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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Research Paper Menu
- 1. Overview
- 2. Finding Topic Ideas
3. Creating a Thesis Statement & Outline
- 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources
- 5. Using Butte College Library Resources
- 6. Scholarly Journals
- 7. Online Search Techniques
- 8. Taking Notes and Documenting Sources
- 9. Evaluation of Resources
- 10. Citation and Plagiarism
I.What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is usually a sentence that states your argument to the reader. It usually appears in the first paragraph of an essay.
II. Why do I need to write a thesis statement for a paper?
Your thesis statement states what you will discuss in your essay. Not only does it define the scope and focus of your essay, it also tells your reader what to expect from the essay.
A thesis statement can be very helpful in constructing the outline of your essay.
Also, your instructor may require a thesis statement for your paper.
III. How do I create a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is not a statement of fact. It is an assertive statement that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence. It should be the product of research and your own critical thinking. There are different ways and different approaches to write a thesis statement. Here are some steps you can try to create a thesis statement:
1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.
Example: youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs
2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence.
Example: Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities.
3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.
Example: Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.
Example: Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
IV. Can I revise the thesis statement in the writing process?
Sure. In fact, you should keep the thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information that falls outside the scope of your original plan and want to incorporate it into your paper. Or you probably understand your thoughts more and shift the focus of your paper. Then you will need to revise your thesis statement while you are writing the paper.
V. Why do I need to make an outline when I already have a thesis statement?
An outline is the "road map" of your essay in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay.
VI. How do I make an outline?
You list all the major topics and subtopics with key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order.
Include an Introduction , a Body , and a Conclusion in your outline. You can make an outline in a list format or a chart format .
Next Chapter: 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources
Research Paper: A step-by-step guide: 3. Thesis Statement & Outline
- 1. Getting Started
- 2. Topic Ideas
- 3. Thesis Statement & Outline
- 4. Appropriate Sources
- 5. Search Techniques
- 6. Taking Notes & Documenting Sources
- 7. Evaluating Sources
- 8. Citations & Plagiarism
- 9. Writing Your Research Paper
About Thesis Statements
Qualities of a thesis statement.
- state the subject matter and main ideas of a paper.
- appear in the first paragraph and announces what you will discuss in your paper.
- define the scope and focus of your essay, and tells your reader what to expect.
- are not a simple factual statement. It is an assertion that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence.
- should be the product of research and your own critical thinking.
- can be very helpful in constructing an outline for your essay; for each point you make, ask yourself whether it is relevant to the thesis.
Steps you can use to create a thesis statement
1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.
youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs
2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence. It can be helpful to start with a question which you then turn into an argument
Can prevention and intervention programs stop youth gang activities? How? ►►► "Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities by giving teens something else to do."
3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.
"Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement by giving teens good activities that offer a path to success."
4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.
"Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement, which they do by giving teens meaningful activities that offer pathways to achievement and success."
5. Keep your thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information or refine your understanding of the topic.
You can view this short video for more tips on how to write a clear thesis statement.
An outline is the skeleton of your essay, in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay. Once your outline is in good shape, it is much easier to write your paper; you've already done most of the thinking, so you just need to fill in the outline with a paragraph for each point.
To write an outline: The most common way to write an outline is the list format. List all the major topics and subtopics with the key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order. Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
A list outline should arrange the main points or arguments in a hierarchical structure indicated by Roman numerals for main ideas (I, II, III...), capital letters for subtopics (A, B, C...), Arabic numerals for details (1,2,3...), and lower-case letters for fine details if needed (a,b,c...). This helps keep things organized.
Here is a shortened example of an outline:
Introduction: background and thesis statement
I. First topic
1. Supporting evidence 2. Supporting evidence
II. Second Topic
III. Third Topic
I. Summarize the main points of your paper II. Restate your thesis in different words III. Make a strong final statement
You can see examples of a few different kinds of outlines and get more help at the Purdue OWL .
