What is a persuasive essay?
A persuasive essay is one in which you attempt to get the reader to agree with your point of view. You are trying to present arguments, research, and ideas in order to sway the reader one way or the other.
What are the parts of a persuasive essay?
- Thesis statement: The argument or the point you are trying to make, and it is found in your introduction.
- Introduction: This paragraph describes the problem, the reason why the audience should care, and the point you are trying to make (your thesis statement).
- Counterargument: The counterarguement, or the argument opponents of your point of view will hold, should be included early in your essay. It is important to present the argument fairly. Be sure to refute the counterargument with your main objections to it.
- Body paragraphs : These paragraphs support your thesis with evidence from credible resources.
- Conclusion: This paragraph wraps up your essay by summarizing the main points and restating the thesis.
Do you have any examples?
Check out the files below for examples!
Hamilton, C. (2011). Anthem guide to essay writing. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rasmussen.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1105242&site=eds-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_58
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How to Create a Thesis Statement for a Persuasive Essay
A strong thesis statement is key to writing a persuasive essay. The thesis statement presents your topic to the reader, provides your opinion on that topic and summarizes the argument you’ll make in the paper by offering evidence for your opinion. A good thesis statement should capture all of these essential details in just one or two sentences. The thesis statement generally appears after a brief introduction of your topic, often as the last sentence of your first paragraph. The following information will help you write a thesis statement for a persuasive essay.
Express an Opinion
When you sit down to write a thesis statement, make sure that you have a clear opinion about your topic. That’s because a thesis statement must include a claim that others might dispute. Your thesis summarizes the argument you’ll be making in your paper, so you want to make sure that your point of view is clear and debatable. An easy way to test your thesis is to ask yourself whether your reader could challenge or oppose your thesis statement. If your thesis simply states facts that someone couldn’t disagree with, you may simply be summarizing an issue rather than presenting a clear point of view.
A strong thesis statement is focused and specific. The reader should know exactly what you’re going to argue and why. “Online education is a great choice for students” is a weak thesis because it’s not specific or focused enough. A stronger thesis would be, “Online classes are a better choice than traditional classroom learning because they’re more flexible for students and teachers, they're less expensive and they let students works at their own pace.”
It’s important to include evidence in your thesis statement to help support your opinion. Doing so tells readers that you understand the topic and have performed some research, which gives you more credibility as a persuasive writer. It also creates a road map for readers, so they know what evidence you’ll discuss with more detail in the paper. For example, if your thesis is, “Companies should not test their products on animals because it’s inhumane and unethical, and it doesn’t always lead to accurate results,” the reader knows right away what your opinion is and what evidence you'll provide to support that opinion in your paper.
Pass the "How and Why" Test
Your thesis statement should answer one or both of two key questions: “how” and “why.” For example, if you think that online learning is more effective for students than traditional instruction, then your thesis should tell readers how or why it’s more effective. If a reader can't determine the "how" or "why" from your thesis statement, your thesis might be too open-ended, and you may need to revise it to be more specific or to clarify your point of view.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Thesis Statements
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
- Odyssey: From Paragraph to Essay; William J. Kelly and Deborah L. Lawton.
Amy Mahoney has been a writer for more than 15 years. Her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines including “The Boston Globe,” “Reader’s Digest” and the “Miami Herald.” She holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction.
Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Parts of a Paper / How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement
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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Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
Developing Strong Thesis Statements
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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.
The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable
An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.
Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:
This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.
Example of a debatable thesis statement:
This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.
Another example of a debatable thesis statement:
In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.
The thesis needs to be narrow
Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.
Example of a thesis that is too broad:
There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.
Example of a narrow or focused thesis:
In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.
We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:
Narrowed debatable thesis 1:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.
Narrowed debatable thesis 2:
This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.
Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.
Types of claims
Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.
Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:
Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:
Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:
Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:
Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.
What is a Thesis Statement and How to Write It (with Examples)
A thesis statement is basically a sentence or two that summarizes the central theme of your research. In research papers and essays, it is typically placed at the end of the introduction section, which provides broad knowledge about the investigation/study. To put it simply, the thesis statement can be thought of as the main message of any film, which is communicated through the plot and characters. Similar to how a director has a vision, the author(s) in this case has an opinion on the subject that they wish to portray in their research report.
In this article, we will provide a thorough overview on thesis statements, addressing the most frequently asked questions, including how authors arrive at and create a thesis statement that effectively summarizes your research. To make it simpler, we’ve broken this information up into subheadings that focus on different aspects of writing the thesis statement.
Table of Contents
- What is a thesis statement?
