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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
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This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
- An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
- An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
- An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Thesis Statement Examples
Example of an analytical thesis statement:
The paper that follows should:
- Explain the analysis of the college admission process
- Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
- Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement:
- Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
Developing a Thesis Statement
Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.
Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement . . .
- Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
- Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
- Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
- Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
- Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.
Identify a topic
Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.
Consider what your assignment asks you to do
Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.
Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.
Sample assignment 1
Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.
Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis
This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).
Sample assignment 2
Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.
The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.
This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).
Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information
Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.
Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II
After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.
As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.
For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.
Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
Derive a main point from topic
Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.
Look for patterns in your evidence
Compose a purpose statement.
Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.
- Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
- Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis
Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.
This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
- The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
- The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.
At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.
This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.
Derive purpose statement from topic
To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.
For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.
Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:
- This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
- I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.
At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
Compose a draft thesis statement
If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.
Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.
Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.
Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.
If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.
Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?
Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”
Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.
Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.
Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.
- nature = peaceful
- war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
- need for time and space to mourn the dead
- war is inescapable (competes with 3?)
Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).
- although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
- _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
- phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.
What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement
Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.
As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.
You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.
Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.
Refine and polish the thesis statement
To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.
- Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
- Question each part of your draft thesis
- Clarify vague phrases and assertions
- Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis
Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.
Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.
- Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.
This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.
Complete the final thesis statement
The bottom line.
As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:
- Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
- As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
- Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
- Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.
In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.
Writing Process and Structure
This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.
Getting Started with Your Paper
Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses
Generating Ideas for
Creating an Argument
Thesis vs. Purpose Statements
Architecture of Arguments
Working with Sources
Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources
Using Literary Quotations
Citing Sources in Your Paper
Drafting Your Paper
Generating Ideas for Your Paper
Developing Strategic Transitions
Revising Your Paper
Revising an Argumentative Paper
Revision Strategies for Longer Projects
Finishing Your Paper
Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist
How to Proofread your Paper
Collaborative and Group Writing
Reference management. Clean and simple.
How long are thesis statements? [with examples]
If you find yourself in the process of writing a thesis statement but you don't know how long it should be, you've come to right place. In the next paragraphs you will learn about the most efficient way to write a thesis statement and how long it should be.
A thesis statement is a concise description of your work’s aim.
- What is the proper length of a thesis statement?
The short answer is: one or two sentences. The more i n-depth answer: as your writing evolves, and as you write longer papers, your thesis statement will typically be at least two, and often more, sentences. The thesis of a scholarly article may have three or four long sentences.
The point is to write a well-formed statement that clearly sets out the argument and aim of your research. A one sentence thesis is fine for shorter papers, but make sure it's a full, concrete statement. Longer thesis statements should follow the same rule; be sure that your statement includes essential information and resist too much exposition.
Here are some basic rules for thesis statement lengths based on the number of pages:
- 5 pages : 1 sentence
- 5-8 pages : 1 or 2 sentences
- 8-13 pages : 2 or 3 sentences
- 13-23 pages : 3 or 4 sentences
- Over 23 pages : a few sentences or a paragraph
- Examples of thesis statements
Joe Haley, a former writing instructor at Johns Hopkins University exemplified in this forum post the different sizes a thesis statement can take. For a paper on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, someone could come up with these two theses:
In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice , gossip is an important but morally ambiguous tool for shaping characters' opinions of each other.
As the aforementioned critics have noted, the prevalence of gossip in Jane Austen's oeuvre does indeed reflect the growing prominence of an explicitly-delineated private sphere in nineteenth-century British society. However, in contrast with these critics' general conclusions about Austen and class, which tend to identify her authorial voice directly with the bourgeois mores shaping her appropriation of the bildungsroman, the ambiguity of this communicative mode in Pride and Prejudice suggests that when writing at the height of her authorial powers, at least, Austen is capable of skepticism and even self-critique. For what is the narrator of her most celebrated novel if not its arch-gossip par excellence ?
Both statements are equally sound, but the second example clearly belongs in a longer paper. In the end, the length of your thesis statement will depend on the scope of your work.
- Frequently Asked Questions about the length of thesis statements
There is no exact word count for a thesis statement, since the length depends on your level of knowledge and expertise. A two sentence thesis statement would be between 20-50 words.
The length of the work will determine how long your thesis statement is. A concise thesis is typically between 20-50 words. A paragraph is also acceptable for a thesis statement; however, anything over one paragraph is probably too long.
Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how long they can be.
As a high school student, you are not expected to have an elaborate thesis statement. A couple of clear sentences indicating the aim of your essay will be more than enough.
Here is a YouTube tutorial that will help you write a thesis statement: How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements by Ariel Bisset.
- Related Articles
What this handout is about.
This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.
Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement:
- tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
- is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
- directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
- makes a claim that others might dispute.
- is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.
If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)
How do I create a thesis?
A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.
Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .
How do I know if my thesis is strong?
If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :
- Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
- Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:
Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.
You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.
- Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?
After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:
Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.
This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.
Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:
Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.
You begin to analyze your thesis:
- Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.
Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
- Do I answer the question? Yes!
- Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
- Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
- Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
- Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”
After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:
Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.
This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.
Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.
Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.
Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.
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How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement
A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.
Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.
What is a “thesis statement” anyway.
- 2 categories of thesis statements: informative and persuasive
- 2 styles of thesis statements
- Formula for a strong argumentative thesis
- The qualities of a solid thesis statement (video)
You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.
Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument . In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.
2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive
Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.
For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.
To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).
Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.
In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.
2 Styles of Thesis Statements
Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.
The first style uses a list of two or more points . This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.
In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.
In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.
Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.
In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.
Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis
One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:
___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.
Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:
___________________ is true because of _____________________.
Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.
The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement
When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.
Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.
Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.
Example of weak thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.
Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.
Example of a stronger thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.
This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.
Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.
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Thesis statements are often one sentence, however, in some cases (e.g. a very in-depth or detailed paper) it may be appropriate to include a longer thesis statement.
You should ask your professor for their advice if you think you need to use a thesis statement that is longer than one sentence.
Remember that depending on the type of paper you are writing, thesis statements should either be a description of the subject of your paper (i.e. an "explanatory" thesis) or should be an argument or claim (i.e. an "argumentative" thesis). Keep thesis statements concise, without extra words or extraneous information; if you are having trouble keeping your thesis statement to once sentence, consider whether your thesis is specific enough, directly supports your paper, and accurately describes or argues the purpose or claim in your paper.
This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way length of a thesis statement in your class assignments and projects.
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How Long Should a Thesis Statement Be?
Students often ask how long should a thesis statement be when given a paper to write. This article addresses frequently asked questions concerning thesis statements and other relevant issues. We will answer several questions, including how many words in a thesis and how long should a thesis statement be.
How Long is a Thesis Statement, and Where Should it Be?
How long can a thesis statement be and not be, how long should a thesis statement be for a high school student, how many sentences are in a thesis statement, how long should a thesis paper be, how long is a thesis supposed to be for high school essay, how long are thesis statements for college essays, what is the length of a typical thesis statement for professional research papers, how long does a thesis paper have to be.
How long is a thesis paper that determines many things and has brought about several questions like how many words should a thesis statement be? It should not be too long, thirty to forty words at the most. As a rule, your thesis statement should reflect your knowledge and the scope of the essay you are writing. Whether you are writing an analytical research paper or an essay, the thesis statement should be in the introduction part. Your thesis should be at the beginning of the paper, preferably in the first paragraph.
A too-short thesis statement won’t give the sufficient information an audience needs, while one too long will be offering too much. This is something to keep in mind when researching; how long should a thesis statement be? Regardless of how long your essay or research paper is, your thesis statement should explain your position in short sentences. That means it should be convincing enough to get your audience interested in your point of view. Your thesis statement should not exceed one paragraph, whether you’re writing a school essay or an in-depth research paper.
If you’re writing a paper in high school, your thesis shouldn’t be more than two sentences long. Your teacher doesn’t expect you to have an extremely elaborate thesis statement as a high school student. So, one or two short sentences indicating your essay’s aim should be more than enough. Knowing how many sentences are in a thesis statement helps ensure you don’t overdo it.
How many sentences should a thesis statement depend on what type of paper you are writing? A thesis statement should normally be no more than two sentences long unless you are writing a very long paper. Your thesis statement should be short and straight to the point, declaring your specific position on the topic you’re writing on.
A good thesis will strike the right balance between not having a flat thesis and not giving too much information. How many sentences are in a thesis determines how many should be in a thesis statement?
A thesis paper is usually forty pages long, but it varies significantly from project to project and from one expertise level to another. This number includes texts, figures, and a list of references, but it doesn’t include appendices. Also, don’t take these generalizations on how long should a thesis be too seriously, especially if you’re working on a labor-intensive project.
