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How to Write a Good Thesis

by Tim

A good thesis introduces your essay by providing important context. This can include a description of existing perspectives or common cultural attitudes, as well as current events or controversies related to your topic.

A strong thesis statement takes a stand, justifies discussion and expresses one main idea. It should also avoid statements of fact.

Start with a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a sentence, usually near the end of your introduction paragraph, that sums up your argument. It tells the reader what your opinion is on the topic and how you intend to prove it. It also helps control the ideas within your essay.

To create a good thesis, start by distilling the assignment down to one question. For example, if your professor asks you to write an essay on Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, turn the request into a question like “What is the theme of Huckleberry Finn?”

Once you have the question in mind, figure out what position you want to take. A strong thesis is nuanced, recognizing that there’s an opposing viewpoint but firmly asserting your own point of view. It also makes the reader care about your position.

Once you’ve settled on a position, narrow down your argument. You may need to research more, depending on the subject, but make sure you limit the scope so that your final essay can be adequately covered in the length of your paper.

You can do this by limiting your subject, using a specific perspective or even using a debatable claim (i.e., world hunger is caused by tectonic plates). You can also use words like although, although, and but to help you narrow down your argument.

Be Specific

A strong thesis statement offers a precise assertion about the subject. It also hints at the complexities that will be explored in the paper, setting the stage for a nuanced exploration of the topic in the body of the essay. In contrast, a weak thesis may offer a broad assertion (e.g., Jane Eyre relates to ideas about feminism).

A thesis statement should be specific enough to support the research, argument and analysis that will be used to create the essay. It should also be specific enough to capture the attention of the reader and pique his interest in the subject matter.

It is important to review the thesis statement throughout the writing process to ensure it reflects what will be discussed in the essay and that the overall essay is consistent with the thesis statement. This will help ensure that the essay is unified and coherent and that it addresses the topic as thoroughly as possible.

A good thesis statement not only identifies the main idea, it also supports that main idea with examples and details and lost-cost. This makes the thesis statement more persuasive and helps readers to understand why your interpretation of the subject matter is valid.

It is also important that the thesis statement be arguable so that it invites discussion and debate rather than being a mere factual declaration.

Be Arguable

A good thesis statement must be able to be argued for. You want readers to be interested in the fact that you have a strong opinion about your subject. They should also be able to see your point of view and understand how your essay will support it.

The most effective way to ensure that your thesis is arguedable is to write it down. This forces you to think through your argument and identify its weak spots. Then you can take steps to strengthen it.

You may be tempted to be vague in your thesis statement, thinking that a less specific assertion will be more intriguing. However, be careful not to confuse vagueness with obscurity. A vague statement will be harder to defend than a clear, precise one.

A vague statement such as “The topic of this paper is about feminism” would be hard to argue for because it suggests that your essay will only consider the negative aspects of feminism. A more specific statement such as “Jane Eyre reflects the ideas of feminism” is a stronger argument because it outlines what your essay will discuss and gives you a focus to guide your research and writing.

Once you have a clear, concise, logically structured working thesis statement, it is a good idea to write it down on a separate sheet of paper and to show it to someone else. Ask them how they would argue against it and what they would say to counter your point of view. This will help you to better prepare for your arguments in class.

Be Concise

Most writers are familiar with the tendency to write more words than necessary. This is especially true when it comes to academic writing, where it can be easy for an essay to stray from its intended topic and become overly long and wordy. The most effective way to combat this problem is to be concise.

This is especially true when it comes to your thesis statement, which should be short and concise in order to give a clear indication of what you intend the rest of your paper to argue.

A good thesis will also help you to keep your essay’s structure logical and coherent. Your thesis sentence should signal to the reader not only what you will be arguing, but how your argument will be presented in the body of the essay.

For example, you could use your thesis to suggest that the three main points of your essay will be that online education is beneficial because of A, B and C.

It is important to remember that a thesis statement is a working hypothesis that will probably change throughout the writing process. It is a good idea to revisit your thesis statement often to make sure it accurately reflects the arguments that you will be making in the body of the essay.

It is also a good idea to anticipate counterarguments and try to make your argument as strong as possible against them.

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