There are many different academic papers that you will write throughout your academic career. Most of them will start with what is called the thesis statement
. Different academic works much follow different constructs but the one thing that many of them have in common is a thesis statement. It is the cornerstone of the construct of both the paper's validity and argument that is formed within. Before you begin to write your paper, constructing a strong thesis statement is essential to guide you through writing, and completing, it.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a sentence which is found in the introductory paragraph of any paper. Although not singled out, when someone reads any academic paper
, they should be able to isolate it because it stands out as the defining statement of what the paper will be about. A thesis statement contains information about what the paper is about. Depending on the type of paper it is it will answer the question "why is this paper being written" and what the intention of the paper is. The language that is used to state the thesis statement is as important as the sentence itself. For instance, if you are writing a research paper, it will be the statement of what the research is and what conclusions you have found. A definition of both the work done, and what the paper is about.
What types of papers use thesis statements?
There are many different papers where a thesis statement will be essential for writing. The assignments which will require a thesis statement are:
- General essay
- Argumentative essay
- Research paper
- Book report
In essence, and paper which is not for creative writing purposes will most likely require a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph.
Why is the thesis statement so important?
The thesis statement is like a guide to the reader. When the reader is beginning your academic paper, it signals to them not only what the paper is about, but what the usefulness of it is. Without a thesis statement, the reader is left to try to figure out not only what the paper is for, but where you are going with it. It would be like reading a mystery novel without the clues. The reader has no idea where you are going with the information, or what you are trying to tell them. The reader becomes frustrating and not only will the argument become unsubstantiated, it will be lost while the person who is reading it is trying to figure out what exactly they are supposed to do with the information that is being presented to them. It would be like giving them the recipe with all the ingredients, but no instructions about how to put them together.
Things to do when choosing your thesis statement
- First ask yourself "what is it that I want the reader to know?"
- Then ask "what is it that I am proving?"
- Make sure to use concise language - since you only have one sentence to present your idea, it has to be clear and to the point. There is no room for explanation in the thesis statement, that is what the body of the paper is for, so keep it short and concise
- It should be either in favor or something, or against. A definitive statement must be for or against something
- Make sure it is something that you can substantiate and give concrete examples and research to back your side or argument
- Keep it short and only have one statement for each paper. Your thesis should be in support of only one idea
- Know how you intend to write the conclusion before you form the thesis statement. Your conclusion will be in direct correlation to your thesis statement so you have to have both components before you even begin writing. You have to know how your paper is going to end before you make a clear statement about what it is about and what you are trying to prove
An example of a good thesis statement
"People who engage in risky behaviors are more likely to contract the AIDs virus than those who do not"
An example of a thesis statement that does not work
"People who engage in risky behavior may or may not be more likely to contract the AIDs virus"
The first one is a definitive statement of your argument and findings. The second is basically something that everyone already knows. There is absolutely no other side to the second statement. No one would argue that people who engage in risky behavior may or may not contract the AIDs virus because that includes everyone in the population. There is no other side to that argument. It is not taking a side, it is presenting both sides. A thesis statement gives a specific side to any subject.
Another example of a good thesis statement
"The author of To Kill A Mockingbird speaks about social injustice through a fictional story"
Another example of a thesis statement that does not work
"The author of To Kill A Mockingbird wrote a book"
In order to form your thesis statement you have to tell the reader what your side, or argument, is.
There is nothing more important to your academic paper than the thesis statement. More than just a sentence, it is the cornerstone of your paper. It signals the reader what the intention of your paper is, what you intend to prove, and what position you are taking. Giving the reader a roadmap to your work, it is what you should begin your outline explaining and giving evidence to support it. Before choosing your thesis statement, have a conclusion already made. It is difficult to write your paper
not knowing where you are going, by knowing what your conclusions are, it is easy to go from start, to evidence to finish of your work and to achieve the excellent grade you want.