- << Previous: 2. Topic Ideas
- Next: 4. Appropriate Sources >>
- Last Updated: Apr 18, 2023 12:12 PM
- URL: https://butte.libguides.com/ResearchPaper
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12 Writing the Thesis and Outline
To write well, you need to understand your audience and purpose. Once you know why you are writing, and to whom, you can start to organize your ideas. One way to get organized is to create an outline before you begin to write. An outline is the blueprint to your finished product.
After completing the activities in this chapter, you will be able to:
- Identify three ways to organize your ideas (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
- Identify the components of a thesis statement
- Evaluate thesis statements
- Identify the steps needed to create an outline (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
- Create a thesis statement and outline (Minnesota Libraries Publishing, 2015)
Starting with a Research Question
It’s a good idea to start a writing project with a research question.
Look at these example research questions:
- Is music piracy beneficial or harmful to the music industry?
- What are the benefits of exercise?
- Should the government increase the minimum wage?
- How can people live more environmentally friendly lives?
Now you need to do research to determine your answer to the question.
You need to decide your stance and how you can support your stance.
Creating a Thesis Statement
You can write a draft thesis statement after you’ve done some preliminary research to determine your stance and some main reasons for your stance. Your thesis statement is a concise one-sentence answer to your research question.
The thesis statement expresses three things:
- the specific topic of the paper
- your stance (or, “opinion” or “position”) on that topic
- the main reasons for your opinion
The table below shows how a thesis statement evolves from a broad topic.
Can you identify the three necessary components in each of the thesis statements above?
Parallel Structure in Thesis Statements
Notice that the supporting reasons in each thesis above are given in parallel structure.
Thesis Statement Placement
Your thesis is the single most important sentence in your writing. In academic writing, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introductory paragraph.
Develop a working thesis statement that states your controlling idea for the piece of writing you are doing. On a sheet of paper, write your working thesis statement.
You will make several attempts before you devise a working thesis statement that you think is effective. Each draft of the thesis statement will bring you closer to the wording that expresses your meaning exactly.
Writing an Outline 
For an essay question on a test or a brief oral presentation in class, all you may need to prepare is a short, informal outline in which you jot down key ideas in the order you will present them. This kind of outline reminds you to stay focused in a stressful situation and to include all the good ideas that help you explain or prove your point.
For a longer assignment, like an essay or a research paper, many college instructors require students to submit their outline for approval before writing and submitting the paper for grading. This is a way to be sure you are on the right track and are working in an organized manner.
A formal outline is a detailed guide that shows how all your supporting ideas relate to each other. It helps you distinguish between ideas that are of equal importance and ones that are of lesser importance. You build your paper based on the framework created by the outline.
Instructors may also require you to submit an outline with your final draft to check the direction of the assignment and the logic of your final draft. If you must submit an outline with the final draft of a paper, remember to revise the outline to reflect any changes you made while writing the paper.
Here’s an example of a detailed outline for a standard 5-paragraph essay  :
Notice that each body paragraph contains two to four main ideas (A-D) and that each main idea is further supported with specific details (1-4). In a research essay, those specific details should be facts from reliable sources and there should be an APA in-text citation (Author, year) next to each one.
Organizing Ideas 
The three common methods of organizing writing are chronological, spatial, and importance.
As you create your outline, be mindful of how you organize your supporting body paragraphs. In the example outline above, the writer has chosen to present ideas in “order of importance” with the last, and most persuasive, reason last. Putting the most important reason at the end is an effective strategy for persuasive writing.
Checklist: Writing an Effective Outline
- Do I have a controlling idea that guides the development of the entire piece of writing?
- Do I have three or more main points that I want to make in this piece of writing? Does each main point connect to my controlling idea?
- Is my outline in the best order—chronological order, spatial order, or order of importance—for me to present my main points? Will this order help me get my main point across?
- Do I have supporting details that will help me inform, explain, or prove my main points?
- Do I need to add more support? If so, where?
- Do I need to make any adjustments in my working thesis statement before I consider it the final version?
