Thesis Statements: Definition and Examples
Updated July 31, 2023
A thesis statement is a critical component of an academic paper or professional document and it's used to convey the author's point of view and intent. Understanding how to write a concise and effective thesis statement can help you create a persuasive document. In this article, we discuss what a thesis statement is and what to include in a good thesis statement, and we provide examples of thesis statements to help you create your own.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a sentence used in academic or professional writing that states your position on a certain topic. Your thesis statement explains what the rest of your essay is about in clear, detailed terms. Thesis statements often appear in expository essays, compare and contrast essays, persuasive essays and research papers. Usually, you'll write your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph of your essay.
What to include in a well-written thesis statement
A good thesis statement will generally include the following elements:
Your thesis statement should be clear and direct. You want to explain what you're talking about in a way that readers can easily understand. Consider your audience and assignment requirements as you select a topic, phrasing and vocabulary.
Good thesis statements include specific details about what information is in the essay or study. For instance, consider an essay about the effects of technology on interpersonal relationships. Rather than using a general statement, like "This paper discusses how technology influences relationships," you could say, "This paper discusses how technology affects the quality of interpersonal relationships, frequency of face-to-face interactions in significant relationships and the average number of important relationships in individuals 18 to 55."
Interest for readers
You should create your thesis statement with your readers in mind. If you are writing for an assignment, be sure to address your teacher's prompt in your thesis statement. In other situations, you want to write about a topic that will interest your audience and make them want to keep reading.
A good thesis statement reveals your position on the topic you're discussing rather than stating facts. Your position is a take that can be argued against. For instance, instead of writing, "Most traffic accidents involve drivers under 20," you might say, "Because the majority of traffic accidents involve drivers who are 16 to 19 years old, the legal driving age should be increased to 21."
An outline of your paper
Your thesis statement is like a guide for your essay. It tells the reader exactly what you're going to cover and why it's important. As you write your paper, you may need to update your thesis statement to reflect the content of your essay. Be sure to revisit your thesis statement when the body of your paper is complete to ensure the thesis statement relates to your work.
An answer to a prompt
If you are writing in response to a question or prompt, your thesis statement needs to answer the question. For example, consider an English course with an assignment to write about how World War II influenced literature. Your thesis statement should provide specific answers to that question that you will elaborate on in your paper, such as how authors wrote fewer positive and optimistic stories.
Read more: How To Write a Research Paper Step-by-Step
Thesis statement examples
Here are several sample thesis statements, with an explanation and first draft followed by an improved, revised version:
Consider this first draft of a thesis statement, "Many neighborhoods have codes of conduct for residents." This statement is too broad and doesn't provide a stance on the topic. Once you narrow down your essay's content, you can update your thesis statement to offer a position on codes of conduct with reasons supporting your position.
Revised: "Community codes of conduct should be mandatory in new developments as they help improve home values, improve community involvement and enhance safety."
Sometimes, your thesis statement may offer a stance on a topic, such as "People should not use pet breeders." To improve this thesis statement, you should also provide support for your argument that explains why you feel this way. The rest of the essay should include research that further supports the claims made in the statement.
Revised: "Due to the thousands of homeless animals in shelters, the risk of animal neglect and unlawful business practices, people should not buy animals from pet breeders."
Consider an essay on hiring tests. You want readers to know what you're writing about, so you may start with a thesis statement like, "Hiring tests are used in large corporations." This sentence introduces your topic, but it does not provide specific details about what you're arguing for or against. The statement is simply stating a fact. You can improve this thesis statement by providing more details about what position you're taking and the facts supporting it.
Revised: "This paper identifies how Global Corp., Tate Industries and Simmons Products implemented personality tests in their hiring strategies to reduce turnover by 23% and why other large corporations should do the same."
In addition to taking a stance on an issue, your thesis statement should introduce the specific reasoning your paper covers. For instance, you could write, "Movies should be optimized for all viewing platforms." This statement provides a position without supportive evidence. It also does not outline what is in the rest of the paper. You can improve this thesis statement with more supplementary information.
Revised: "Because of the increase in the variety of viewing platforms and decline in theater ticket sales, movie production companies should use techniques that optimize movies for all platforms."
As you're writing your thesis statement, be careful about simply stating facts. For example, the thesis statement, "Early education centers are important for school readiness" states a fact rather than provide a position on the topic. You can improve this thesis statement by providing an argument that can be countered and offering reasons why the topic is important.
Revised: "As key care providers for preschool-age students, early education centers should offer school readiness training that includes appropriate social skills, fine and gross motor skills, and letter and number recognition."
Frequently asked questions
Are thesis statements used in fictional writing?
Writers use thesis statements in nonfiction writing, including research papers and persuasive essays. In a narrative essay, a thesis statement can emphasize the story's importance or the lesson the author hopes readers learn from their essay.
Can a thesis statement be two sentences long?
While a thesis statement can be two sentences long, a writer often limits it to one sentence. A one-sentence thesis statement is easier for the reader to locate, as the writer can place it at the end of a paper's first paragraph, following a sufficient introduction to the topic.
Can a thesis statement be too broad or too narrow?
A good thesis statement has a strong focus that is neither too broad nor too narrow. If a thesis statement is too broad, it can be challenging to discuss all of its elements within the limitations of your report. If your thesis statement is too narrow, you may not have sufficient research to support your claims. It's best to create a thesis statement that identifies the topic and your opinion about that topic so the readers know exactly what depth of information to expect.
Explore more articles
- 9 Tips To Write an Interesting Hook
- How To Prepare an Adjusted Trial Balance (With Example)
- 12 Sustainability Certifications for Professional Growth
- 10 Tips for How To Get Along With Coworkers
- Formula for a Sales Forecast and How To Calculate It
- 10 Tips for Giving a Great Presentation to an Audience
- What are Mathematical Combinations and How To Calculate Them
- How To Write a Follow-Up Email (Plus Template and Example)
- How To Write a "Please Disregard My Previous Email" Message
- 100 Positive Words To Describe Coworkers
- How To Formally Address a Letter to a Business (With FAQ)
- 13 Different Ways To Say "Thank You For Reaching Out"