For some writers, a thesis statement can be the most difficult part of the paper to write because it requires the writer to closely consider what the paper is about. Want to make the process easier? Keep these tips in mind!
1. To begin. Write down a few ideas about your paper — not a full outline or even half of an outline, but just a few basic points you intend to discuss. This will make it easier for you to identify what your argument will be.
2. Your thesis has to make an ARGUMENT. This may be the most important tip of all! If your paper is not an argument, it does not contain any analysis, which means you are really just summarizing. Make your thesis a bold statement that encompasses your analysis or argument of the subject (and not your summary of the subject).
Check out this summary-only thesis from a paper about Don Quijote:
The finis Africae houses a censored book, the second text of Aristotle, which none of the monks are allowed to read. William searches for the entrance of the finis Africae to explain the mysteries at the abbey.
Can you see how this example simply summarizes what happened in the book? This example could work as an introduction to your thesis, but this statement alone does not give the reader your INTERPRETATION of the summary!
Check out the rewritten thesis from this paper about Don Quijote:
The monks’ lust for knowledge leads to the corruption of their morals and ultimately the destruction of the abbey.
This is not a fact stated in the book. The bulk of the paper will be used to prove that the monks’ lust actually caused these events.
3. The first paragraph. Your thesis should almost always be the last sentence of your first paragraph. In the paper’s introductory paragraph, introduce the subject, any important background information, and then your own interpretation (thesis statement).
4. Be Specific. If you use vague wording, your argument is unclear. Stay away from words that have little real meaning, like “interesting” or “odd.” Instead, explain what you found interesting or odd about it and your interpretation of what this means for the subject.
5. Be concise but thorough. Your thesis statement should not give all the details of your interpretation. Try to keep your statement to one sentence; only rarely are two sentences required, although you may include a few sentences before your thesis to explain the context.
6. Ask for feedback. Once you have a completed thesis statement, get feedback from a writing tutor, your professor, or a peer from class (better yet — all three!). This step will help ensure that your thesis is a solid one. If your thesis needs more work, tutors and professors can guide you in the right direction.