The thesis statement is the most important part of your paper. It states the purpose and main idea of your essay to your audience. Your thesis statement conveys your position on a topic and provides focus for your essay. The form of your thesis statement will vary depending on the style of your writing. However, for most academic writing, your thesis should identify your subject and detail your position on that subject. A strong thesis statement will direct the structure of the essay. The thesis should be explicitly stated somewhere in the opening paragraphs of your paper, most often as the last sentence of the introduction. Often a thesis will be one sentence, but for complex subjects, you may find it more effective to break the thesis into two sentences.
Remember, your reader will be looking for your thesis. Make it clear, strong, and easy to find.
Attributes of a good thesis statement:
- It should be debatable, proposing an arguable point with which people could reasonably agree or disagree.
- A strong thesis takes a stand and justifies the discussion you will present.
- It tackles a topic that could be covered in the format and length of the project assigned.
- It is narrow, specific, and focused.
- It clearly asserts your own conclusion based on evidence, reasons, and research.
- It provides the reader with a map to guide him/her through your paper.
- It details what the reader can expect from the rest of the paper.
- It anticipates and refutes the counter-arguments.
- It avoids vague language (like "it seems").
- It avoids the first person. ("I believe," "In my opinion").
- It does not announce itself: "In this essay I will..."
Attributes of a weak thesis statement:
- It makes no claim.
- It is obviously true or a statement of fact.
- It restates conventional wisdom.
- It offers personal conviction as the basis for the claim.
- It makes an overly broad claim.
Thesis Statement template:
A simple equation for a thesis might look something like this:
- Specific topic + your opinion or the claim + the reasons you have for making that claim = Thesis
Example of a Good Thesis
Human trafficking in the United States can be reduced and possibly eliminated through education, government intervention, and awareness. Through these means, this illegal form of modern day slavery might finally be stopped.
Through education, government intervention, and awareness, human trafficking in the United States can be dramatically reduced to help end this illegal form of modern day slavery.
For more information on thesis statements, see the AWC Thesis Generator page.
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