How Many Words is a Thesis?
How long a thesis is usually around eighty to a hundred thousand words long, depending on the topic’s depth. At the master’s or college level, a thesis fluctuates between fifteen and twenty thousand words. However, research journals ask for articles no more than three to five thousand words. After knowing how long is a thesis, the next question is, how long should your thesis statement be?
Your thesis in high school should be short, depending on what topic you are working on. It is better to contain one concise sentence, clearly stating your thoughts on the topic. It is this thought you’ll expound on later in the essay. Always ask your teacher or instructor for clarity on how long is a thesis statement.
A college thesis statement’s length depends on how many sentences is a thesis and how many points a writer mentions. It should contain at least two clauses, an independent clause, your opinion, and a dependent clause, the reasons. It would help if you aimed for a single sentence at least two lines long, or at most forty words long.
A typical thesis statement for professional research papers is usually no more than fifty words long. However, thesis statements don’t exactly have an exact word count, but most experts advise staying within that range. Once you know how long are thesis papers, you’ll have an idea of how long a thesis statement should be.
A single sentence clearly stating your position is great, but it may be hard to compress all your thoughts into one sentence. Thus, if you can’t do one sentence, you can keep it to two, four at the most, lines in a paragraph.
Your thesis paper has to be as long as the instructions say; there is no one-rule-fits-all answer to this question. If you’re writing a thesis paper in college, it wouldn’t be as long as writing a Ph.D. thesis paper . A thesis length is at least three thousand words and at most a hundred thousand. How long should a thesis be in an essay is a common question for people new to writing professional research papers.
Your thesis statement may be short or long, depending on your academic level. While there is no one rule on how long is a thesis statement supposed to be, experts advise 20-50 words. Long or short, your thesis should clearly state your paper’s aim in one to four lines; leave out irrelevant words. If you need professional help writing your thesis, you can contact our expert team to give you the best services.
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When you write strong, clear paragraphs, you are guiding your readers through your argument by showing them how your points fit together to support your thesis. The number of paragraphs in your essay should be determined by the number of steps you need to take to build your argument. To write strong paragraphs, try to focus each paragraph on one main point—and begin a new paragraph when you are moving to a new point or example.
A strong paragraph in an academic essay will usually include these three elements:
- A topic sentence. The topic sentence does double duty for a paragraph. First, a strong topic sentence makes a claim or states a main idea that is then developed in the rest of the paragraph. Second, the topic sentence signals to readers how the paragraph is connected to the larger argument in your paper. Below is an example of a topic sentence from a paper by Laura Connor ‘23 that analyzes rhetoric used by Frederic Douglass, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Karl Marx. In her paper, Connor argues that Marx’s rhetoric was most effective in driving social change. In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. This topic sentence makes a claim that will then need to be supported with evidence: readers can expect that the sentence will be followed by a discussion of what Marx saw as the flaws in capitalism, which will in turn help them understand Connor’s thesis about how these three authors used their rhetoric to effect social change. A topic sentence signals to your readers what idea is most important in that paragraph—and it also helps you know if you’ve effectively made your point. In this case, Connor has set up the expectation for readers that by the end of the paragraph, they will understand Marx’s view of the flaws in capitalism. Imagine that, instead of writing “Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws,” Connor had begun that paragraph with a descriptive sentence. For example, she could have written something like this: “Marx wrote a critique of capitalism.” While that sentence describes something that happened, it does not give readers information about what will be in the rest of the paragraph—and it would not have helped Connor figure out how to organize the paragraph.
- Evidence. Once you’ve made a claim in your topic sentence, you’ll need to help your readers see how you arrived at that claim from the evidence that you examined. That evidence may include quotations or paraphrased material from a source, or it may include data, results, or primary source material. In the paragraph that follows Connor’s topic sentence above, she offers several quotations from Marx that demonstrate how he viewed the flaws in capitalism.
