A thesis statement is basically a sentence or two that summarizes the central theme of your research. In research papers and essays, it is typically placed at the end of the introduction section, which provides broad knowledge about the investigation/study. To put it simply, the thesis statement can be thought of as the main message of any film, which is communicated through the plot and characters. Similar to how a director has a vision, the author(s) in this case has an opinion on the subject that they wish to portray in their research report.
In this article, we will provide a thorough overview on thesis statements, addressing the most frequently asked questions, including how authors arrive at and create a thesis statement that effectively summarizes your research. To make it simpler, we’ve broken this information up into subheadings that focus on different aspects of writing the thesis statement.
Table of Contents
- What is a thesis statement?
- What should a thesis statement include (with examples)?
- How to write a thesis statement in four steps?
- How to generate a thesis statement?
- Types of thesis statements?
- Key takeaways
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement, in essence, is a sentence that summarizes the main concept the author(s) wishes to investigate in their research. A thesis statement is often a “question/hypothesis” the author(s) wants to address, using a certain methodology or approach to provide sufficient evidence to support their claims and findings. However, it isn’t necessarily the topic sentence (first sentence) in a research paper introduction, which could be a general statement.
Returning to our movie analogy, a thesis statement is comparable to the particular viewpoint a director wants to convey to his audience. A thesis statement tells the reader the fundamental idea of the study and the possible course it will take to support that idea. A well-structured thesis statement enables the reader to understand the study and the intended approach, so both its placement and clarity matter here. An appropriately placed thesis statement, usually at the end of an introductory paragraph, ensures the reader will not lose interest. A thesis statement plays another crucial role, it summarizes the main idea behind the study so that readers will understand the question the author is trying to answer. It gives the reader some background information and a sense of the topic’s wider context while also hinting at the work or experimental approach that will come next. To summarize, thesis statements are generally that one key phrase you skim over to rapidly understand the thesis of a study.
What should a thesis statement include (with examples)?
Now that we have understood the concept, the next step is learning how to write a good thesis statement. A strong thesis statement should let the reader understand how well-versed you are, as an author, in the subject matter of the study and your position on the topic at hand. The elements listed below should be considered while crafting a statement for your thesis or paper to increase its credibility and impact.
- The author should take a position that a sizable portion of the readership may disagree with. The subject should not be a well-known, well-defined issue with just unanimity of view. This form of thesis statement is typically viewed as weak because it implies that there is nothing substantial to investigate and demonstrate. To pique readers’ interest, the thesis statement should be debatable in some way, and the findings should advance the body of knowledge.
- A review of pertinent literature on the subject is a must in order for the author to establish an informed opinion about the questions they wish to pose and the stance they would want to take during their study, this is the basis to develop a strong thesis statement. The authors of the study should be able to support their statements with relevant research, strengthening their stance by citing literature.
- The thesis statement should highlight just one main idea, with each claim made by the authors in the paper demonstrating the accuracy of the statement. Avoid multiple themes running throughout the article as this could confuse readers and undermine the author’s perspective on the subject. It can also be a sign of the authors’ ambiguity.
- The main objective of a thesis statement is to briefly describe the study’s conclusion while posing a specific inquiry that clarifies the author’s stance or perspective on the subject. Therefore, it is crucial to clearly establish your viewpoint in the statement.
Based on the considerations above, you may wonder how to write a thesis statement for different types of academic essays. Expository and argumentative essays, the most common types of essays, both call for a statement that takes a stand on the issue and uses powerful language. These kinds of thesis statements need to be precise and contain enough background material to give a comprehensive picture of the subject. However, in persuasive essays, which typically integrate an emotive perspective and personal experiences, the opinions are presented as facts that need supporting evidence. The sole difference between argumentative and expository essays and persuasive essays is that the former require the use of strong viewpoints, while the latter does not. Last but not least, the thesis statement for a compare-and-contrast essay addresses two themes rather than just one. Authors can choose to concentrate more on examining similarities or differences depending on the nature of the study; the only caveat is that both topics must receive equal attention to prevent biases.
How to write a thesis statement in four steps?
Coming up with a research question might be challenging in situations when the research topic is not decided or it’s a new field of study. You may want to delve deeper into a widely researched subject, continue with your current research, or pursue a topic you are passionate about. If you don’t have a thesis statement yet, here are four easy stages to get you started.
- Start with a working thesis statement: Writing the statement is not so straightforward; you won’t magically write the final thesis statement at once. It is preferable to choose an initial working thesis after reviewing relevant literature on the topic. Once you have chosen a subject that interests you, attempt to think of a specific query that has not been raised or that would be fascinating to contribute to the body of literature. For example, if you are writing an article or paper about ChatGPT, you could want to look into how ChatGPT affects learning among students. You can even get more specific, like, “How does ChatGPT harm learning and education?”
