A thesis statement is the essence of any essay or any other academic paper. It is impossible to come up with an essay worth reading without a strong and comprehensive thesis statement. The problem of most students is that teachers often deem it self-explanatory and don’t task students with formulating a thesis statement explicitly – but the requirement stands. So, it remains up to students to figure out what a thesis statement is, what it is for, and how to put together a convincing one. You are welcome to find the answers to all these questions in this article. For you to have an even clearer sense of direction, we will provide thesis statement examples. We will also mention a few common pitfalls that you should be aware of and avoid.
Even though not always apparent, the definition of a thesis statement is quite easy. It is a briefly-formulated point that you are willing to make with your writing. It is placed at the end of the introducing section of your paper and serves several purposes. The primary one is to be your beacon to which you can stick throughout your writing process. Another essential purpose of a thesis statement is to inform your reader about the theme of your essay (and your opinion about it – if applicable) so that they can instantly decide whether or not your writing can be interesting to them and worth reading.
It may sound like a lot to unpack, but only until you realize that before you finalize your entire essay, your thesis statement remains flexible and subject to any changes you may deem necessary. In other words, you can modify it on the go however you like.
A thesis statement should be an answer to a presupposed question that is interesting to your reader. Without further ado, we will provide some examples of a thesis statement accompanied with comments about the approaches that the writer may take as well as pros and cons of such approaches.
If you choose to address a question about whether or not jogging is healthy, your thesis statement may sound as follows: “It is beneficial for the cardiovascular system of a healthy adult to jog every morning.” First of all, there is an apparent advantage of this statement: you give a piece of valuable information and state your opinion on the point.
One might get tempted to trim it down to something like “jogging is beneficial for health.” Let’s see why it’s not such a good idea. On the one hand, it is known to all, and on the other hand, this statement is too vague and generic. These two aspects make it virtually impossible to argue your point from any angle. Having everyone agree with you may seem like an advantage, but then your reader will not be prompted to read your essay – because they know that they will not be able to gain any new and valuable information from it.
Understandably, a thesis statement also needs to be specific. Specificity also implies avoiding value judgment. In other words, you should avoid epithets like “nice,” “good,” bad,” etc. While they do express your attitude toward the issue, they sound both generic and unsubstantiated. You need to find a way to express your opinion in a well-grounded and concise manner.
For example, if you state that “It is important to maintain a healthy diet,” your reader will agree with you, put your writing aside, and forget it the next moment. Regarding academic writing, it will not deserve you a desirable grade. You should convince the reader that your paper is worth their attention by previewing specifically what information they can find there. For instance, you can explain what you mean by a healthy diet or provide any other specifics.
It may look like this: “People over 40 who eat plenty of fruit and vegetables have lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight.” What makes this thesis statement better than the previous example? The fact that you explain precisely what people benefit from what diet and how. Your readers instantly get three pieces of valuable information, and it leaves them curious for more.
Naturally, it will depend on the topic of your essay and its type. Argumentative, persuasive, compare and contrast, demonstrative, and all other essays on similar topics will have notably different thesis statements. Good thesis statement examples for an informative essay will be but a brief summary of the whole writing. For example: “To cook delicious pasta, you need a correct recipe, all the necessary ingredients at hand, and full attention to the process.” One may notice that in this rough example we also mention three details to interest the reader. Three is the ultimate number here, as well as in thesis statements for other kinds of essays.
Returning to an informative essay, you may also state that “Among the most imminent threats of global warming are the melting of polar ice that leads to drastic changes of geography and extinction of many species.” You can see how much more information it conveys than if you merely stated that “Global warming results in irrefutable changes to our environment.” All natural processes result in environmental changes – so why should your global warming essay be of any value to your reader? What changes are so drastic that your reader should care about them? As a student, you should already know that if your professor has given you a somewhat broad topic to write about, it means that it is up to you to narrow it down according to your interests. The same applies to your thesis statement which will reveal your narrowed down topic just a little bit further. You specify the three details or aspects of your topic which you will describe and/or investigate in your essay.
When writing a persuasive essay, your thesis statement will have to describe your standpoint on a particular issue and explain why it is correct. For instance, if you are convinced that “Parents should monitor how their children use the Internet,” then you should substantiate this stance more than just claiming that “the Internet is dark and full of terrors.” We cannot stress enough that one needs to be more specific in a thesis statement. A fine example of a persuasive thesis statement can go as follows: “Parents should take care that their children don’t fall prey to sexually explicit content, ill-intended individuals or religious cults when using the Internet.” This includes an opinion and – once again – three arguments substantiating it. Putting it briefly, a persuasive thesis statement consists of two elements: a claim and the reasons behind it.
Having three arguments for your claim is especially beneficial when writing a high school essay. These essays are usually short, consisting of not more than five paragraphs. In such an essay, you first and last paragraphs will be the introduction and conclusion respectively, leaving three paragraphs where you include one argument per paragraph. It significantly facilitates your job outlining your essay.
When you are in college, however, you will be required to write somewhat more voluminous essays. It may seem like an extended volume will allow you to include more arguments that you want to talk about, but college students are recommended against taking such approach. Having too many arguments will only leave your reader confused as opposed to convinced and interested. Instead, it is more effective to stick to three arguments and expand upon each of them in more than just one paragraph per argument. In many cases, however, even one argument investigated in excessive depth will be preferable.
If you have to write a research paper, it will also need a thesis statement. For apparent reasons, it will be different than that of an essay. When putting together a thesis statement for your research paper, you should imagine an unaware reader asking you what your paper is about and giving an answer to this question. Here are a couple of thesis statement examples for research papers:
“Poverty caused by parents’ unemployment is the most common reason for children developing resilience.”
“Adverse effects from being raised by addict parents can be alleviated through emotional support from peers and teachers.”
Both these examples of thesis statements provide precise answers to a question “What is this paper about?” In a way, that inspires the reader to continue reading. As for you – the writer, it limits your research, thus providing it with a framework and giving you a better sense of direction. These factors are even more essential for research papers than for thesis statement examples for essays because the former are less about abstract discussions and more about facts and data. There can be no room for multiple interpretations of the subject-matter because research papers demand maximum precision.