- Anonymous. (2015, October 27). 8.2 Outlining. In Writing for success . University of Minnesota Libraries. https://bit.ly/3jvW61b . CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . ↵
- Veillieux, H. (2021, April 9). 5POutlineExample [Digital Image]. In Writing the thesis and outline . Confederation College. https://bit.ly/36aiBWn . CC BY 4.0 . ↵
- Anonymous. (2015, October 27). 8.2 Outlining. In Writing for success . University of Minnesota Libraries. https://bit.ly/3M3p7gY . CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . ↵
a writer's position, or opinion, on their topic
Supporting points are the main reasons that explain your point of view on a topic. In a research paper, support should be facts and opinion of experts that you have located from reliable sources. In reflective writing, support might include your personal experiences.
In grammar, parallelism, also known as parallel structure or parallel construction, is a balance within one or more sentences of similar phrases or clauses that have the same grammatical structure. The application of parallelism affects readability and may make texts easier to process.
Provide an in-text citation (with author and date information) along with a reference entry (containing complete retrieval information) to tell the reader the original source of the information used.
Intercultural Business Communication Copyright © 2021 by Confederation College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide: 4b. Outline the Paper
- Get Started
- 1a. Select a Topic
- 1b. Develop Research Questions
- 1c. Identify Keywords
- 1d. Find Background Information
- 1e. Refine a Topic
- 2a. Search Strategies
- 2d. Articles
- 2e. Videos & Images
- 2f. Databases
- 2g. Websites
- 2h. Grey Literature
- 2i. Open Access Materials
- 3a. Evaluate Sources
- 3b. Primary vs. Secondary
- 3c. Types of Periodicals
- 4a. Take Notes
- 4b. Outline the Paper
- 4c. Incorporate Source Material
- 5a. Avoid Plagiarism
- 5b. Zotero & MyBib
- 5c. MLA Formatting
- 5d. MLA Citation Examples
- 5e. APA Formatting
- 5f. APA Citation Examples
- 5g. Annotated Bibliographies
For research papers, a formal outline can help you keep track of large amounts of information.
Thesis: Federal regulations need to foster laws that will help protect wetlands, restore those that have been destroyed, and take measures to improve the damange from overdevelopment.
I. Nature's ecosystem
A. Loss of wetlands nationally
B. Loss of wetlands in Illinois
1. More flooding and poorer water quality
2. Lost ability to prevent floods, clean water and store water
II. Dramatic floods
A, Cost in dollars and lives
1. 13 deaths between 1988 and 1998
2. Cost of $39 million per year
B. Great Midwestern Flood of 1993
1. Lost wetlands in IL
2. Devastation in some states
C. Flood Prevention
1. Plants and Soils
2. Floodplain overflow
III. Wetland laws
A. Inadequately informed legislators
2. Interconnections in natural water systems
B. Water purification
IV. Need to save wetlands
A. New federal definition
B. Re-education about interconnectedness
1. Ecology at every grade level
2. Education for politicians and developers
3. Choices in schools and people's lives
Example taken from The Bedford Guide for College Writers (9th ed).
How to Create an Outline
To create an outline:
- Place your thesis statement at the beginning.
- List the major points that support your thesis. Label them in Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.).
- List supporting ideas or arguments for each major point. Label them in capital letters (A, B, C, etc.).
- If applicable, continue to sub-divide each supporting idea until your outline is fully developed. Label them 1, 2, 3, etc., and then a, b, c, etc.
NOTE: EasyBib has a function that will help you create a clear and effective outline.
How to Structure an Outline
- << Previous: 4a. Take Notes
- Next: 4c. Incorporate Source Material >>
- Last Updated: Sep 28, 2023 1:09 PM
- URL: https://libguides.elmira.edu/research
What is a thesis statement outline?
This is the first of three chapters about thesis statement Outlines . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Introduce the two types of outline in academic writing
– Explore the purpose of thesis statement outlines
– Provide informative and persuasive outline examples to help guide the reader
Chapter 1: What is a thesis statement outline?
Chapter 2: Why are outlines important in introductions?