- Analysis. It’s not enough to provide evidence to support a claim. You have to tell your readers what you want them to understand about that evidence. In other words, you have to analyze it. How does this evidence support your claim? In Connor’s paragraph, she follows her presentation of evidence with sentences that tell readers what they need to understand about that evidence—specifically that it shows how Marx pointed to the flaws in capitalism without telling his own readers what to think about it, and that this was his strategy. It might be tempting to end your paragraph with either a sentence summarizing everything you’ve just written or the introduction of a new idea. But in a short paragraph, your readers don’t need a summary of all that you’ve just said. And introducing a new point in the final sentence can confuse readers by leaving them without evidence to support that new point. Instead, try to end your paragraph with a sentence that tells readers something that they can now understand because they’ve read your paragraph. In Connor’s paragraph, the final sentence doesn’t summarize all of Marx’s specific claims but instead tells readers what to take away from that evidence. After seeing what Marx says about capitalism, Connor explains what the evidence she has just offered suggests about Marx’s beliefs.
Below, you’ll find Connor’s complete paragraph. The topic sentence appears in blue . The evidence appears in green . Connor’s analysis of the evidence appears in yellow .
In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. By critiquing the political economy and capitalism, Marx implores his reader to think critically about their position in society and restores awareness in the proletariat class. T o Marx, capitalism is a system characterized by the “exploitation of the many by the few,” in which workers accept the exploitation of their labor and receive only harm of “alienation,” rather than true benefits ( MER 487). He writes that “labour produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces—but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty—but for the worker, deformity” (MER 73). Marx argues capitalism is a system in which the laborer is repeatedly harmed and estranged from himself, his labor, and other people, while the owner of his labor – the capitalist – receives the benefits ( MER 74). And while industry progresses, the worker “sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class” ( MER 483). But while Marx critiques the political economy, he does not explicitly say “capitalism is wrong.” Rather, his close examination of the system makes its flaws obvious. Only once the working class realizes the flaws of the system, Marx believes, will they - must they - rise up against their bourgeois masters and achieve the necessary and inevitable communist revolution.
Not every paragraph will be structured exactly like this one, of course. But as you draft your own paragraphs, look for all three of these elements: topic sentence, evidence, and analysis.
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- How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples
How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.
A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.
The main goals of an introduction are to:
- Catch your reader’s attention.
- Give background on your topic.
- Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.
This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.
The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.
Table of contents
Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.
Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.
Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.
Examples: Writing a good hook
Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.
- Braille was an extremely important invention.
- The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.
The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly why the topic is important.
- The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
- The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.
Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
- Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.
Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.
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Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:
- Historical, geographical, or social context
- An outline of the debate you’re addressing
- A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
- Definitions of key terms
The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.
How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:
Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.
This is the most important part of your introduction. A good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.
The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.
Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.
As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.
For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.
When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.
It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.
To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .
You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.
Checklist: Essay introduction
My first sentence is engaging and relevant.
I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.
I have defined any important terms.
My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.
Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.
You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.
- Literary analysis
This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.
This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).
In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.
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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:
- An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .
The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.
To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.
The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.
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How Long is a Thesis or Dissertation: College, Grad or PhD
How long is a thesis
As a graduate student, you may have heard that you must complete a certain comprehensive project, either a thesis or a dissertation. In this guide, we will explore how long a thesis should be, the best length for a dissertation, and the optimal length for each part of the two.
If you read on to the end, we will also explore their differences to understand how it informs each length.
Both terms have distinct meanings, although they are sometimes used interchangeably and frequently confused.
Structure-wise, both papers have an introduction, a literature review, a body, a conclusion, a bibliography, and an appendix. That aside, both papers have some differences, as we shall see later on in this article.
How Long Should a Thesis be
Before discussing how long a thesis is, it’s critical to understand what it is. A thesis is a paper that marks the end of a study program.
Mostly, there is the undergraduate thesis, a project that marks the end of a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s thesis that marks the end of a master’s program.
A thesis should be around 50 pages long for a bachelor’s degree and 60-100 pages for a Master’s degree. However, the optimal length of a thesis project depends on the faculty’s instructions and the supervising professor’s expectations . The length also depends on the topic’s technicalities and the extent of research done.
A master’s thesis project is longer because it is a compilation of all your knowledge obtained in your master’s degree.
It basically allows you to demonstrate your abilities in your chosen field.
Often, graduate schools require students pursuing research-oriented degrees to write a thesis.
This is to demonstrate their practical skills before completing their degrees.
In contrast to undergraduate thesis, which are shorter in length and coverage area, usually less than 60 pages. A master’s theses are lengthy scholarly work allowing you to research a topic deeply.
Then you are required to write, expand the topic, and demonstrate what you have learned throughout the program. This is part of why you must write a thesis for some undergrad in some of the courses.
