What Is a Claim in Writing? Complicated Things Made Simple
Most academic writing assignments focus on a specific topic. First, the writer does the research. Second, the writer has to choose the side and develop a claim. Finally, the writer has to provide a clear justification of the statement based on personal experience and researched literature. Everything rests on this assertion. So what is a claim in writing? It is the core argument the writer is supposed to explain and prove. It defines the quality, effectiveness, and complexity of the paper. In such a manner, a vague and boring statement will fail the whole assignment. To succeed, the main idea of your paper should be original, logical, and attention-grabbing. The goal, direction, and scope of the paper are determined by this argument, as well. All the other elements of your writing will support the idea you chose at the beginning. Let’s have a closer look at what a good claim is by analyzing a claim definition.
What Is a Claim in an Essay?
- A claim statement is the main idea of an argumentative paper. It is an integral part of an academic essay. It determines the quality of the entire piece. Without a good statement, a paper cannot be successful.
- A claim determines the direction and goals of the paper. This idea is to be supported with clear argumentation and evidence, for example, facts, expert opinions, statistical data, real-life situations, and quotations.
- A good claim is argumentative in nature. In this statement, you take a stand and prove your understanding of the matter.
- A claim must be clear and specific. It should define the focus of the paper. For example, “Game of Thrones sucks” is too general. “The final season of Game of Thrones has drastically low ratings because of the weak story and numerous plot holes” is much better.
Usually, students confuse personal opinions and claims. Besides, the two concepts are significantly different. On the one hand, to justify a claim, you will need debatable evidence and reliable data gathered in the process of detailed research. On the other hand, in explaining an opinion, you will follow general logic and rely on personal experience.
Other students tie a claim to a thesis. Are they right? Are the two the same? Or is there any difference between claim and thesis?
Claim vs. Thesis
In the context of academic essay writing, the claim is the main argument and thus the thesis of the paper. As a rule, it is provided at the end of the introductory paragraph or chapter. Descriptive and factual thesis statements are weak and should be avoided. You should always strive to create an analytical and interpretative claim. An original and understandable thesis statement is the key to a high-quality essay.
Many students try to fit the central idea of their paper into one sentence. However, it is not always the case. A complex central claim should be presented and explained in a few well-structured and logically connected sentences. There are no requirements or set standards for a good thesis. However, you can use specific strategies to develop a strong thesis or to access the strength of your statement.
Types of Papers with a Claim
A claim is an integral part of academic and professional writing. Different types of assignments use these statements to get the paper focused and help the reader understand the writer’s idea. These assignments include:
- Research papers that gather evidence to either prove or refute the thesis developed by the writer.
- Persuasive or argumentative essays that are written to justify the writer’s standpoint on a debatable phenomenon using a wide variety of evidence.
- Literary analysis, in which the writer makes an assumption about a literary piece or its elements. To prove this idea, the writer is supposed to use evidence from the work itself.
- Persuasive memos that are used to persuade a reader to act in a specific way or make the needed choice.
- Persuasive speeches that are oral presentations aimed at justifying the main idea with the help of clear evidence.
How to Write a Claim to Make Your Paper Rock
It is always recommended to develop a thesis statement (the main idea) at the very beginning of the writing process. However, be prepared that your claim will evolve and change. The more evidence you gather, the more refined your thesis will become. In fact, your main claim is an engine that will take your research from an initial draft to the final copy. Before submission, you will rethink your thesis statement the last time.
To develop a good thesis, use some tips we have developed for you:
Draft a working thesis statement
Start with brainstorming. Write down all your ideas very carefully. First, ask yourself whether the chosen topic is debatable or not. Second, choose the side. Third, consider how you can contribute to the discussion. At this stage, the task is to create a unifying idea that will be interesting to the intended reader.
Critically evaluate the thesis statement
When the working thesis is ready, you should critically evaluate it. In general, ensure that your statement is clear, contestable, interpretive, specific, interesting, and socially important.
Revise the thesis statement
When you finish the first draft, it is high time to revise the thesis statement. Define whether you have managed to gather enough evidence to support your point or not. Consider whether your assumption is still relevant or not. Ensure that every piece of evidence supports and develops your central idea. Think about how you can change and improve your thesis. You will have to revise it with each subsequent draft.
What Is a Claim in Writing and What it is Not: Popular Myths
Before starting your research work, you should have a clear vision of the final product you are going to have in the end. It is important to demystify some popular myths about thesis statements in academic writing. In such a manner, you will avoid some widespread mistakes. You have heard about most of them; probably, you even believe in some. Let us break down the myths and get to the point:
The central claim is to be general enough to allow the writer to present a wide variety of evidence.
Unfortunately, the reality is different. Broad assumptions cannot be proved at all since they require too much data that can neither be gathered nor presented in a standard academic paper. In papers with a broad thesis, the focus shifts from arguing to describing. It is an unwinnable approach. Only a specific and well-focused thesis will allow you to present and justify your viewpoint.
The central claim should be very short to preserve the mystery and stir up the reader’s interest.
It is a huge mistake. An academic paper is neither a suspense story nor a spy thriller. It is a logical piece of writing and the thesis statement is the roadmap the reader has to follow. To make your readers interested, be clear from the onset. The thesis should present the main idea and list the main arguments you are going to discuss in the body of your paper.
The thesis statement should be factual and correct beyond doubt.
It is a dangerous misconception since it can make you stuck at the very beginning. You can spend hours and even days trying to find an assumption that is fully true. Even if you manage, with such a claim, your paper will be largely descriptive and obvious. The task of the writer is not to choose the right position but to prove that the chosen position is right.
Usually, such papers are provocations, in which the writer plays with the reader allowing them to consider the issue from different perspectives. Remember, there are no right and wrong responses. Everything is about your ability to prove your point using relevant ideas, theories, and concepts.
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Claim in an Essay: Lessons Learned
In this article, we strived to improve the students’ understanding of thesis statements. Using this information, one is able to develop a strong claim for a research paper or academic essay. Remember, if your thesis is clear, provocative, direct, and concise, you are on the right track. Stick to the chosen idea and gather high-quality evidence to prove your point. We hope that this information will help you in the writing process. However, if the task is still too complicated or you do not have time to pay enough attention to the assignment, contact our support agents. We are ready to create a strong claim for you and develop a top-notch paper based on it. With our support and assistance, you will boost your academic performance.