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What is Thesis Statement in Academic Writing?

The nature and purpose of this handout

This handout will explain what a thesis statement is, how it functions in your writing, and how you may develop or improve a thesis statement for a draft that you are working on.


When you are at college, you will find that most of the writing you do is meant to persuade others that you have an interesting and rational perspective on the topic that you are researching. Your everyday existence provides ample opportunities for you to hone the art of persuasion. You are successful in convincing your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you use the car, and your friend to vote for the politician or policy that you support. Writing projects at the collegiate level frequently need you to argue a point of view in a manner that is convincing to others. It is expected of you to persuade the reader to see things from your perspective. This type of argument, which is more commonly known as academic argument, has a format that is easy to recognize in written form. After providing a quick overview of the subject matter, you next convey your position on the issue in an unambiguous manner, frequently all within the confines of a single sentence. This particular sentence is known as the thesis statement, and it acts as a synopsis of the argument that will be developed further in the body of the work.

What exactly is a statement of thesis?

A statement of the thesis:

• conveys to the reader your perspective on the significance of the matter that is being discussed;

It serves as a guide for the rest of the paper; to put it another way, it tells the reader what to anticipate from the remaining sections of the document.

It provides an answer that is pertinent to the question that was posed to you. A question or subject is not a thesis; rather, an interpretation of the question or subject is a thesis. An essay’s subject, often known as its topic, could be something like World War II or Moby Dick; in this case, the thesis of the essay should provide some insight into either the war or the novel.

• asserts something that other people might not agree with.

It is typically a single line placed towards the beginning of your paper (typically at the end of the first paragraph) that provides the reader with an overview of the argument you will be making. The remaining portion of the article, which is referred to as the body of the essay, is responsible for collecting and arranging evidence that will convince the reader of the validity of your interpretation.

If you have been given an assignment that requires you to create a claim or take a stance regarding a certain topic, you may be required to communicate that position or claim in the form of a thesis statement that is placed near the beginning of your document. It is possible that the assignment will not indicate clearly that you need to include a thesis statement because your instructor may believe that you will do it on your own. If you are unsure, you should always check with your teacher to see if the assignment requires a thesis statement. If you are given a task that requires you to do tasks such as analyzing, interpreting, comparing and contrasting, demonstrating cause and effect, or taking a stance on a particular problem, it is highly probable that you are being asked to formulate a thesis and provide convincing support for it. (If you need any further information, have a look at our handout on interpreting assignments.)

How do I compose a thesis statement?

A long amount of thought must go into the development of a thesis. After reading the assignment for an essay, the first thing you should do is not construct a thesis statement. Before you can develop an argument on any subject, you need to gather evidence, organize it, look for possible relationships between known facts (like surprising contrasts or similarities), and consider the significance of these relationships. You must do all of these things before you can start developing your argument. After you have done all of this thinking, you will most likely have what is called a “working thesis.” This “working thesis” will present a fundamental or primary notion as well as an argument that you believe you can support with evidence. It’s possible that both the argument and the thesis will require some modification as you go along.

Writers make use of a wide variety of strategies to invigorate their thinking, assist them in elucidating relationships, and enable them to realize the greater significance of a subject in order to produce a thesis statement. See the handout we provided on brainstorming for additional suggestions on how to get started.

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