Chapter 3: How can I write an effective introduction outline?
Before you begin reading...
- video and audio texts
- knowledge checks and quizzes
- skills practices, tasks and assignments
When writing to an academic standard, a student will most likely be asked by their tutor or advisor to create and submit two types of outline to successfully complete an essay . The first type of academic outline (which may also be described as a plan ) is a listed or bullet-pointed structure for outlining the entire research paper. While this type of outline is able to provide the key topics of an essay as a whole, the focus of this short reader is instead on thesis-statement outlines which more narrowly highlight only body-paragraph main ideas to the reader.
What is the purpose of a thesis-stateme nt outline?
If you’ve already completed our short reader on thesis statements , then you’ll know that a successful thesis statement may be broken into a number of elements, such as the outline or stance . Otherwise known as a roadmap , an outline is placed at the end of an introductory paragraph and functions to inform the reader of (1) the essay’s key arguments ( main ideas ), and (2) the order in which those arguments appear in the body section . To help guide you in recognising outlines, we’ve included two example thesis statements below with these features in bold:
In thesis statement (a), which is written for an example informative essay , the bolded outline provides the reader with three clear main ideas that will be included in the body section of that piece of research. These three main ideas are presented more clearly for students in the table below:
Example thesis statement (b), on the other hand, is instead taken from a persuasive essay . As such, this outline requires both counter arguments and arguments to represent the body section’s four main ideas, as can be seen below:
Now that you understand the basic concepts of a thesis statement outline , Chapter 2 on this topic explores why outlines are so important in academic introductions . How and why good writers should precisely connect an outline to their body-section topic sentences is also discussed.
To reference this reader:
Academic Marker (2022) Outlines . Available at: https://academicmarker.com/essay-writing/introductory-paragraphs/outlines/ (Accessed: Date Month Year).
- Indiana University Bloomington
- University of North Carolina Writing Center
- Walden University Writing Center
Once you’ve completed all three chapters about outlines , you might also wish to download our beginner, intermediate and advanced worksheets to test your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks .
Our outlines academic reader (including all three chapters about this topic) can be accessed here at the click of a button.
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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
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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
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How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.
Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.
Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?
- to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
- to better organize and develop your argument
- to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.
How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?
Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned
Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.
Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”
The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.
[ Back to top ]
How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned
Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.
A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:
- take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
- deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
- express one main idea
- assert your conclusions about a subject
Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.
Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.
You start out with a thesis statement like this:
This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.
Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.
You change your thesis to look like this:
Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.
This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.
Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.
You revise your thesis statement to look like this:
More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.
This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.
Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:
Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.
This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.
Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:
Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.
Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.
How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One
1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..
Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:
There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.
This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.
Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.
This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.
2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.
Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:
My family is an extended family.
This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.
While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.
This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.
3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.
Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:
Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.
This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:
Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.
This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .
4. A strong thesis statement is specific.
A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:
World hunger has many causes and effects.
This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:
Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.
This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.
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- 1. Formulating a Thesis Statement
- 2. Thesis Statement • The main idea of the whole composition. • One statement that describes the viewpoint you are going to express and support in your paper.
- 3. Thesis Statement • The purpose in the rest of the paper: – To prove the validity of the thesis • The thesis statement provides a controlling idea which will help you choose the resource materials you will use. • It helps the writer focused on the main idea of the research paper.
- 4. Thesis Statement • It is always written as a sentence, never as a phrase. – It is also called thesis sentence.
- 5. Example • Thesis statement: Ancient Greek culture is reflected in the lives of present day Greeks. • Controlling idea: “reflected in” – The writer will look for materials that describe the characteristics of ancient Grecian culture and characteristics of modern Grecian culture, and for any similarities between the two.
- 6. • It is usually the sentence that answers the question stated in the 3rd step in the writing of the research paper: – Stating a question that identifies the problem.
