Friday, May 4, 2012

Writing a Strong Thesis Statement

If you are writing a paper for a class (any class), your instructor has probably said that your paper should be organized around a central idea. That means you need a thesis.

Your thesis states what your paper is trying to prove. What do you want the reader to know, change or do based on the information that you’ve researched and analyzed? What conclusion have you thoughtfully drawn from the knowledge you’ve gained?

Writing a strong thesis can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Remember these elements of a strong thesis statement:

Your thesis is the argument that focuses your paper.

It should be a single sentence for a shorter paper (up to 15 pages or so.)

It should be written in the third person. (For example, instead of writing, “It is my opinion that” or “I feel that”, jump directly into the argument. Since you are supporting your claim with outside evidence, it is more than simply a personal opinion. Avoid addressing the reader in the first (we/us) person or second (you) person and state exactly who you mean.)

The thesis statement should not be a question. A research question might lead you to a thesis, but the thesis is not the same as the research question.

Ways to improve your thesis:

You might test that you've written an argument, instead of a statement, by writing the opposing thesis (if you can't argue against it, you haven't formed an argument yet.)

To push your thesis further, ask yourself, "so what?" I know, that sounds rude, but trust me, it works. Remember that your thesis does more than state a problem. You are, instead, posing an argument; therefore, ask yourself what should be changed or done based on the problem you've identified.

What thesis writing tips do you have?

1 comment:

Harry Parker said...
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