How to write a thesis statement + examples
What is a thesis statement?
The thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any piece of academic writing. It can be defined as a very brief statement of what the main point or central message of your paper is. Essentially, your are stating what you will be writing about. You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the question with new information and not just restate or reiterate it.
Your thesis statement is part of your introduction. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our introduction guide.
How can you write a good thesis statement?
A good thesis statement needs to do the following:
- Focus the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences
- Write the answer to the main question of your topic
- Clearly state your position in relation to the topic
- Do not state the obvious. Give a disputable stance that requires support or evidence
Examples of thesis statements
As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should answer a question.
If the question is:
What do you think the City of New York should do to reduce traffic congestion?
A good thesis statement restates the question and answers it:
In this paper, I will argue that the City of New York should focus on providing exclusive lanes for public transport and adaptive traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion by the year 2035.
Here is another example. If the question is:
How can we end poverty?
A good thesis statement should give more than one solution to the problem in question:
In this paper, I will argue that introducing universal basic income can help reduce poverty and positively impact the way we work.
Is a thesis statement a question?
A thesis statement is not a question. A statement has to be debatable and prove itself using reasoning and evidence. A question, on the other hand, cannot state anything. It is a great lead into a thesis, but it is not a thesis statement.
How do I know if my thesis statement is good?
Once you have written down a thesis statement, check if it fulfills the following criteria:
- Your statement needs to be provable by evidence. In the example above, you cannot just say that introducing adaptive traffic signals is better than introducing a congestion charge, because you don't like paying tolls.
- Your thesis statement needs to be precise and short. Do not give away too much information in the thesis statement and do not load it with unnecessary information.
- You can not just say that one solution is simply right or simply wrong as a matter of fact. You should draw upon verified facts to persuade the reader of your solution, but you cannot just declare something as right or wrong.
Other helpful sources that you can check out to assess how strong your thesis statement is:
- The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina has a list of questions to ask to see if your thesis is strong
- The Aims Community College has created an exercise to practice creating thesis statements for any type of essay with any topic
Frequently Asked Questions about writing a thesis statement
In what section do I write my thesis statement?
A thesis statement is part of the introduction of your paper. It is usually found in the first or second paragraph to let the reader know your research purpose from the beginning.
What is the usual length of a thesis statement?
In general, a thesis statement should have one or two sentences. It really depends on your academic and expertise level. Take a look at our guide about the length of thesis statements, for more insight on this topic.
Where can I find examples of thesis statements?
Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how to write them.
Who should write thesis statements in their essays/papers?
Every good essay should include a thesis statement as part of its introduction, no matter the academic level. Of course, if you are a high school student you are not expected to have the extremely elaborated statement a PhD student should.
Are there video tutorials of thesis statements?
Here is a great YouTube tutorial showing How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements.