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How to Write a Thesis Statement

College
Written by Chanelle Garzon
Updated: March 29, 2024
11 min read
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Think about the last time you made an argument in favor of or against something/someone. Think about your stance and how you delivered your message to your audience. Were your points valid? Did they make sense? Did you get your message across concisely and thoroughly? Now, did you realize that your argument ended with a thesis statement? Yep, it's true, and it can be that simple for your academic essays, as well.

Today's topic is all about the thesis statement: the different types of thesis statements, what makes a thesis statement good, what to include in a thesis statement, and how a thesis statement can be used in the future. I'll also give you some tips on how to write a thesis statement, as well as how to prepare a thesis statement, so if you have papers coming due, mid-terms or simply want to know how to write a good thesis statement, look no further. I got you!

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What Is a Thesis Statement?

Before we get started, I think it's important to go over what exactly a thesis statement is, so we don't get it confused with anything else.

A thesis statement is a summary of the main point, central idea, or claim of an essay, research paper, or any other piece of academic writing. It usually appears at the end of the introduction and prepares the reader on what to expect in the rest of your paper.

When I was in school, I remember struggling when it came to sorting out my thoughts and putting my ideas, thesis statement and supporting evidence down on paper. If you're someone who deals the same obstacles, one thing that worked for me was thinking of it like a real-life argument. Ask yourself what the main point you're trying to make is and boom. You got yourself a compelling thesis statement.

Types of thesis statements

However, things can get tricky if you don't know what kind of thesis statement you're writing. There are several types of thesis statements that can be used depending on the purpose and structure of your paper. Let's talk about them:

  1. Analytical thesis statement: This type of thesis breaks down an issue or idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  2. Expository thesis statement: This type of thesis explains something to the audience, presenting information in a clear and concise manner.
  3. Argumentative thesis statement: This type of thesis makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence and reasoning.
  4. Narrative thesis statement: This type of thesis tells a story or recounts an event, providing a narrative structure to the academic work.

So, before you start your paper, I suggest carefully going over your essay guidelines to figure out what kind of thesis statement you're aiming to write. Whether it be for expository and argumentative essays or persuasive essays, if your thesis statement adheres to the rules of the essay, you'll be good to go.

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What to Include in a Thesis Statement

Now, I don't want to give the impression that writing a solid thesis statement is all you need to be compelling in your argument because it's not. There are several components you should include in your thesis statement to really make it stand out to your audience. These components are (but are not limited to):

1. Knowing the main topic/subject of your paper. Clearly state what the paper is about to provide context for the reader.

2. Having a specific claim or argument. Make a clear and concise statement that outlines your main point or position on the topic.

3. Showcasing the scope of your paper: Provide a preview of the main points or arguments that will be discussed in the paper to give the reader an idea of what to expect.

4. The significance of your argument: Explain why your claim is important/relevant to the topic being discussed.

While these are a few key elements you should have in your thesis statement, they're also not the end-all-be-all. You want to make sure that your main point is strong and backed with supporting evidence and clear opinions on the topic at hand, as well.

best way to write a thesis statement

Best Way to Write a Thesis Statement

Like most things, writing a thesis statement takes the right amount of concentration and dedication. This means zero distractions and 100% focus. I know—zero distractions can be difficult, but it’s completely doable! All you need is a fresh piece of paper, a pen, and discipline. Here, let’s go over some of the best ways to write a thesis statement.

First, you’re going to want to get rid of any distractions. Yes, that means your cellphone (don’t hate me!). Along with your cellphone, you want to make sure you remove any other devices like TVs, radios, etc. from your vicinity to remain focused. This can also mean people and places, as well. Make sure you set yourself up in a quiet, no-traffic area to make sure there is nothing and no one around that can deter you from the task at hand.

You also want to make sure you prioritize your time and block out a piece of your day to get this done. By setting aside time for your academic essays, you are setting yourself up for success. And if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, that’s totally okay.

You have to figure out what works best with your schedule, so even if it’s 30 minutes to write down your topic sentence, central ideas, or even a working final thesis statement, that helps! Anything counts. You just want to make sure you don’t waste the time you have.