- 7. • Sample topic: – “Impact of robots on industry in the next millennium”
- 8. • Question: “What impact are robots likely to have on industry?” • Answer: “Despite of the misgivings of some people, robots will probably have a beneficial effect on industry and its work force.” • Thesis Statement: “Although the rapid growth in robot technology has aroused some fears of its consequences, robots will actually benefit everyone, and efforts are being made to lessen any harmful impact upon the work force.”
- 9. REMEMBER! • Because a thesis must prepare readers for facts and details, it cannot itself be a fact. • It must always be a generalization demanding proof or further development. • It must be a general statement of opinion not a self-explanatory statement of a fact.
- 10. Example • Too factual: Gunpowder was not used in China. • Revised: Gunpowder was not used in warfare in China as it was in Europe because the Chinese had a different attitude toward death, battle, and personal honor than did the Europeans.
- 11. CAUTION • Thesis Statement should NOT be any of the following: 1.Announcement rather than a statement: -The subject of this paper will be crimes. -All want to talk about the crime wave in our country. -The incidence of crimes in our country is the concern of this paper.
- 12. 2. Too broad statement: -Crime is a major concern of everyone in our country. 3. Too narrow statement: -There were five recorded robberies in our community last year.
- 13. 4. Too vague statement: -The problem of overcrowded prisons must be solved and tougher penalties must be imposed.
- 15. 1. A thesis cannot be a fragment; it must be expressed in a sentence. Poor: How life is in racial ghetto. Better: Residents of a racial ghetto tend to have higher death rate, higher disease rates, and higher psychosis rates than any other residents of American cities in general.
- 16. 2. A thesis must not be in the form of a question. Poor: Should eighteen-year-old males have the right to vote? Better: Anyone who is old enough to fight in a war is old enough to vote.
- 17. 3. A thesis must not contain phrases such as “I think.” Poor: In my opinion most men wear beards because they are trying to find themselves. Better: The current beard fad may be an attempt on the part of the men to emphasize their male identity.
- 18. 4. A thesis must not contain elements that are not related. Poor: All novelists seek the truth; therefore some novelists are good psychologists. Better: In their attempt to probe human nature, many novelists appear to be good psychologists.
- 19. 5. A thesis must not be expressed in vague language. Poor: Bad things resulted from religion are being taught in the classroom. Better: Religion as a part of the school curriculum should be avoided because it is highly personal and is a individual commitment.
- 20. 6. A thesis must not expressed in muddled or incoherent language. Poor: In Act One of Othello, to cause them to feel fury against Othello, Iago fuels Brabantio, Othello, Roderigo, and Cassio with deceit by telling those lies. Better: In Act One if Othello, Iago deceives several characters in order to further his plot to destroy Othello’s life.
- 21. 7. A thesis should not be written in figurative language. Poor: Religion is a phoenix bird of civilization. Better: As long as man can conceive the idea of God, religion will rise to give man a spiritual reason for existence.
- 23. Ask yourself the following: • Do I answer the question? • Have I taken the position that others might challenge or oppose? • Is my thesis statement specific enough? • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? • Does my essay support my thesis specifically without wandering?
- 24. Making an Outline
- 25. What is an outline? • An outline is an abbreviated picture of the parts of your paper and the order in which they will come. • You can think of it as a “road map” of your journey toward making a final product.
- 26. Outline • It shows the relationship of ideas. • It becomes the skeleton of your research paper. • It shows the main ideas to be expanded in the actual writing of the paper. • It indicates through its indentions and symbols the major and minor supporting ideas.
- 27. Why make an outline? • It helps to… – Stay on course and not get off-track when you put your final product together. – See if you have enough (or too much) material to support your thesis statement. – Figure out the order in which your subtopics will appear in your final product.
- 28. Two types of Outline 1. Topic Outline- It makes use of words, phrases or clauses; Hence, the lines don’t end with a period
- 29. Two types of Outline 2. Sentence outline- It makes use of sentences that contains only one idea. It is more detailed; hence more difficult to construct It reveals how coherent and unified the ideas in the outline are.
- 31. Number-letter sequence pattern I. A. B. 1. 2. a. b. II.
