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How to Write a Thesis Statement for Your Academic Paper

Written by  May 06, 2021

A thesis statement is a crucial part of any academic paper, as it gives the reader an impression of what it is about. To a certain extent, a well-written statement tells everything the reader needs to know about the paper, and either motivates them to read on or shows that there is nothing of interest specifically for them in this piece of writing. While the introduction makes the all-important first impression, it is the thesis statement that carries it further and defines what the audience will think of your paper as a whole. This is why it is so important to pay attention to what you write in this section and how you go about it. In this article, we will describe a few tips that will help you formulate your thesis statements to immediately grasp the attention of any reader.

How to Come up with a Good Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main point of your paper with everything superficial trimmed off, leaving only the most essential information. Ideally, it should be no longer than a single middle-length sentence, two at most.

A good thesis statement starts with a question – after all, almost all academic assignments can be reduced to a single simple question. Think about the topic you were given (or chose on your own) in general and try to single out a question you would like to answer. After that, you can do a bit of preliminary research to define your tentative answer. You do not have to stick to it to the end – after all, the very nature of research presupposes that you look for new information, and it can refute your original preconception.

After that, you can continue your research to get the additional information and develop your answer. Focus not just on what you believe to be true, but why it is so and how you can convince the audience that you are correct. A good thesis statement is not just an answer to a question – it is also the summary of your entire argument.

Difference between a Thesis Statement, a Topic, and a Research Question

Many students find the idea of a thesis statement confusing and often mix it up with other concepts, such as the research question and the topic. However, these things couldn’t be more different. Remember, the thesis statement is, well, a statement – it expresses your claim about what you believe to be the answer to a certain question. For example, “Surveys show that pet owners on average report higher subjective levels of happiness than those who do not own pets”.

The topic outlines the area of research and determines the boundaries beyond which you are not going to go in your paper. For example, for the aforementioned thesis statement, the topic would be “Influence of pet ownership on a person’s subjective level of happiness”.

The research question asks the main question you intend to answer in your paper. For the aforementioned example, it would be “How does pet ownership influence a person’s subjectively reported level of happiness?”

Qualities of a Top-Notch Thesis Statement

All good thesis statements share certain qualities. If you want yours to stand out, you should remember them throughout the entire process of writing.

So, your thesis statement should - 

❏ Be short. Boil down your entire argument to a single mid-sized sentence (about 30 words), two sentences at the most. The reader should grasp the gist of your research from it in a few moments. The very purpose of a thesis statement is to give the reader this opportunity without having to read through the entire paper;

❏ Express a single point. If you find that you have to mention two or more points in your thesis statement, you are doing something wrong. Check your argument for focus – it may mean that you fail to concentrate on one important thing;

❏ Be specific. Make sure the reader can understand you in one way only. Do not leave any ambiguities. For the best results, show your thesis statement to someone and ask what conclusions he/she makes about it;

❏ Require proof. A self-evident statement that everyone knows to be true cannot be a thesis statement. For example, “Huckleberry Finn is one of the most influential American novels” is not a thesis statement for this very reason. A thesis statement is a statement that requires additional evidence and/or analysis to be proven true. In other words, a good thesis statement is an idea that other people may disagree with.

How to Further Improve Your Thesis Statement

A good thesis statement reflects the nature of the paper you write. For example, in an argumentative essay, it should take a strong stance on something. As the purpose of the essay is to persuade the readers about something, you should express an idea that requires persuading someone to believe.

In contrast, the goal of an expository essay is to explain something. Your audience may not agree with your explanation, but it does not concern you – as long as you use proper evidence in favor of your explanation, you are good.

In an analytical paper, you have to point out a specific characteristic of the subject matter you are going to focus on and what conclusions your analysis leads to.

These are just a few examples – you should adjust your thesis statement to your assignment based on what you write.

Find a proper place for your thesis statement in your paper – usually, it is just after the introduction, when you already established the topic but before you dive deep into it. The reader should know where to look for it so that he/she can immediately find out what your essay is all about.

If you find it difficult to write a thesis statement using these tips, it is still not a reason to feel worried. There are plenty of paper writers for hire online, and some of them are really good at what they do. You just have to find a reliable writing agency to deal with.


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