The thesis statement is the glue that holds your essay together.
And you need to create a first-rate thesis statement if you want that glue to be strong. However, writing an excellent thesis statement is challenging. But, once you get it right you’re on your way to writing a solid academic essay or paper. An effective thesis statement will make it easier to write your academic essay because you’ll know what to include.
Yet, if the thesis statement for your essay is weak, then a reader won’t know what you’re proving, disproving, or showing in your essay. Even worse, without a good thesis statement, you might not know what you’re trying to do in your essay.
You don’t want to feel lost or confused about your writing. So in this post, you’ll learn 5 steps to creating a solid thesis statement that will guide you in writing your essay.
What is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement includes 2 things: 1) Your main topic and 2) Your opinion or point of view(POV) about that topic. It’s important because it tells your reader what your essay is about and how you will prove or explain your topic. A thesis statement is a roadmap guiding you through your essay.
Here is the framework for writing an academic essay or paper:
- Introduction: Hook (A sentence that grabs people’s attention), Background Information (about the issue or topic), and a thesis statement.
- Body: Main ideas and evidence supporting your thesis statement
- Conclusion: Summary of the thesis statement and the significance or importance of it
Every part of an academic essay connects to your thesis statement. So, a good thesis statement is crucial to writing an essay.
But what makes your thesis statement work well? The thesis statement is:
- Interesting to you (don’t underestimate how important it is to be interested in your topic)
- Not too general or vague
- Covers a narrow or specific part of your topic
- Makes a claim about your topic (remember a thesis statement has a POV)
- Has evidence or proof to back it up
If your thesis statement meets these 5 criteria, then you’ll have a powerful thesis statement for an academic essay or paper.
Thesis Statement Example for an Academic Essay or Paper
So, what does an effective thesis statement for an essay or paper look like? Here is an example of the topic “Using Wikipedia for Academic Research.”
This topic interests me because there are some students who want to quote facts and ideas from Wikipedia. But there are also teachers who do not want students to use Wikipedia as part of their research. As an academic writing tutor, I know both sides of this topic.
Here are 2 ideas I have about using Wikipedia in academic research:
- It’s not good to cite Wikipedia articles in an essay or academic paper because the articles can be written and edited by anyone. The author of a Wikipedia article might not be a reliable source.
- But, Wikipedia articles can be helpful because they give an overview of a topic. Also, they have a bibliography at the end that can be used to find credible sources of information.
I’ve combined my topic with my opinion based on these ideas into a sentence. “Students should not cite Wikipedia articles in academic essays because it’s difficult to know if the authors of the articles are trustworthy, but students can use Wikipedia to find reliable sources of information.”
In this thesis statement, I would focus on why Wikipedia articles shouldn’t be in academic essays. I would also write about how Wikipedia can help people find sources of information. Notice that this thesis statement isn’t too general, it’s specific, and it makes a claim. It’s also a thesis statement I can support with evidence.
So how do you create an effective thesis statement?
How to Create a Superior Thesis Statement
There are 5 easy steps to creating a thesis statement for your academic essay or paper.
#1 Select the Main Topic You want to pick a topic that fits the type of essay or paper you’re assigned. You also want a topic that is specific and interesting to you. If you pick a topic that bores you it’s harder to focus and put all the effort you need into writing your paper.
You also want to select a topic that has research about it. No matter how exciting your topic is, if there isn’t any research or evidence you can write about, the content of your essay will be weak.
#2 Ask Questions Ask yourself, “What do I think about the topic?” “And Why do I think that?”
Brainstorm your thoughts. You could do this by listing ideas, using a mind map, or freewriting on your topic for 10 minutes or more. Don’t stop asking yourself questions until you have enough information to form an opinion.
#3 Decide on Your Opinion Look at all your ideas. If it’s an argumentative paper analyze different sides of an issue. Then determine your opinion or point of view (POV) about your essay topic.
#4 Write a sentence that connects your main topic to your point of view. This sentence is the thesis statement. Make sure it shows your point of view and perspective.
#5 Check your thesis statement and ask yourself: Is it interesting to you (and your reader)? Is it specific? Or is it too general? Does your thesis statement make a claim? Can you support your thesis statement with evidence?
Imagine how hard it is to write an academic essay or paper when you have no idea what to write. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it because you’ve experienced it. The way out of that situation is by writing a strong thesis statement. So, follow the 5 steps here and practice writing thesis statements on various subjects. It will help you create excellent thesis statements for every type of academic writing you need to do.
And if you’re writing a thesis statement for an argumentative essay or paper, Grab a copy of my free guide, “How to Write a Powerful Argumentative Thesis Statement.” It will help you develop strong thesis statements any time you need one.
Note: This is an updated version of the blog post, “How to Develop a Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps.” From July 13th, 2017