A Master’s thesis necessitates a large amount of research, which may include conducting interviews, surveys, and gathering information ( both primary and secondary) depending on the subject and field of study.
For this reason, the master’s thesis has between 60 and 100 pages, without including the bibliography. Mostly, the topic and research approach determine the length of the paper.
This means that there is no definite number of pages required. However, your thesis should be long enough to clearly and concisely present all important information.
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How long should a dissertation be.
A dissertation is a complex, in-depth research paper usually written by Ph.D. students. When writing the dissertation, Ph.D. Students are required to create their research, formulate a hypothesis, and conduct the study.
On average, a dissertation should be at least 90 pages at the minimum and 200 pages at the maximum , depending on the guidelines of the faculty and the professor. The optimal length for a dissertation also depends on the depth of the research done, the components of the file, and the level of study.
Most Ph.D. dissertations papers are between 120 to 200 pages on average.
However, as we said earlier, it all depends on factors like the field of study, and methods of data collection, among others.
Unlike a master’s thesis, which is about 100 pages, a dissertation is at least twice this length.
This is because you must develop a completely new concept, study it, research it, and defend it.
In your Ph.D. program, a dissertation allows you the opportunity to bring new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field of study.
The Lengths of Each Part of a Thesis and Dissertation
Factors determining the length of thesis or dissertation.
As we have seen, there is no definite length of a thesis and dissertation. Most of these two important academic documents average 100 to 400 pages. However, several factors determine their length.
Universities- we all know universities are independent bodies. Also, it’s important to know that each university is different from the other. As a result, the thesis and dissertation length varies depending on the set rules in a certain college or school.
Field of study- some fields of study have rich information, while others have limited information.
For example, you may have much to write about or discover when it comes to science compared to history.
As such, if you are to write a thesis or a dissertation in both fields, one will definitely be longer than the other. Check the time it takes to write a thesis or a dissertation to get more points.
Other factors that affect the length of a thesis or a dissertation include your writing style and the instructor’s specifications. These factors also come into play when it comes to the time taken to defend a thesis or your dissertation.
Tips for the Optimal Length for a Thesis or Dissertation
Instead of writing for length, write for brevity. The goal is to write the smallest feasible document with all of the material needed to describe the study and back up the interpretation. Ensure to avoid irrelevant tangents and excessive repetitions at all costs.
The only repetition required is the main theme. The working hypothesis seeks to be elaborated and proved in your paper.
The theme is developed in the introduction, expanded in the body, and mentioned in the abstract and conclusion.
Here are some tips for writing the right length of thesis and dissertation:
- Remove any interpretation portion which is only tangentially linked to your new findings.
- Use tables to keep track of information that is repeated.
- Include enough background information for the reader to understand the point of view.
- Make good use of figure captions.
- Let the table stand on its own. I.e., do not describe the contents of the figures and/or tables one by one in the text. Instead, highlight the most important patterns, objects, or trends in the figures and tables in the text.
- Leave out any observations or results in the text that you haven’t provided data.
- Do not include conclusions that aren’t backed up by your findings.
- Remove all inconclusive interpretation and discussion portions.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives, prepositional phrases, and adverbs.
- Make your sentences shorter – avoid nesting clauses or phrases.
- Avoid idioms and instead use words whose meaning can be looked up in a dictionary.
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Difference between a Thesis and a Dissertation
The most basic distinction between a thesis and a dissertation is when they are written.
While a thesis is a project completed after a master’s program, a dissertation is completed at the end of doctorate studies.
In a thesis, you present the results of your research to demonstrate that you have a thorough understanding of what you have studied during your master’s program.
On the other hand, a dissertation is your chance to add new knowledge, theories, or practices to your field while pursuing a doctorate. The goal here is to come up with a completely new concept, develop it, and defend it.
A master’s thesis is similar to the types of research papers you’re used to writing in your bachelor’s studies. It involves conducting research on a topic, analyzing it, and then commenting on your findings and how it applies to your research topic.
The thesis aims to demonstrate your capacity to think critically about and explain a topic in depth.
Furthermore, with a thesis, you typically use this time to elaborate on a topic that is most relevant to your professional area of specialization that you intend to pursue.
In a dissertation, on the other hand, you use other people’s research as an inspiration to help you come up with and prove your own hypothesis, idea, or concept. The majority of the data in a dissertation is credited to you.
Last but not least, these two major works differ greatly in length. The average length of a master’s thesis is at least 100 pages.