And don’t neglect yourself from breaks. I know that being in a role can be exhilarating—your brain is working, your thoughts are flowing, and work is getting done, but you don’t want to burn yourself out too fast.

Make sure you take 5-to-10-minute breaks every 30 minutes to an hour to keep your momentum. Just don’t get lost in the break! Train yourself to have enough discipline to give yourself some grace but still be able to pick up right where you left off.

Preparing Your Thesis Statement

There’s something about hearing the words ‘thesis statement’ that immediately overwhelms you, but it doesn’t have to. If you have a plan, coming up with a solid thesis statement can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. That’s why preparing your thesis statement can help you effectively convey the main point or argument of your work. Here are some steps to help you prepare a strong thesis statement:

  1. Understand the assignment: It sounds silly to say, but you want to make sure you fully understand the requirements and expectations of your assignment before working your thesis statement. If you need to, ask questions to clarify any confusion you may have.
  2. Choose a topic: Writing can be boring for some, so you want to choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to the assignment. Consider the scope of the topic and how you can narrow it down to your specific focus of interest.
  3. Conduct research: It’s important to gather any relevant information and evidence there is to support your thesis statement, even if you aren’t working on a research paper. It can be tedious, but trust me, it will help you develop a strong argument.
  4. Brainstorm ideas: Take the time to brainstorm different angles or perspectives on your topic. I’m a huge believer in details, so think of any background context or supporting evidence for your topic. Consider different approaches to your argument that you can use in your thesis statement, as well.
  5. Draft your thesis statement: Based on your research and brainstorming, draft a preliminary thesis statement that clearly states the main point or argument of your paper.
  6. Revise and refine: Review your thesis statement and revise it as many times as necessary. Step away from your work and revisit it if you need to. This will help you make sure it is specific, arguable, clear, and focused.
  7. Seek feedback: Consider sharing your thesis statement with peers, instructors, or writing tutors to get feedback and suggestions for improvement. Constructive feedback always helps

I know these are just tips I like to follow, but they are meant to set you up for success, as well. By taking them into consideration, you can effectively prepare a strong and well-crafted thesis statement for your academic work.

How to Write a Thesis Statement

While there is no one way of knowing how to write a thesis statement, there are some rules you can follow to make it easier on yourself. To write a good, working thesis statement, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the topic: First thing, determine the topic/subject of your paper. (I found this is best done in the form of an outline)
  2. Narrow down the focus: Narrow down your topic to a specific aspect or angle that you want to explore in your paper.
  3. Make a claim: Form a clear and concise statement that presents your main argument or position on the topic.
  4. Provide reasons: Include reasons or evidence that support your claim and give context to your argument.
  5. Revise and refine: Again, edit, edit, edit. Review your thesis statement multiple times if necessary to ensure it is clear and focused. Revise as needed to strengthen your statement and deepen your argument.
  6. Place the thesis statement: Typically, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction paragraph to guide the reader on what to expect in the rest of the paper.

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I can assure you that these are the key elements you need for a strong thesis. Follow me, and I’ll lead you to more academic success.

writing a thesis statement for essay

Tips for Writing a Thesis Statement

Everyone has their own way of doing things, especially when it comes to learning, and if I want anything, it's to help set you up with the clearest, most organized way to write a thesis statement. Here are some tips I like to follow when writing a thesis statement. I hope they work for you, too.

  • Be specific: Your thesis statement should clearly state the main point or argument of your paper in a concise and specific manner.
  • Create an Outline:
  • Have an argument: Your thesis statement should present a claim that can be debated or challenged by others. Avoid stating facts or obvious statements.
  • Be clear: Your thesis statement should provide a clear direction for the reader and what they should expect to be in the rest of the paper.
  • Stay focused: Your thesis statement should address a single main idea or topic. Avoid including multiple ideas in one thesis statement.

Feel free to add or put your own twist on tips for thesis statements. It's important that you create or find your own way of doing these things so they can help you in the future.

What Makes a Thesis Statement Strong?

