how to set up a thesis
The thesis statement should do more than merely announce the topic; it must reveal what position you will take in relation to that topic, how you plan to analyze/evaluate the subject or the issue. In short, instead of merely stating a general fact or resorting to a simplistic pro/con statement, you must decide what it is you have to say.
The opposite of a focused, narrow, crisp thesis is a broad, sprawling, superficial thesis. Compare this original thesis (too general) with three possible revisions (more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic):
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.
To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
A summing up should repeat the most important issues raised in your thesis (particularly in the discussion), although preferably stated in a (slightly) different way. For example, you could frame the issues within a wider context.
For the contents in the various sections you may also confer Organising your writing.
An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. “While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline” is an effective thesis sentence that “telegraphs,” so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, “Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim.”
Anticipate the counterarguments. Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you’ll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn’t, then it’s not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)
Before even starting with your first sentence, ask yourself the question who your readers are. Your first and most important reader is your professor grading your work and the people ultimately responsible for you getting your diploma. You should also consider readers of your thesis who are not specialists in your field. Writing with them in your mind will help you to be as clear as possible which will make your thesis better understandable and more enjoyable overall.
A good introduction draws readers in while providing the setup for the entire paper. There is no single way to write an introduction that will always work for every topic, but the points below can act as a guide. These points can help you write a good thesis introduction: