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: All retirees should relocate to Florida.
– Your research paper or essay will need to delve into numerous supporting claims. This broad thesis statement runs the risk of allowing you to go off on several tangents.
Good: Retirees should relocate to Florida, where 75% of Americans choose to settle, because you will afford yourself the opportunity to develop a wide array of friendships.
– From here, you can introduce a paragraph on the importance of friendship and then cite studies or testimonials describing how people can discover these important new relationships.
Avoid formula and generic words. Search for concrete subjects and active verbs, revising as many “to be” verbs as possible. A few suggestions below show how specific word choice sharpens and clarifies your meaning.
Tip: Check your thesis:
State ment of fact:
- Narrows the topic down to a specific focus of an investigation.
- Establishes a direction for the entire paper.
- Points forward to the conclusion.
- Always stated in your introduction. (Usually at the end of the first paragraph).
- Always take a stand and justify further discussion.
A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should “telegraph” how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.
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.”
For the sake of example, let’s say that you’ve chosen to argue the merits of eating locally grown foods. You want to focus on the positive effects that this will have on one’s health, the local economy, and on global ecology. You also want to dispel the myth that eating locally is more expensive, and therefore, the exclusive purview of the upper middle class.
A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.