how to word a thesis statement
Tip: In order to write a successful thesis statement:
- Original thesis:
- There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. (a fill-in-the-blank formula)
- Revised theses:
- Careful manipulation of data allows a researcher to use statistics to support any claim she desires.
- In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report.
- Because advertisers consciously and unconsciously manipulate data, every consumer should learn how to evaluate statistical claims.
Bad: The internet has improved the lives of many.
– Again, while readers may agree with this and your statement may be true, how has the internet improved people’s lives? Also, you should run your thesis statement past the “What’s in it for me?” test. Why should readers care?
Good: The internet serves as a means of expediently connecting people across the globe, fostering new friendships and an exchange of ideas that wouldn’t have occurred prior to its inception.
– While the internet offers a host of benefits, we’re choosing to hone in on its ability to foster new friendships and exchange ideas. We’d also have to prove how this couldn’t have happened prior to the internet’s inception – and that is good. The tighter your focus, the better your paper.
Bad: Organ donors should be financially compensated.
– Why? What happens to them that causes you to take this stance?
Good: Given the grueling surgery and lifelong changes they endure, kidney donors should be financially compensated for their act of self-sacrifice.
– There are many forms of living organ donation. As with any good thesis, you want to get as specific as possible. Now, our stance is clear and the reader will understand that we’re about to describe the grueling process of kidney donation as well as any forthcoming lifestyle changes.
This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).
A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.
Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.
An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. “Reasons for the fall of communism” is a topic. “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” is a fact known by educated people. “The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe” is an opinion. (Superlatives like “the best” almost always lead to trouble. It’s impossible to weigh every “thing” that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn’t that be “the best thing”?)
Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.
Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.