What IS a thesis statement?
- It is your informed statement summarizing your opinion about a debatable topic AND specifies how you will persuade your reader
- It explains what you expect to write about AND prove - a roadmap or blueprint for your paper
- It is very specific, not a vague or general statement
- It is an interpretation about a subject of topic NOT the topic itself
- It is usually a single sentence, most often at the end of the first paragraph
- It is focused, debatable, picks a side, and makes claims
What’s NOT a thesis statement?
- It is not a vague or general factual statement about a topic
- It is not just a statement of your opinion - a thesis must also include how you will prove your opinion
- Should never include phrases such as “I believe” or “I think that.”
- Is not a question
- Video: How to Write a Thesis for Beginners
- Video: Writing an Effective Thesis Statement
5-Step Thesis Writing Worksheet - click here to open a printable PDF of this worksheet
Six Tests for a Strong Thesis:
- Does it pass the “Who cares!” or “so what!” test: if you are stating what most people already know or understand, it is not a thesis but a factual statement.
- Have you avoided using generalizations such as “all, “none,” or “every?” Be very specific in your statement.
- Is the reader led to the topic sentences in the body of your paper? These subtopics are needed to prove or provide evidence of your thesis.
- Is is possible to develop and prove your thesis in the project’s required length? Is it specific and narrow enough so that you can focus on your argument?
- Is your thesis statement based upon your research or thinking about common trends or patterns you have discovered? Is it thoughtful, meaningful, and interesting? Will your reader take away a new idea or understanding?
- Does it fit this equation?
(Your opinion or argument about a topic) + (specific statement about how you will prove it) = Thesis
Thesis Statement Examples...
For History class papers:
“The American Revolution was a success in achieving independence for the thirteen American colonies because of the superior strategy of the Patriots to win the hearts and minds of the colonists.” (Mr. DiTomaso)
“Throughout American history the United States’ agricultural system has been successful in providing food for the people due to educational programs on new farming techniques available to small farmers.” (Mr. DiTomaso)
“While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerns focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.” (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/)
“The movie JFK inaccurately portrays President Kennedy because of the way it ignores Kennedy’s youth, his relationship with his father, and the findings of the Warren Commission.” (https://clas.uiowa.edu/history/teaching-and-writing-center/guides/argumentation)
For English class papers:
Hemingway’s stories helped create a new prose style by employing extensive dialogue, shorter sentences, and strong Anglo-Saxon words. (http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/thesistatement.html)
‘Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.’ (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/)
“The conch shell in Golding’s Lord of the Flies provides Ralph with his authority, symbolizes order, and later illustrates Jack’s anarchy, in order to show the changing situation of the characters in the novel.” (Mrs. Lewis)
“The blood imagery in the play Macbeth serves to emphasize Macbeth’s increasing violence, while also representing his and Lady Macbeth’s deepening guilt, to dramatize the relationship between action and consequence.” (Mrs. Lewis)
“In The Lord of the Rings,Tolkien explores the theme that a hero can be found in even the most average person when Frodo officially accepts the burden of the Ring in the House of Elrond, when the company is reminded of Bilbo’s previous adventures by the troll statues, and when Frodo makes the decision to travel to the final road to Mordor by himself.” (Mr. Belmore)
“Americans should eliminate the regular consumption of fast food because the fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.” (https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/thesis-statement-examples/)
“Government surveillance programs do more harm than good because they invade civil liberties, lead innocent people to suffer unfair punishments, and ultimately fail to protect the citizens that they are designed to safeguard. For these reasons, programs such as PRISM operated by the NSA should be discontinued. (https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/thesis-statement-examples/)
“China’s one-child policy was intended to help control population growth. Instead, it has led to unintended and negative consequences, such as a diminishing labor force, an aging population, the neglect of basic human rights, and an unbalanced gender population. To improve China’s situation, the policy should be reversed.” (https://www.kibin.com/essay-writing-blog/thesis-statement-examples/)
page updated by Mrs. Pratt, NHS Library, January 2019