The Thesis Statement

Writing a good thesis statement is truly an art. It is hard to really fine tune your point down to one concise, yet detailed, statement. The first thing to do is to look at what a thesis statement should be.

1..Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

  • literary analysis breaks down a text into its component parts, evaluates the literary elements, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
  • A persuasive paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the persuasive paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
  • A narrative paper uses personal experiences to share a lesson learned about life, people, or relationships.
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Sample Thesis Statements

An analysis of the college admission process reveals two principal problems facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.

The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.

High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.

While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore. 

Math majors should be exempt from the foreign language requirement.

Mick Jagger's ability to change his public image as public tastes change distinguishes him as the one Rolling Stone who has gathered no moss.

Parents ought to participate more in the education of their children.

Continuing inflation makes it almost impossible to plan intelligently for one's retirement.