On the other hand, a doctoral dissertation should be substantially longer because it includes a lot of history and research information, as well as every element of your research, while explaining how you arrived at the information.
It is a complex piece of scholarly work, and it is likely to be twice or thrice the length of a thesis. To know the difference, check the best length for a thesis paper and see more about it.
Here is a Recap of the Differences
- While the thesis is completed at the end of your master’s degree program, a dissertation is written at the end of your doctoral degree program.
- Both documents also vary in length. A thesis should have at least 100 pages, while a doctoral dissertation is longer (over 200 pages)
- In the thesis, you conduct original research; in the dissertation, you use existing research to help you develop your discovery.
- For a thesis, you have to add analysis to the existing work, while a dissertation is part of the analysis of the existing work.
- In comparison to a thesis, a dissertation requires a more thorough study to expand your research in a certain topic.
- The statements in a thesis and a dissertation are distinct. While a thesis statement explains to readers how you will prove an argument in your research, a dissertation hypothesis defines and clarifies the outcomes you expect from your study. Here, you apply a theory to explore a certain topic.
- A dissertation allows you to contribute new knowledge to your field of study, while a thesis makes sure you understand what you have studied in your program and how it applies.
A thesis or a dissertation is a difficult document to compile. However, you should not be worried since your school assigns you a dissertation advisor who is a faculty member.
These advisors or supervisors help you find resources and ensure that your proposal is on the right track when you get stuck.
Check out my guide on the differences between a research paper, proposal, and thesis to understand more about these issues.
Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.
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How Long Should a Thesis Statement Be?
How to organize your thesis or how long should a thesis be?
This text describes how to organize the written thesis document, which is the central element of your graduate degree. In order to organize the thesis document, you must first understand what the postgraduate research is about. Therefore, this document will be useful both when starting your graduate program, and when you start writing your thesis.
What is the Postgraduate Research?
The postgraduate research is intended to make an original contribution to knowledge. How long should a thesis statement be? The thesis is a formal document whose sole purpose is to show the contribution made. Failure to show the contribution made implies failure to defend the proposed thesis.
The thesis should show two things:
- That a problem has been identified that is worthwhile, or a question that has not yet been answered, and that the problem has been resolved or the question answered.
- The contribution to knowledge is usually in the solution to the problem or in the answer to the question.
What is a Postgraduate Thesis?
Since the purpose of the postgraduate thesis, as a literature review , is to demonstrate that you have made an original and useful contribution to knowledge, the examiners who read your thesis will try to find answers to the following questions:
Asking the question clearly is essential to prove that a contribution has been made to the knowledge that is original and valid. To prove the originality and value of the contribution, a thorough review of the literature on the subject and on closely related topics should be presented. Then, making a direct reference to his review of the literature, it must be shown that question (a) has not been previously answered, and (b) is valid. Describing how the question was answered is the easiest thing to write, since one has been involved in the details in the course of graduate work.
How long is a thesis statement? If the thesis does not provide adequate answers to the questions mentioned, you should probably make important revisions or even fail in the defense of your thesis. For this reason we will present a generic thesis skeleton, designed to answer our questions by means of a good organization and titles of appropriate sections. The thesis skeleton is generic (it can be used for any thesis). Some teachers may prefer another organization, but the essential elements in any thesis are the same
Do not forget that a thesis is a formal document: each element must be in the proper place, and the repetition of material must be eliminated.
How long can a thesis statement be: Thesis Skeleton
It should include a general introduction to what the thesis is about – it is not just a description of the content of each section. Briefly summarize the question (which will be detailed later), describe some of the reasons why it is a worthwhile question, and include a global assessment of its main results. The introduction is a panoramic view about the answers to the main questions answered in the thesis.
2. Background (optional)
It may be necessary to include a brief section giving background information, especially if the work covers two or more fields. In this case readers may not have experience with some basic topics that may be necessary to understand their thesis. A different title must be used.
3. Description of News
How long does a thesis statement have to be? In this section recent developments related to the area of the thesis should be included. Again, a descriptive title should be used. The idea is to present the main existing ideas (a critical analysis of them will be made later), without including material about their own ideas.
4. Research Questions or Problem Statement
Engineering theses usually refer to a “problem” to be solved, while other disciplines consider a “question” to be answered. In both cases, this section should include three main parts:
- a concise statement of the question attacked by the thesis
- a justification that your question has not been answered previously, making direct reference to section 3
- a discussion about why it is worth answering this question.