- 32. Decimal Pattern 1.0. 1.1. 1.2. 1.2.1. 1.2.2. 22.214.171.124. 126.96.36.199. 2.0.
- 33. An outline should have… • Main topics tell the main idea. – It is set off by a Roman numeral followed by a period. • Subtopics give supporting facts. – It is set off by a capital letter followed by a period. • Details give specific facts about the subtopics. – It is set off by a number followed by a period.
- 35. Topic outline with number sequence pattern I. Family Problems A. Custodial: Non-custodial Conflicts B. Extended Family C. Adolescent's Age II. Economic Problems A. Child Support B. Women's Job Training C. Lower Standard of Living D. Possible Relocation 1. Poorer Neighborhood 2. New School III. Peer Problems A. Loss of Friends B. Relationships with Dates
- 36. Sentence outline with decimal patterm 1.0. When family conflicts arise as a result of divorce, adolescents suffer. 1.1. During the first year, these young people may be depressed due to conflicts between the custodial and non-custodial parents. 1.2. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often restricted by visitation provisions. 1.3. Almost without exception, adolescents find divorce very painful, but they react in differing degrees depending on their age. 2.0. Some of the most negative effects on adolescents may be associated with economic problems. 2.1. The family will most probably experience a lower standard of living due to the cost of maintaining two households. 2.2. Some female custodial parents have poor job skills and must train before entering the job market. 2.3. The lower standard of living may result in misunderstanding and conflicts within the family. 2.4. The decreased standard of living, particularly for an untrained female custodial parent, often causes relocation. 2.4.1. The family may have to move to a poorer neighborhood in order to cut costs. 2.4.2. As a result, the adolescent may have to attend a different school.
- 38. 1. Logical Subordination • Items in the outline should be logically subordinated. • Subtopics listed under larger headings should be subordinate in meaning . – Should not be of equal importance or even greater. • Any subtopic should be related to the major topic under which it is listed.
- 39. 2. Parallel structure • All members of the divisions of equal rank should have similar grammatical structure. – If you start with a noun phrase for the first of the main headings, the 2nd , the 3rd , etc., must also be expressed as a noun phrases. – Unnecessary shifts from active to passive voice or from statement to question should be avoided
- 40. In addition… 3. Any subdivision which is subdivided must have at least two subdivisions, the new subdivisions being indented and marked by symbols
- 41. 4. Avoid mixing two types of outline, or the two sequence patterns in the same outline. Be consistent.
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- How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .
Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:
- Start with a question
- Write your initial answer
- Develop your answer
- Refine your thesis statement
Table of contents
What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.
A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.
The best thesis statements are:
- Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
- Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
- Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.
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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .
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 and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many 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 many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.
You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?
For example, you might ask:
After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .
Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.
In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.
The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.
In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.
The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.
A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:
- Why you hold this position
- What they’ll learn from your essay
- The key points of your argument or narrative
The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.
These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.
Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:
- In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
- In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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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.
Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :
- Ask a question about your topic .
- Write your initial answer.
- Develop your answer by including reasons.
- Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.
The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .
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How to Write a Thesis Statement & Essay Outline
- Posted on February 3, 2022
How to Write a Thesis Statement & Essay Outline
Writing your thesis statement and planning out your essay outline are two of the most important things you can do if you want to have a concise, accurate, and interesting argumentative essay. In addition, the time you spend brainstorming your research paper will save you hours of edits in the long run.
A good thesis statement is the backbone of your entire essay. Fortunately, writing thesis statements is easy if you follow our step-by-step guide that walks you through crafting a robust argumentative thesis statement.
The main point of your essay should be highlighted in your thesis statement. You can further expound upon this central theme in your introductory paragraph, letting your audience know exactly what they can expect from your paper. It’s essential to make your thesis statement as straightforward as possible, laying out the case for the rest of your paper.
What is a Thesis Statement?
A strong thesis statement gives your audience a clear understanding of what to expect from your essay. Think of it like a micro-roadmap that efficiently lets your readers know where the essay will take them.
