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Thesis statements

The heart of the matter

Any thesis is a succinct statement to inform any reader about what a piece of non-fiction prose is going to precisely examine and how that is a significant contribution to our knowledge.

Often a thesis is obscure, hidden or uncovered only later in an essay. Unless there is a reason for that approach, beginning writers should put the point of the essay at the very start of their exposition as a guide to both them in writing a work and readers of that work.

People look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
to better organize and develop your argument
to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

Indiana University tutorial service suggestion.

What is a thesis?

A thesis statement declares what you believe and what you intend to prove. A good thesis statement makes the difference between a thoughtful research project and a simple retelling of facts.

A good tentative thesis will help you focus your search for information. But don't rush! You must do a lot of background reading before you know enough about a subject to identify key or essential questions. You may not know how you stand on an issue until you have examined the evidence. You will likely begin your research with a working, preliminary or tentative thesis which you will continue to refine until you are certain of where the evidence leads.

High school approach to writing.

Starting tips / Some ideas / summary


Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

1.Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.

An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.

An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.


If you are writing a text which does not fall under these three categories (ex. a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Free writing and rhetorical assistance from Purdue University.


Starting tips / Some ideas / summary


UNC says that a thesis statement should be a convincing description of the paper.

Thesis Statements

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can discover or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you'll make in the rest of your paper.

Starting tips / Some ideas / summary

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor.

UNC on line tutor


Your paper should have a declaration of intent, purpose or reason for writing that answers the question-- "so what?" This is usually a statement fashioned by you saying publicly that this work is a result of your original and creative imagination and based on some method or means of determining what is accurate about the information you are conveying.

This pronouncement is usually based on the best of your knowledge. It does not however mean that the works of others will not be included in your paper. You are also obliged to declare that you have duly acknowledged the source and cited properly all borrowed materials.


Starting tips / Some ideas / summary


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