OpenThesis is a free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents, coupled with powerful search, organization, and collaboration tools.
We hope that you will take a moment to upload your theses, dissertations and other publications — and ask your colleagues to do the same. The more comprehensive our database is, the more useful it is to everyone!
A thesis statement is powerful on two fronts. First, it allows the reader to get excited about what, specifically, is coming their way. Second, it stands as the point of reference for your entire paper.
For example, saying “European travel is a good way to spend your summer,” is not specific enough. Why is European travel good? Further examine the heart of your topic and focus on very specific areas of European travel that you can realistically cover and support with solid evidence.
First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author’s argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)
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.
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- Be prepared to answer вЂњSo what?вЂќ about your thesis statement.
- Be prepared to explain why the point you are making is worthy of a paper. Why should the reader read it?
Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the “meat” of it. Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don’t settle for three pages of just skimming the surface.