Often all you need to identify the thesis of an article is the abstractthe brief summary, usually just a short paragraph, provided with the listing of many articles in most databases. This explains the main idea of the article and states what point it is trying to prove.
Keep in mind: Reference works do not have theses. Remember the definition of a thesis: a point that an essay is trying to prove. Reference works don�t try to prove a point. They simply report information. Usually it�s the more in-depth general interest works, and especially the scholarly sources, that have theses. So those are the ones you�ll want to focus on.
Avoid announcing the thesis statement as if it were a thesis statement. In other words, avoid using phrases such as “The purpose of this paper is . . . . ” or “In this paper, I will attempt to . . . .” Such phrases betray this paper to be the work of an amateur. If necessary, write the thesis statement that way the first time; it might help you determine, in fact, that this is your thesis statement. But when you rewrite your paper, eliminate the bald assertion that this is your thesis statement and write the statement itself without that annoying, unnecessary preface.
The thesis statement usually appears near the beginning of a paper. It can be the first sentence of an essay, but that often feels like a simplistic, unexciting beginning. It more frequently appears at or near the end of the first paragraph or two. Here is the first paragraph of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.’s essay The Crisis of American Masculinity. Notice how everything drives the reader toward the last sentence and how that last sentence clearly signals what the rest of this essay is going to do.
Works of literature, on the other hand, usually do not contain a specific sentence that sums up the core concept of the writing. However, readers should finish the piece with a good understanding of what the work was trying to convey. This is what’s called an implicit thesis statement: the primary point of the reading is conveyed indirectly, in multiple locations throughout the work. (In literature, this is also referred to as the theme of the work.)
In academic writing, the thesis is often explicit: it is included as a sentence as part of the text. It might be near the beginning of the work, but not always–some types of academic writing leave the thesis until the conclusion.
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