By: Casie Holdcroft
A thesis statement is one of the most important parts of a research paper. It’s the backbone of your essay, the cornerstone that the rest of your paper is built off of. It’s a big deal. However, it can also be the most difficult part to write. You know what you’re trying to say in your essay, but translating your thoughts to the page in a concise manner is no easy feat. While each thesis statement must be unique to the paper it’s supporting, all strong theses have a few key characteristics in common. Remembering and including these traits in your thesis statements will help make them more persuasive and effective. Read on for the two most important aspects of any effective thesis statement.
One of the foremost attributes of a thesis statement is that it must be arguable. Thus, it’s important that your thesis take a side on whatever issue you address in your paper, as opposed to taking a neutral stance or merely giving the topic of your essay. If your thesis statement has no argument, then the rest of your paper has no argument to support, and the essay turns into a summary of both sides of the issue. If you are unsure what your argument is, then continue researching your topic. Talking through your subject out loud might also help you to understand your opinion better, as talking is often easier than writing and helps get ideas flowing.
One a similar note, a strong thesis should be debatable. If your argument is something that everyone already believes is fact, then there is no point in writing a persuasive essay about it. Instead, your thesis statement should begin to show why your (potentially unheard of or unpopular) opinion is valid. In your thesis or at the beginning of your paper, it can be helpful to explain what the generally accepted opinion is before unfolding your opinion and the reasons behind it.
A thesis statement becomes persuasive in the details. The best theses have a specific focus and stay away from being broad and general. A strong thesis rarely starts with all-encompassing words such as “all” or “every.” Instead, don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty of your argument. Being specific in your thesis statement will not only start to persuade your audience to your line of thinking early on, but it will also make them want to continue reading your paper. In the same way, your thesis should include the details of your reasons behind your argument. A thesis statement is often called the roadmap to an essay and should give a hint to the structure and evidence of the argument. This means that you shouldn’t end your argument in your thesis with “for many reasons” or something to the same effect. Let your readers have a glimpse of your reasons so they are prepared for what they are about to read.
With these main points in mind, writing a strong, refined thesis statement, while still not an easy feat, becomes less daunting and more manageable. Good luck with your theses!
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