity for revisions and that the writer took account of my ideas. Thanks a lot.”
Essaywritingstore.com sent me the paper of surprisingly high quality exactly the same date I mentioned in the order. My philosophy essay was great! Thanks!
I typed “writing company” and found too many results. I did not know which company can be trusted and decided to read students’ comments. Your company was among the most discussed in those reviews. Your competent and diligent writers sent me the paper on time. Supreme assistance and fair prices!
“Please let my writer know I think he’s a genius.”
I always thought that my teachers treat me unfairly because I spent much time on writing and got B or C for every assignment. I got tired and thought that hiring an online writer is a good solution. Thank you guys for amazing work done! Now I always get high grades.
I was devastated when my teacher told me that a research paper takes 60% of the final grade. Failing the paper means failing the whole course. I was depressed because my previous assignments were graded rather lowly. Your company helped me solve the issue. Thank you so much for that! I handed in a good research paper and got a favorable feedback!
I completely forgot about an essay in management. Our teacher is very strict and does not allow late submissions. I thought I would fail the task. But I found your website and purchased the paper. Believe it or not, your writer coped with my essay in 3 hours only! How is it possible? I do not know, but I got an A+!
For me, academic writing is the biggest obstacle on my way. I can pass all kinds of tests and exams. However, writing essays and other assignments is very time-consuming and daunting. I found a company that offers affordable prices for academic papers. Thank you for assisting me with all my home assignments. Your writers are genius!