5. Describe How the Problem Was Solved or the Question Answered
This section of the thesis is much freer. It may have one or several sections and subdivisions, but it has only one purpose: to convince the reviewers that the question could be answered or solve the problem posed in Section 4. Therefore, it must be shown that what was done was relevant to answer the question or solve the problem: if there were dark alleys or dead ends, do not include them, unless they are related to showing that the thesis question was answered.
Generally, the Conclusions section covers three parts, each of which merits a separate subdivision:
- Summary of Contributions
- Future Research
The conclusions are not an overloaded summary of the thesis: they are short and concise statements of the inferences that have been obtained thanks to the work done. It is usually good to organize them in the form of numbered short paragraphs, sorted from largest to smallest in importance.
The Future Research subsection is included so that other researchers in the future can benefit from ideas generated while working on the project. Again, it is good to use numbered concise paragraphs.
The list of references is closely linked to the revision of the novelties. Most examiners review their list of references looking for the most important works in the subject. The truth be told, most examiners look for their own publications if they are in the subject area of the thesis, therefore, include them. In addition, reading the articles written by the examiners will give you a clue about the type of questions you are likely to ask.
All the references given must be referred to in the main body of the thesis. Note the difference with a Bibliography, which may include works that are not directly referred to in the thesis. Organize the list of references alphabetically by the surname of the author (preferred), or by the order of appointment in the thesis.
What enters the appendices? Any material, as well as how long can a thesis be, that impedes the smooth development of the presentation, but that is important to justify the results of a thesis. It is usually material that is too meticulous to be included in the main body of the thesis, but that it must be available to be consulted by the examiners to convince them enough.
Comments about the Skeleton
The best way to start your thesis or evaluation essay is to prepare an extensive outline of the content. You start by building a Table of Contents or General Index, in which each section and subdivision to be included is listed. In each section and subdivision, write a brief description of the contents of that section. The entire index should be 2 to 5 pages in length. You and your supervisor should review this outline carefully: is there unnecessary material (that is, not directly related to the definition of the problem)? Take it off is there a lack of material? Add it. It is less painful and more effective to make such decisions early, during the draft phase, rather than after writing a lot of material that should be discarded.
How long does it take to write a thesis and how long are thesis statements?
Even after you have finished the research – built models, full calculations – it is good to take at least a full semester to write the thesis. It is not the physical act of typing what takes so long, but the fact that writing the thesis requires organizing arguments and results. During this formalization of the results in a document capable of withstanding the scrutiny of the specialist examiners is that the weaknesses of the thesis are discovered. Fixing those weaknesses takes time.
It is also likely to be the first time that your supervisor sees the formal expression of concepts that may have been previously accepted informally. In these moments, mistakes or limitations in informal agreements are discovered. And it takes time to fix them. Students for whom English is not their mother tongue may have difficulty communicating ideas, so numerous revisions are required. And, truth be told, supervisors sometimes delay in reviewing and returning projects.
Always keep in mind the background and profile of the reader. Who is your audience? How much is reasonable to expect him to know about the subject before reading his thesis? Normally they usually know the problem in general, but they have not been, like you, intimately involved in all the details during the last 2 years. Clearly and completely explain the new and difficult concepts. Sometimes it helps to mentally imagine a real person you know, at the appropriate level, and imagine that ideas are explained to that person.
Do not make readers work too hard! This is fundamental. You know for what few questions the examiners need answers. Choose appropriate section titles and write to give them this information clearly. The harder they have to work to find their problem, their defense of the problem, their response to the problem, their conclusions and contributions, the worse they will be, and the thesis is more likely to need revisions.
A corollary of the above: it is impossible to be too clear! Explain things carefully; highlight important parts by means of appropriate titles, etc. There is a huge amount of information in a thesis: be sure to direct readers to the answers to important questions.
Remember that a thesis as well as research is not a story: it does not usually follow the chronology of the things you tried. It is a formal document designed to answer only a few important questions.
- How Long Should a Thesis Be
- How Long Should a Thesis Be? Tips for Creating a Perfect Paper
Thesis Outline Part 1 – Abstract, Contents, and Introduction
Thesis outline part 2 – methods, results, discussion, thesis outline part 3 – conclusions, recommendations, and references.