Most thesis statements revolve around proving a point or making a specific claim. While it can be based upon your opinion, it’s also vital to remember that you need to substantiate any claims that you make with facts.
It’s important to have one significant theme in your thesis statement. If you try to express too many things, you will confuse the reader. Thesis statements need to be concise, crystal-clear and express a statement of fact. Therefore, mastering a thesis is a crucial part of all essay writing.
You can also use your thesis statement to address a specific issue and explain how you’ll break it down in your essay. If you’re talking about something controversial, you should substantiate your claims with facts and logic. The best essays tackle complex topics by breaking them down into logical and easily understandable chunks.
If you’re dealing with a hot-button topic, it’s a good idea to mention that there are other viewpoints. Then, you can dissect these viewpoints and explain why you disagree with them later on in your essay.
What to Include in a Thesis Statement
Start off with a working thesis. Give some thought to your thesis statement’s significant points, and condense them until you have a very compact but straightforward statement about the issue. Make sure that you include plenty of supporting evidence to back up your thesis.
Although all thesis statements are different, there are some general qualities that you should strive to include. First, spend some time crafting your thesis because the clearer you are on your objectives, the easier your essay will be to write.
- Your thesis statement should be concise, direct, and clear
- It should encapsulate your essay as much as possible
- The thesis should contain a combination of opinion and support
You also need to brainstorm the critical components of your essay. What are you trying to achieve? Who is your audience? Think about what the reader would want to learn from the essay and distill it down into one very powerful line.
It’s completely natural to spend a significant amount of time on your thesis statement. You might be tempted to jump right into your essay without ironing out the finer points, but this can make the writing muddied or challenging to read. So instead, spend as much time as you need to come up with a good thesis statement that you can back up with facts.
What is an Outline?
Once you have your thesis statement, it’s time to jump into your outline. Good outlines combine logical frameworks with plenty of brainstorming and act as a template for the whole essay. Your outline is an integral part of the writing process, as it allows you to look at all of the subtopics of your essay in logical order.
Every subtopic should reflect your thesis statement and bolster your position. Start with your introductory paragraph and then drill down into the finer points of the essay. Finally, address conflicting viewpoints and explain why you’ve taken the position you have.
A constructive way of coming up with opposing viewpoints is to write down bullet points from the other side. Then, think of all of the counterarguments that you’ve heard and write down logical rebuttals to them. If you’re having trouble coming up with counterarguments, search for your topic online and read a few papers that express differing views.
The best outlines are analytical, expository, and argumentative. They teach the audience something new through a logical process. Although your thesis statement can be based on opinion, it’s vital that you back it up with facts and explain why the audience should trust your authority.
Drafting Your Essay Outline
Now, it’s time to draft your essay outline. The more prep work you do in the beginning, the fewer edits that you’ll need to do later on. Identify what will go into your first paragraph and what the key points of your essay will be.
Write down these points and organize them into a logical framework. Try to blend the points into each other, guiding the reader on a comprehensive overview of why your thesis statement is important and correct. Every subtopic should echo your thesis statement.
All outlines should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Your introduction is a brief overview of your essay. Give your reader a general idea of what you’ll be covering and why it’s crucial. You don’t have to go into too much detail here, as your essay body will undoubtedly elaborate on your key points.
Your body will be the longest part of the essay and contain all of your subtopics. Please spend some time crafting and organizing your body so that it’s as straightforward as possible with a strong focus on accessibility. Remember, each body paragraph should bring something new to the essay.
The conclusion is where you wrap everything up. Make sure that you restate your thesis and hit on any critical points the essay addressed. You will want to write a powerful closing statement too.
Once you have your thesis statement and outline done, it’s time to start writing your essay. At this point, you should think about what style you want to use. Some high schools and colleges prefer APA style , whereas others want you to write your essay in AP style . If you don’t know which one your school is looking for, ask your professor or inquire at your writing center. There are guides for both online.
After you’re done writing your essay, read it through to ensure that it coincides with your thesis statement. If you’ve written your thesis statement and outline properly, there should be minimal content edits.
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