- Outline your answer (your positioning on the subject): Based on your review of past research, you would form an opinion about the subject—in this example, the effect of ChatGPT on students’ learning—and then you write down your tentative answer to this question. If your initial response is that ChatGPT use has a detrimental impact on education and learning, this would serve as the foundation for your research. Your study would include research and findings to support this assertion and persuade the reader to accept your hypothesis.
- Provide evidence to support your claim: The goal of your study should be to back your hypothesis with enough evidence, relevant facts and literature, to support your claim and explain why you selected that particular response (in this case, why you believe that ChatGPT has a negative impact on learning and education). The focus should be on discussing both the benefits and drawbacks of using ChatGPT and demonstrating why the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. An argumentative thesis statement example on the same topic would be that, despite ChatGPT’s enormous potential as a virtual learning tool for students, it has a detrimental effect on their creativity and critical thinking skills and encourages problematic behaviors like cheating and plagiarism.
- Polish your thesis statement: After outlining your initial statement, improve it by keeping these three elements in mind.
- Does it make it clear what position you hold on the subject?
- Does it effectively connect the various facets of the study topic together?
- Does it summarize the key points of your narrative?
The thesis statement will also gain from your comments on the approach you will employ to validate your claim. For example, the aforementioned thesis statement may be clarified as “Although ChatGPT has enormous potential to serve as a virtual tutor for students and assistant to instructors, its disadvantages, such as plagiarism and the creation of false information, currently outweigh the advantages.” This particular illustration offers a thoughtful discussion of the subject, enabling the author to make their case more persuasively.
How to generate a thesis statement?
No matter how complicated, any thesis or paper may be explained in one or two sentences. Just identify the question your research aims to answer, then write a statement based on your anticipated response. An effective thesis statement will have the following characteristics:
- It should have a take on the subject (which is contentious/adds to existing knowledge)
- It should express a main topic (other themes should only be included if they connect to the main theme)
- It should declare your conclusion about the issue
- It should be based on an objective, broad outlook on the subject.
To understand how to write a thesis statement from scratch, let’s use an example where you may want to learn about how mental and physical health are related.
Since the subject is still broad, you should first conduct a brainstorming session to acquire further thoughts. After reading literature, you determine that you are curious to learn how yoga enhances mental health. To develop a compelling thesis statement, you must further narrow this topic by posing precise questions that you can answer through your research. You can ask, “How does yoga affect mental health. What is the possible mean”? This topic makes it plain to the reader what the study is about but it is necessary for you to adopt a position on the issue. Upon further deliberation, the premise can be rephrased as “Yoga, a low impact form of exercise, positively impacts people’s mental health by lowering stress hormones and elevating healthy brain chemicals.” This clearly states your position on the topic. Finally, you may further develop this into a clear, precise thesis statement that asks, “Does practicing yoga induce feel-good hormones and lower the stress hormone, cortisol, that positively affects people’s mental health?” to turn it into a study.
Types of thesis statements?
The three primary categories of thesis statements are analytical, expository, and argumentative. You choose one over the other depending on the subject matter of your research or essay. In argumentative thesis statements, the author takes a clear stand and strives to persuade the reader of their claims, for example, “Animal agriculture is the biggest driver of climate change.” It is specific, concise, and also contentious. On the other hand, the purpose of an expository thesis statement is to interpret, assess, and discuss various facets of a subject. Here you shortlist the key points of your interpretation, and state the conclusion based on the interpretation you drew from the study. An analytical thesis statement aims to discuss, glean information on the subject, and explain the facts of the topic. Here, the goal is to critically analyze and summarize the points you will cover in the study.
- A good thesis statement summarizes the central idea of your thesis or research paper.
- It serves as a compass to show the reader what the research will contend and why.
- Before creating a thesis statement, keep in mind that the statement should be specific, coherent, and controversial.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A thesis statement can be defined as a sentence that describes the main idea of the research or thesis to inform the reader of the argument the research will pursue and the reason the author adopts a specific stance on the subject. Essentially, it expresses the author’s judgment or opinion based on a review of the literature or personal research experience.
Any academic essay or research piece must have a thesis statement since it directs the research and attracts the reader’s attention to the main idea of the subject under discussion. In addition to confining the author to a specific subject, so they don’t veer off topic, it also enables the reader to understand the topic at hand and what to expect.
To create an impactful thesis statement, simply follow these four easy steps. Start by creating a working statement by posing the question that your research or thesis will attempt to answer. Then, outline your initial response and choose your position on the matter. Next, try to substantiate your claim with facts or other relevant information. Finally, hone your final thesis statement by crafting a cogent narrative using knowledge gained in the previous step.
Ideally the thesis statement should be placed at the end of an introduction of the paper or essay. Keep in mind that it is different from the topic sentence, which is more general.
We hope this in-depth guide has allayed your concerns and empowered you to start working craft a strong statement for your essay or paper. Good luck with drafting your next thesis statement!
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