In academic writing, a thesis is related to complex papers. Usually, it is called a Master’s or a Doctoral thesis and can be compared to a dissertation. The main differences between them are size and width of uncovered topic. How long should a thesis be?
Undeniably, it takes months to complete a well-researched work and it's easier to delegate this difficult task to professionals who will help write a thesis quickly and with quality in mind.
- Students place abstract on 2 pages
- An introduction should be placed on 3-5 pages
- The Methods section can be up to 10 pages long
- Results take 10 pages
- Discussion can be placed on 15 pages
- The conclusion takes 2-3 pages
- Appendix and other auxiliary parts of work can take up to 30 pages
- Complete paper contains 60-70 pages
If we take the article length, a dissertation should be at least three articles long. Read our guide to identify how long is a dissertation . Thesis takes space of one article. When university students choose a thesis to work on instead of a bibliographic essay, they do it for leaving a possibility to evaluate a research in the future.
There are more questions related to thesis writing appearing. What to include into a good text? If people make theses longer, will they become better? This article is a universal answer to all specific questions concerning proper writing.
Every academic paper begins with title page. Its structure depends on the chosen formatting style. An abstract follows it. This is an important part that describes thesis utility. It must be short and take 1-2 paragraphs, about 400 words and contain short summary of results, methods, etc. Here are questions to answer in this part:
- What was the reason to write this paper?
- What thesis statement to prove or disprove?
- What were your instruments? (describe main methods of research)
- What did you find out?
- Why are the results important?
Avoid citations, try to use more numbers. An abstract for dissertation or thesis should be qualitative. After it, the table of contents follows. Group all headings and subheadings into one complex list. If figures and tables are used, enlist their names, point page number of each one.
The first big part is the introduction for thesis . It may seem similar to an abstract. It pursues different goals – reader hooking, providing background information and logical transition to your own research. Here is what you need to disclose in this chapter:
- Enough background information about previous researches should be presented to make readers understand place of text in science system.
- Give an explanation concerning contents – what will be included into thesis.
- Provide readers with verbal ‘road maps’.
- Cite previous works. The citations must be related to text’s goals. Do not list everything you have read about subject.
These sections must take three pages of paper, excluding contents and table lists.
These are essential parts. They contain information concerning your own research. Answering main question of our post (how long should a thesis be?), these parts must take at least 30-40 pages. Let’s find out what Ph.D or Master’s thesis paper shoud present in these chapters.
The methods section is text’s explanatory part. There you have to provide readers with clear information and details that allow repeating the research and experiments. Traditionally, methods section is divided into three parts – materials, participants, ways of analysis. Materials imply full description of all instruments and quntitative and qualitative methods used for making research.
Participants part, just like a research paper discussion , describes people or subjects analyzed, including regulations of choice. Ways of analysis present all research approaches used to get results. This part describes area and circumstances of your experiments and helps to identify if they were legitimate and relevant.
Results part contains relevant statements of observations with statistical data, graphs, tables, etc. The section is divided into paragraphs, where key results are arranged into sentences at beginning. Do not forget about negative results, if possible. The main goal of section is data structuring to be helpful for readers to make own conclusions. Mention the nature of data found.
Discussion part is where you interpret results and adjust them to a thesis statement and goals. Disclose patterns and relationships between the observations found, find possible exceptions and discuss if the results correlate with previous researches. Each interpretation you make should be supplied with sufficient evidence. Define if materials are working for the future researches as well. This chapter is the richest in referencing to background material and other parts of your paper.
Here you make the strongest statement concerning observations. Highlight the information you want readers to remember. Explain how the results correlate with the problems you have indicated in the introduction. Describe all new things that are significant in finding a solution and provide limitations examples .
The recommendations part is for giving advice and indicating other actions that will help to solve particular problems. Sound your own opinion about the direction of future research. Most of the time you have to write it. Just like a research proposal .
Acknowledgment for thesis is a paragraph where you mention everyone who helped you with composition. Place all cited and used information resources into one list or form an annotated bibliography if needed.
All kinds of data used in writing, not cited and used resources directly go to the appendices part. This section is last. Along with conclusions they may take up to 10 pages.
What is the direct answer to our question? How long should a thesis be? Experts from a writing site assume, it takes about 60-70 pages. It depends on your research and subject. The length does not matter, actually. The most important thing you need to do is make a complete and complex paper. Provide everything from A to Z - no one will recall the thesis length.
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