A strong thesis statement possesses many factors. It isn't summed up in a single sentence or general statement. The tone you set in your first paragraph is the tone for the entirety of your paper. For instance, specificity. Being clear and precise makes the main point or argument of the paper that much more impactful. It also provides clarity on the subject, which makes it easy to understand and provides a clear direction for the reader.

Your argument is also key. It presents a straightforward claim that can be debated or challenged by others. A good argument can help compare and contrast ideas and which only strengthens your thesis. Your argument should also be relevant and directly relate to the topic of the paper and guide the reader on what to expect, as well as focused and supported by evidence, reasoning, or analysis throughout the paper.

But most importantly, your thesis should be original. Having a unique main idea presents interesting, out-of-the-box perspectives on the topic, which can leave a lasting impression as an academic. This will keep your reader engaged and interested in your work.

Using Thesis Statements in the Future

There is no way of telling when you'll be using thesis statements in your future, especially once you graduate from school, but I promise you you will, without realizing it, for instance, in a regular discussion with a friend, family member, colleague, or peer.

We don't notice how the conversations and discussions we have with others are just essays in verbal form. They, too, include main ideas, specific details, and an argument, all leading up to a thesis statement.

Aside from essays, thesis statements can be found in presentations and reports in professional settings, as well. When giving presentations or reviewing reports, a thesis statement will help structure your content and communicate your main message effectively to your audience. It will articulate the main findings or recommendations of your work.

Example Thesis Statements

It's only fair that I leave examples of thesis statements for you to review and gain ideas from. They can also be used as blueprints for any future essays you have.

Example 1: "Studying abroad is one of the most valuable experiences one can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own."

Example 2: "Learning how to manage money at a young age can not only set you up for financial success, it can also help you build a life of financial freedom for your future."

Example 3: "The quality of TV series today has grown so much over the last few years and sometimes matches the one of a full-length film, even though the two forms have some dramatic differences."

Be sure to do more research on thesis statement examples in order to sharpen your skills, as well as thought processes for upcoming essays or presentations you may have in the future. You have all the tools for success. Now it's time to put them to use!

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writing a thesis statement

Frequently Asked Questions About Writing a Thesis Statement

What makes a thesis statement good?

A good thesis statement is made up of different elements, like identifying a topic, making an argument, and supporting your claims with specific examples and evidence. Make sure you don't derail from your topic, and remember to stay focused on the argument at hand.

What is something to keep in mind when writing a thesis statement?

When writing a thesis statement, keep in mind that you will need 100% of your focus in order to form a solid thesis statement. Disconnect yourself from social media, electronics, and any other devices you may have that keep you distracted. Find yourself a quiet place you can work from and watch how the ideas pour out of you like water!

When will you use thesis statements?

You may stop writing essays once you graduate from college, but that doesn't mean forming a quality thesis statement is going to leave you. Though I can't say when and where, I can guarantee you will use thesis statements in your everyday life, like when you are having a discussion with others, presenting a professional report at work, or simply engaging in debates with others. The writing stops, but knowing how to make a good argument stays with you for life.

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Chanelle Garzon
Content Writer

About Chanelle

Chanelle is a dedicated and seasoned writer, editor, and researcher. She’s familiar with college admissions, finding and applying for scholarships, and the financial aid process.

She graduated from the University of South Florida with a major in English, Creative Writing with a specialization in Technical Writing.

Experience

Chanelle has over a decade of experience in the writing industry, specializing in blog writing, SEO writing, editing, translations, corporate writing, and various forms of creative writing. She founded and operated Femme Feature Magazine, an online and print publication dedicated to celebrating women in all corners of the creative field. An avid reader, Chanelle is constantly seeking refined and innovative ways to tell her stories. Writing is her foremost passion, and she is always on the lookout for her next narrative adventure.

Since joining the Bold.org team as a Content Writer in 2023, Chanelle has brought her enthusiasm for merging the writing and digital worlds. She is dedicated to assisting students and young adults in navigating their educational and professional journeys.

Chanelle's unwavering commitment to her craft and her dedication to helping others shine through in her work. Leveraging her personal and professional experiences, she provides invaluable support to students, empowering them to achieve their goals and realize their potential.

Quote from Chanelle

“There is always a way to say the same thing over and over again. You just have to be creative and think outside the box.”


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