- What should a thesis statement include (with examples)?
- How to write a thesis statement in four steps?
- How to generate a thesis statement?
- Types of thesis statements?
- Key takeaways
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement, in essence, is a sentence that summarizes the main concept the author(s) wishes to investigate in their research. A thesis statement is often a “question/hypothesis” the author(s) wants to address, using a certain methodology or approach to provide sufficient evidence to support their claims and findings. However, it isn’t necessarily the topic sentence (first sentence) in a research paper introduction, which could be a general statement.
Returning to our movie analogy, a thesis statement is comparable to the particular viewpoint a director wants to convey to his audience. A thesis statement tells the reader the fundamental idea of the study and the possible course it will take to support that idea. A well-structured thesis statement enables the reader to understand the study and the intended approach, so both its placement and clarity matter here. An appropriately placed thesis statement, usually at the end of an introductory paragraph, ensures the reader will not lose interest. A thesis statement plays another crucial role, it summarizes the main idea behind the study so that readers will understand the question the author is trying to answer. It gives the reader some background information and a sense of the topic’s wider context while also hinting at the work or experimental approach that will come next. To summarize, thesis statements are generally that one key phrase you skim over to rapidly understand the thesis of a study.
What should a thesis statement include (with examples)?
Now that we have understood the concept, the next step is learning how to write a good thesis statement. A strong thesis statement should let the reader understand how well-versed you are, as an author, in the subject matter of the study and your position on the topic at hand. The elements listed below should be considered while crafting a statement for your thesis or paper to increase its credibility and impact.
- The author should take a position that a sizable portion of the readership may disagree with. The subject should not be a well-known, well-defined issue with just unanimity of view. This form of thesis statement is typically viewed as weak because it implies that there is nothing substantial to investigate and demonstrate. To pique readers’ interest, the thesis statement should be debatable in some way, and the findings should advance the body of knowledge.
- A review of pertinent literature on the subject is a must in order for the author to establish an informed opinion about the questions they wish to pose and the stance they would want to take during their study, this is the basis to develop a strong thesis statement. The authors of the study should be able to support their statements with relevant research, strengthening their stance by citing literature.
- The thesis statement should highlight just one main idea, with each claim made by the authors in the paper demonstrating the accuracy of the statement. Avoid multiple themes running throughout the article as this could confuse readers and undermine the author’s perspective on the subject. It can also be a sign of the authors’ ambiguity.
- The main objective of a thesis statement is to briefly describe the study’s conclusion while posing a specific inquiry that clarifies the author’s stance or perspective on the subject. Therefore, it is crucial to clearly establish your viewpoint in the statement.
Based on the considerations above, you may wonder how to write a thesis statement for different types of academic essays. Expository and argumentative essays, the most common types of essays, both call for a statement that takes a stand on the issue and uses powerful language. These kinds of thesis statements need to be precise and contain enough background material to give a comprehensive picture of the subject. However, in persuasive essays, which typically integrate an emotive perspective and personal experiences, the opinions are presented as facts that need supporting evidence. The sole difference between argumentative and expository essays and persuasive essays is that the former require the use of strong viewpoints, while the latter does not. Last but not least, the thesis statement for a compare-and-contrast essay addresses two themes rather than just one. Authors can choose to concentrate more on examining similarities or differences depending on the nature of the study; the only caveat is that both topics must receive equal attention to prevent biases.
How to write a thesis statement in four steps?
Coming up with a research question might be challenging in situations when the research topic is not decided or it’s a new field of study. You may want to delve deeper into a widely researched subject, continue with your current research, or pursue a topic you are passionate about. If you don’t have a thesis statement yet, here are four easy stages to get you started.
- Start with a working thesis statement : Writing the statement is not so straightforward; you won’t magically write the final thesis statement at once. It is preferable to choose an initial working thesis after reviewing relevant literature on the topic. Once you have chosen a subject that interests you, attempt to think of a specific query that has not been raised or that would be fascinating to contribute to the body of literature. For example, if you are writing an article or paper about ChatGPT, you could want to look into how ChatGPT affects learning among students. You can even get more specific, like, “How does ChatGPT harm learning and education?”
- Outline your answer (your positioning on the subject): Based on your review of past research, you would form an opinion about the subject—in this example, the effect of ChatGPT on students’ learning—and then you write down your tentative answer to this question. If your initial response is that ChatGPT use has a detrimental impact on education and learning, this would serve as the foundation for your research. Your study would include research and findings to support this assertion and persuade the reader to accept your hypothesis.
