Source summary

59 Thesis Sentences

ROBIN JEFFREY; CHRISTINA FRASIER; EXCELSIOR ONLINE WRITING LAB; ARTHUR RANKIN, ODESSA COLLEGE; AND MELISSA ELSTON

Learning Objectives

· Identify the topic and controlling factor for an essay and capture it quickly and succinctly.

· Develop a road map for an essay so readers can understand the components of the project.

· Analyze a topic and take an explanatory or argumentative approach to developing it.

Stating your thesis

Most traditional research essays will require some kind of explicitly stated thesis. This means you should state your thesis clearly and directly for your readers. A thesis is a statement of purpose, one to two sentences long, about your research, that is often presented at the beginning of your essay to prepare your audience for the content of your whole research paper. Your thesis is often located at the end of your introductory paragraph.

The thesis statement should state your topic and, in a persuasive research essay, state your assertion about that topic. You should avoid simply “announcing” your thesis and should work to make it engaging. A good thesis will answer the “so what?” question your audience might have about your research paper. A good thesis statement will tell your readers what your research paper will be about and, specifically, why it is important.

You should avoid thesis statements that simply announce your purpose. For example, in a research paper on health care reform, you should avoid a thesis statement like this:

Example

· In this essay, I will write about health care in the United States.

Announcing your intentions in first person point-of-view is a speechwriting technique.

Instead, a good thesis statement on health care reform in the United States would be more specific and make a point that will help establish a clear purpose and focus for your essay. It might look something like this:

Example

· Although health care reform is a controversial topic in the United States, advocates of universal healthcare argue for strong reform to ensure equal access to adequate care.

In developing a thesis for an analytical essay, you won’t make an argument, but you’ll still want to provide a specific statement about the purpose of your essay. A good analytical thesis statement might look something like this:

Example

· Analysis of high school dropout rates reveals that an emphasis on standardized testing plays a role in higher dropout rates among American high school boys, resulting in what some educational researchers call “the boy crisis.”

Considering the use of templates

Templates provide students a boost in developing their thesis sentences.

1. A “road map” thesis is one of the most basic thesis sentence types. It briefly states the topic and the subtopics of the essay:

· _______________ affects ____________, _______________, and ______________.

Examples

· Poor sleep affects student success, job performance, and health.

· Foreign and domestic cyberattacks affect the government, businesses, and citizens.

Road map sentences might be too basic for your class; the best way to know if a road map thesis is adequate is to confirm with your instructor.

2. An analytical thesis is more complex than the road map sentence. Here’s an example:

· Analysis of _____________ reveals that an emphasis on _________________________, resulting in what some _____________ call ____________.

Although this template can work as it is for the above topic of high school dropout rates, often if you want to use a template, you must tailor it to meet the goals for your essay. See two tailored examples below.

Examples

· Analysis of modern agricultural practices reveals that an emphasis on monocultural crops can lead to increased pesticide use, resulting in reduction of bee populations.

· An analysis of standardized testing reveals an emphasis on test scores rather than holistic measures of student performance, resulting in what detractors call an unfair advantage for certain groups of students. Proponents argue otherwise.

· ___________ impacts ___________ in both positive and negative ways.

Examples

· Artificial intelligence impacts the workforce in both positive and negative ways.

· Online learning can impact students in both positive and negative ways.

Note these example templates are suitable for expository and analytical papers.

Test your thesis:

You’ve come up with what you hope will be a great thesis for your paper. Want to make sure before you get started with it? Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does your thesis answer a question?

2. Does the thesis tell my readers the main idea of the essay?

3. Is the thesis specific, but not so specific that I cannot develop it well to meet the length requirement for the essay?

4. Is there evidence to support your thesis?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you need to revise your thesis.

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