structure of a thesis statement
These words tell the reader next to nothing if you do not carefully explain what you mean by them. Never assume that the meaning of a sentence is obvious. Check to see if you need to define your terms (вЂќsocialism,” “conventional,” “commercialism,” “society”), and then decide on the most appropriate place to do so. Do not assume, for example, that you have the same understanding of what вЂњsocietyвЂќ means as your reader. To avoid misunderstandings, be as specific as possible.
- 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.
Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.
In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.
The first example is vague and obvious. The second example clearly lays out the sources and categories of information that your paper will explore.
The first example makes a generalizing statement – it isn’t clear what will be analyzed or why. The second example is much more specific, and guides the reader through the historical analysis that your paper will undertake.
- Reason why it is bad: Very weak thesis statement
- Good: Based on x statistic, more people prefer Starbucks coffee to Java City because of the flavors, quality and variety.
- It takes a stand on a topic
- Has specific details about the topic
- And expresses the main idea of the paper
While the specific characteristics of papers vary from discipline to discipline, the process of constructing an effective paper is similar: The writer gathers ideas or knowledge generated in the planning stage, determines the most effective form in which to present this knowledge given the audience and discipline, and determines the best methods of presenting the thesis within this form. Effective writing is not linear from planning to writing to final draft. Rather, effective writers glide between writing stages as they constantly re-vision, re-construct, and re-form ideas. This handout provides some helpful advice on the drafting process.
The Writing Centre is a free service for students who want to improve their writing skills. Whether you are writing academic, business or personal documents, we can help you articulate ideas and structure your writing plan