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How to Write a Thesis Statement: Top Tips

  • Decide what type of paper it is you have to write. For example:

If it is an analytical essay or paper, you need to break the topic or problem down into smaller parts, evaluate each part, and then present your breakdown and analysis to your readers.

If it is an expository (or explanatory) style assignment, you will need to explain the topic to your readers.

If the style of writing is argumentative, you will need to put forward a claim or argument relating to the topic and justify this with strong evidence. Your claim should be based on opinion, evaluation, or some proposed policy. Alternatively, it could be an interpretation or a statement of the cause and effect variety. The objective of argumentative writing is to persuade your readers that your claims are valid and based on irrefutable evidence.

If your assignment does not come into any of the categories described above (if, for instance it is a narrative essay), you may still benefit from including a thesis statement in the first sentence.

  • It is important that a thesis statement is specific.

For instance, it is vital it only covers the points or discussion in your essay and it should be well supported with solid, subject-specific evidence.

  • It is usual practice to place a thesis statement towards the end of an introductory paragraph.
  • Topics can change as writing progresses, so your thesis statement may need revising to exactly reflect any changes.

You need to revise your thesis statement to show what has been discussed in your paper.

Examples of Thesis Statements

Thesis statement example for an analytical assignment:

“Analysis of the process used for admitting students to college shows that panels face one major challenge: whether to accept high-scoring students or those whose extracurricular activities are impressive.”

Then the remainder of the paper should:

  • Explain the process for admitting students
  • Describe the challenges that an admissions committee faces.

Thesis statement example for an argumentative-type assignment:

“To help with the maturing process and to make them more world-wise, it is important that students take a one year break to work on community-type projects between graduating from high school and starting college.”

Then the remainder of the paper should:

  • Develop an argument with supporting evidence to substantiate the idea that students should work on community-type projects before they start college.

Thesis statement example for an expository or explanatory paper:

“College life for virtually every student mostly involves spending time on study, going to class, and participating in social activities.” 

Then the remainder of the paper should:

  • Describe the way student time is divided into study, going to class, and engaging in social activities. 

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