How to Write a Thesis Help
Introduction to Writing a Thesis Statement
The most important part of your paper is your thesis statement. Your entire paper, all the evidence you have accumulated, and the style you choose to write in, will all support and defend this statement. This lesson is about writing a strong thesis so that your reader will be immediately convinced by your argument and point of view.
Think of your thesis statement as an explanation or a summary. If you have a question that you want answered immediately, what kind of answer do you want to receive? Most people like direct answers that are straightforward, do not mince words, and give them concrete explanations. For instance, if you are a teacher and you ask your students if they have their homework, you'd probably want to hear responses like, "Yes, it's here in my desk," or, "I'm sorry, I don't have it with me today." What might make you frustrated, however—even more frustrated than a student who doesn't have his or her homework—is an answer like,"Uh, no, I'm sorry, my homework isn't here. You see, last night, my grandmother came to dinner, and because of traffic from New Jersey she was late. It was weird because the traffic across the George Washington Bridge was really bad last night because of an accident and by the time my grandmother came and we had all finished dinner, I didn't have time to really get to my homework. But … etc." In other words, the more directly you can answer a question, and the fewer words you use, the better. In fact, it is much more likely that people will believe you if you answer them quickly and directly without drifting off the topic or avoiding the question. The same holds true with formulating your thesis statement. No matter how complex your subject matter or your source may be, you should be able to word your thesis in one sentence or less. It may take some time and a little bit of practice on your part, but if you have fun and consider it an exercise, the careful and succinct wording of your thesis will save you hours of valuable time later on.
Writing a Bold and Assertive Thesis Statement
Usually, the most effective place for your thesis—where it makes the greatest impact upon your reader—is at the beginning of your paper. The thesis statement is always included in the introductory paragraph so that the reader is immediately drawn in and interested in your writing. Some people like to begin a paper using the thesis as the opening sentence. Others like to write a few sentences and place the thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph. Either way is acceptable. Your writing style and preference will dictate which of these two methods you prefer, but to demonstrate the difference that length makes, let's consider an example in which the thesis statement is the very first sentence of your paper. Again, let's use the example of a paper on John F. Kennedy's assassination. Look at the two statements below and determine which one most powerfully hooks the reader:
This paper will discuss and examine the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. After doing a lot of research and reading a lot of books, I have decided that President Kennedy's death was not the result of a conspiracy, as many historians and most people think. Actually, this paper will prove that President Kennedy's death was the work of a lone gunman. It was not a government conspiracy, although many people still believe this.
Despite previous theories, President Kennedy's death was not the result of a government conspiracy, but the work of a lone assailant.
Which explanation or thesis statement convinces you? Although both examples essentially argue the same point, Example B is a more persuasive thesis statement because it is short, right to the point, and makes a bold, declaratory statement. Even if the reader doesn't necessarily agree with your thesis statement, your boldness and strong assertion are sure to rouse curiosity and a desire to read more.
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