- Provide evidence to support your claim : The goal of your study should be to back your hypothesis with enough evidence, relevant facts and literature, to support your claim and explain why you selected that particular response (in this case, why you believe that ChatGPT has a negative impact on learning and education). The focus should be on discussing both the benefits and drawbacks of using ChatGPT and demonstrating why the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. An argumentative thesis statement example on the same topic would be that, despite ChatGPT’s enormous potential as a virtual learning tool for students, it has a detrimental effect on their creativity and critical thinking skills and encourages problematic behaviors like cheating and plagiarism.
- Polish your thesis statement: After outlining your initial statement, improve it by keeping these three elements in mind.
- Does it make it clear what position you hold on the subject?
- Does it effectively connect the various facets of the study topic together?
- Does it summarize the key points of your narrative?
The thesis statement will also gain from your comments on the approach you will employ to validate your claim. For example, the aforementioned thesis statement may be clarified as “Although ChatGPT has enormous potential to serve as a virtual tutor for students and assistant to instructors, its disadvantages, such as plagiarism and the creation of false information, currently outweigh the advantages.” This particular illustration offers a thoughtful discussion of the subject, enabling the author to make their case more persuasively.
How to generate a thesis statement?
No matter how complicated, any thesis or paper may be explained in one or two sentences. Just identify the question your research aims to answer, then write a statement based on your anticipated response. An effective thesis statement will have the following characteristics:
- It should have a take on the subject (which is contentious/adds to existing knowledge)
- It should express a main topic (other themes should only be included if they connect to the main theme)
- It should declare your conclusion about the issue
- It should be based on an objective, broad outlook on the subject.
To understand how to write a thesis statement from scratch, let’s use an example where you may want to learn about how mental and physical health are related.
Since the subject is still broad, you should first conduct a brainstorming session to acquire further thoughts. After reading literature, you determine that you are curious to learn how yoga enhances mental health. To develop a compelling thesis statement, you must further narrow this topic by posing precise questions that you can answer through your research. You can ask, “How does yoga affect mental health. What is the possible mean”? This topic makes it plain to the reader what the study is about but it is necessary for you to adopt a position on the issue. Upon further deliberation, the premise can be rephrased as “Yoga, a low impact form of exercise, positively impacts people’s mental health by lowering stress hormones and elevating healthy brain chemicals.” This clearly states your position on the topic. Finally, you may further develop this into a clear, precise thesis statement that asks, “Does practicing yoga induce feel-good hormones and lower the stress hormone, cortisol, that positively affects people’s mental health?” to turn it into a study.
Types of thesis statements?
The three primary categories of thesis statements are analytical, expository, and argumentative. You choose one over the other depending on the subject matter of your research or essay. In argumentative thesis statements, the author takes a clear stand and strives to persuade the reader of their claims, for example, “Animal agriculture is the biggest driver of climate change.” It is specific, concise, and also contentious. On the other hand, the purpose of an expository thesis statement is to interpret, assess, and discuss various facets of a subject. Here you shortlist the key points of your interpretation, and state the conclusion based on the interpretation you drew from the study. An analytical thesis statement aims to discuss, glean information on the subject, and explain the facts of the topic. Here, the goal is to critically analyze and summarize the points you will cover in the study.
- A good thesis statement summarizes the central idea of your thesis or research paper.
- It serves as a compass to show the reader what the research will contend and why.
- Before creating a thesis statement, keep in mind that the statement should be specific, coherent, and controversial.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A thesis statement can be defined as a sentence that describes the main idea of the research or thesis to inform the reader of the argument the research will pursue and the reason the author adopts a specific stance on the subject. Essentially, it expresses the author’s judgment or opinion based on a review of the literature or personal research experience.
Any academic essay or research piece must have a thesis statement since it directs the research and attracts the reader’s attention to the main idea of the subject under discussion. In addition to confining the author to a specific subject, so they don’t veer off topic, it also enables the reader to understand the topic at hand and what to expect.
To create an impactful thesis statement, simply follow these four easy steps. Start by creating a working statement by posing the question that your research or thesis will attempt to answer. Then, outline your initial response and choose your position on the matter. Next, try to substantiate your claim with facts or other relevant information. Finally, hone your final thesis statement by crafting a cogent narrative using knowledge gained in the previous step.
Ideally the thesis statement should be placed at the end of an introduction of the paper or essay. Keep in mind that it is different from the topic sentence, which is more general.
We hope this in-depth guide has allayed your concerns and empowered you to start working craft a strong statement for your essay or paper. Good luck with drafting your next thesis statement!
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