What Is a Thesis Statement? (Tips and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 23, 2021 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated August 23, 2021

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A strong thesis statement provides a valuable way to keep your readers focused on your topic. Knowing and communicating the elements of a good thesis statement can make your audience intrigued to read more. Understanding the three types of papers that require different types of thesis statements can assist you in your writing process. In this article, we discuss the elements of a good thesis statement and how to write a thesis statement with examples.

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What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a sentence written for a specific audience that conveys the purpose and topic of your paper. The thesis statement appears in the introductory paragraph and is commonly the final sentence of your introduction. A good thesis statement generates interest in the topic and makes the reader want to continue reading. Your thesis can make a claim, analyze an issue or explain a topic. In some cases for more complex papers, your thesis statement can be more than one sentence.

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Elements of a good thesis statement

A good thesis statement will generate curiosity about the rest of your paper. Here are a few elements of a good thesis statement:

Specific to your topic

A strong thesis statement is specific to the topic in the paper or essay. Statements that remain specific keep the reader engaged and focused. For example, if you wrote your paper about the effects of water pollution, keep your thesis statement specific to your main effects. For example: "The most detrimental effect of water pollution is the loss of human life due to infected aquatic animals".

Expresses interest

A strong thesis statement expresses interest and curiosity about the rest of your paper. For example: "An analysis of alternatives to cane sugar consumption indicates that sugar substitutes are more detrimental to your health".

Arguable opinion

A strong thesis statement contains an opinion that allows others to argue your statement. People react more emotionally to opinions which makes them continue reading. For example: "Diet soda should be banned because people have a higher chance of developing type two diabetes".

Reason for opinion

A strong thesis statement also includes an apparent reason for your opinion. Providing your focused reasoning for your conclusion allows readers to argue for or against your stance. For example: "Parents should ban their children from using social media because it causes them to grow up with diminished social skills".

How to write a thesis statement

Here are a few steps you can follow to write a strong thesis statement.

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1. Determine the type of paper you are writing

There are three common types of papers that contain a thesis statement:

  • Analytical: An analytical paper contains a thesis that analyzes an issue. Your thesis statement may include your topic, what you are analyzing and the conclusion you create based on your opinion.

  • Argumentative: An argumentative paper contains a thesis that makes a claim. Your thesis statement may include your topic, your position in the form of an opinion, and a reason for why you believe in your opinionated statement.

  • Expository: An expository paper contains a thesis that explains a topic. Your thesis statement may include your topic and main aspects in the form of an opinion or stance that describes or answers your topic.

2. Choose your claim, topic or issue

Think carefully about the question or prompt and choose a claim, topic or issue. Whether you choose your topic or it is chosen for you, narrowing your topic can help specify a stronger thesis statement.

For example: If your general prompt is about social media, you might consider writing about a specific topic, such as how social media is helping people learn about other cultures and a variety of people.

3. Formulate an opinion

Formulate an arguable opinion that allows others to support or dispute your statement. For example, considering your prompt is about social media and you've chosen your topic of social media helping people to learn about other cultures and a variety of people, you might formulate an opinion that is even more concise. You want your statement to be able to express a direct opinion that allows others to argue for it or against it.

Based on your topic, you might consider an opinion that states you believe social media has helped our society far more than it has hurt it because it allows us to stay connected to social issues affecting people around the world that we wouldn't have otherwise known about.

Once you narrow a prompt to a topic and a topic to an opinion, writing your thesis can become more apparent.

4. Write your thesis statement

A strong thesis will always mention the topic you are writing about. The type of paper you are writing will determine the other elements that you can include in addition to your topic. The two elements that will always be present in your thesis statement are your topic and your opinion. Here are some examples of how you might write a thesis statement based on the type of paper or essay you are writing:

Analytical

An analytical statement includes the topic, what you are analyzing and the conclusion you make based on your opinion. Here's an example:

  • Prompt: Write an analytical paper explaining your view on income inequality in a country.

  • Topic: Income inequality in the United States.

  • What you are analyzing: An investigation of causes.

  • Your opinion: Income inequality can be solved by investing in education and increasing the minimum wage.

  • Thesis statement: "An investigation of causes of income inequality in the United States proves that it can be solved by investing in education and increasing the minimum wage."

Argumentative

An argumentative statement includes the topic, your position and the reasons for your position based on your opinion. Here's an example:

  • Prompt: Write an argumentative paper describing the effects social media has on people.

  • Topic: Social media.

  • Your position: Social media has a positive effect on people.

  • Your reason: We have an increase in social awareness of people from other parts of the world.

  • Thesis statement: "Social media has a positive effect on people because it allows us to increase our social awareness of people from other cultures around the world who possess mindsets different than our own."

Expository

An expository statement includes the topic and the main aspects that are formed based on your opinion. Here's an example:

  • Prompt: Write an expository paper outlining the most important qualities it takes to be a leader.

  • Topic: Leadership qualities.

  • Your main aspects: Problem-solving skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence.

  • Your opinion: Important qualities for leaders are problem-solving skills, communication skills and emotional intelligence.

  • Thesis statement: "The three most important qualities that leaders must possess include problem-solving skills, communication skills and emotional intelligence."

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