Research Help

What is a Thesis Statement?

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With a topic in mind and some preliminary background research completed, it's time to work on your thesis statement. This is an important part of your paper, so let's get to work!

A thesis statement can do many things:

  • Answers a question.
  • Interprets a theory.
  • Makes a claim.
  • Explains an idea.

Think of your thesis statement as a road map. It tells your reader what to expect while reading your paper. Usually it is placed somewhere near the beginning of your paper and is a single sentence. The rest of your paper should gather evidence to support your thesis statement!

Here are the basic steps of creating a thesis statement:

  • Select a topic.
  • Ask a question about the topic.
  • Change the question into a thesis statement. 
  • Revise your thesis statement as needed.

How To Write a Thesis Statement

Purdue Owl Writing Tips

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1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing (analytical, expository, or argumentative).

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.

Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab for more tips on writing thesis statements!

Creating a Strong Thesis

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I taken a 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 and without wandering?
  • Does my thesis inspire a reasonable reader to ask "How?" or Why?"
  • Does my thesis avoid general phrasing and/or sweeping words such as "all" or "none" or "every"?
  • Does my thesis lead the reader toward the topic sentences (the subtopics needed to prove the thesis)?
  • Can the thesis be adequately developed in the required length of the paper or project?

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