Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper

Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!

3 ways to write a thesis statement

Proofread my paper

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, August 15). How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples, what is your plagiarism score.

  • Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Search

3 ways to write a thesis statement

Indiana University Bloomington Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington

Open Search

  • Mission, Vision, and Inclusive Language Statement
  • Locations & Hours
  • Undergraduate Employment
  • Graduate Employment
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Newsletter Archive
  • Support WTS
  • Schedule an Appointment
  • Online Tutoring
  • Before your Appointment
  • WTS Policies
  • Group Tutoring
  • Students Referred by Instructors
  • Paid External Editing Services
  • Writing Guides
  • Scholarly Write-in
  • Dissertation Writing Groups
  • Journal Article Writing Groups
  • Early Career Graduate Student Writing Workshop
  • Workshops for Graduate Students
  • Teaching Resources
  • Syllabus Information
  • Course-specific Tutoring
  • Nominate a Peer Tutor
  • Tutoring Feedback
  • Schedule Appointment
  • Campus Writing Program

Writing Tutorial Services

How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

[ Back to top ]

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

Produced by Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Writing Tutorial Services social media channels

How To Write 3 Types Of Thesis Statements

A thesis statement is “a short summary of the main idea, purpose, or argument of an essay that usually appears in the first paragraph.” It’s generally only one or two sentences in length.

A strong thesis statement is the backbone of a well-organized paper, and helps you decide what information is most important to include and how it should be presented.

What is a good thesis statement?

This thesis statement, for example, could open a paper on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s importance as a civil rights leader: “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most influential figures of the American civil rights movement. His moving speeches and nonviolent protests helped unite a nation divided by race.”

This example lays out the writer’s basic argument (King was an important leader of the American civil rights movement), offers two areas of evidence (his speeches and nonviolent protests), and explains why the argument matters (united a divided nation).

A good thesis statement delivers a clear message about the scope of the topic and the writer’s approach to the subject. In contrast, poor thesis statements fail to take a position, are based solely on personal opinion, or state an obvious truth. For example, “Democracy is a form of government,” is a weak thesis statement because it’s too general, doesn’t adopt a stance, and states a well-known fact that doesn’t need further explanation.

What are the different types of thesis statements?

Thesis statements can be explanatory , argumentative , or analytical . The type of paper determines the form of the thesis statement.

1. Explanatory thesis statement

An explanatory thesis statement is based solely on factual information. It doesn’t contain personal opinions or make claims that are unsupported by evidence. Instead, it tells the reader precisely what the topic will be and touches on the major points that will be explored in the essay. An explanatory thesis statement is sometimes also called an expository thesis statement .

For example: The core components of a healthy lifestyle include a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.

2. Argumentative thesis statement

In an argumentative essay, the writer takes a stance on a debatable topic. This stance, and the claims to back it up, is the argument . Unlike an explanatory thesis statement, an argumentative thesis statement allows the writer to take a position about a subject (e.g., the deeper meaning of a literary text, the best policy towards a social problem) and to convince readers of their stance. The body of the argumentative essay uses examples and other evidence to support the writer’s opinion.

For example: Shakespeares’s Taming of the Shrew uses humor, disguise, and social roles to criticize the lack of power women had in Elizabethan England.

3. Analytical thesis statement

An analytical thesis statement analyzes, or breaks down, an issue or idea into its different parts. Then, it evaluates the topic and clearly presents the order of the analysis to the reader.

For example: The school’s policy to start its school day an hour later revealed three related benefits: students were more alert and attentive in class, had a more positive about school, and performed better in their coursework.

How to write a thesis statement

Writing a thesis statement requires time and careful thought. The thesis statement should flow naturally from research and set out the writer’s discoveries. When composing a thesis statement, make sure it focuses on one main idea that can be reasonably covered within your desired page length. Try not to write about the entire history of America, for example, in a three-page paper.

Although deciding upon a thesis statement can be challenging and time-consuming, a strong thesis statement can make the paper both easier to write and more enjoyable to read. Don’t worry: we’re not going to leave you hanging! We’ve got a whole article to help you write an effective thesis statement here .

3 ways to write a thesis statement

Ways To Say

Synonym of the day

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.

Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

  • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
  • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

The paper that follows should:

  • Explain the analysis of the college admission process
  • Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

  • Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

  • Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Thesis Statement

Matt Ellis

A thesis statement is a sentence in a paper or essay (in the opening paragraph) that introduces the main topic to the reader. As one of the first things your reader sees, your thesis statement is one of the most important sentences in your entire paper—but also one of the hardest to write! 

In this article, we explain how to write a thesis statement in the best way possible. We look at what to include and the steps to take for writing your own, along with plenty of thesis statement examples to guide you. 

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is polished wherever you write.

Your writing, at its best Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

What is a thesis statement?

The goal of a thesis statement is to let your reader know what your paper or essay is about. It helps your reader understand the greater context and scope of your topic, plus it lets your readers know what to expect from the rest of the work. 

A secondary benefit of a thesis statement is that it makes it easier to search for papers on a particular topic, especially in the realm of academic writing like research papers and thesis papers (which are sometimes known as dissertations when written for doctoral degrees). For example, if you’re writing a paper of your own, you’ll want to look up other papers to use as evidence and sources . You can simply scan the thesis statements of several papers to see which match your topic and could be worthwhile sources to cite. 

How to write a thesis statement: Basics

Before we get into details, here are the basic steps for how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Develop the best topic to cover in your paper
  • Phrase your topic as a question-and-answer
  • Add some polish

We ’ ll describe each of those steps in more detail below, but we wanted to share a quick guide. Also, we ’ ll provide some thesis statement examples and talk about how to write a thesis statement for different kinds of essays: persuasive, compare-and-contrast, expository, and argumentative essays.

The thesis statement is located at the beginning of a paper, in the opening paragraph, making it an essential way to start an essay . A thesis statement isn’t necessarily the first sentence in an essay; typically you’ll want to hook the reader in an engaging way in the opening sentence before inserting your central idea or argument later in the first paragraph. A thesis statement is often confused with a topic sentence , the first sentence in a paragraph, because they both introduce the central idea of what follows. You can think of thesis statements as the topic sentence of your entire paper.  

What to include in a thesis statement (with examples)

Thesis statements are a necessary part of paper and essay writing , but different formats have different rules and best practices. Below, we break down how to write a thesis statement for the most common types of papers. 

How to write a thesis statement for expository and argumentative essays

Expository and argumentative essays are some of the most common types of academic papers. Because they don’t have a formal abstract like research papers, they rely on their thesis statements to provide an overview of what’s discussed. 

Thesis statements for argumentative and expository essays should use strong and decisive language; don’t be wishy-washy or uncertain. You want to take a stand right in the opening so that your readers understand what your paper is trying to show. 

Moreover, thesis statements for these essays should be specific, with some minor details to hint at the rest of the paper. It’s not enough to merely make your point; you also want to provide some basic evidence or background context to paint a full picture. 

If your paper dives into different subtopics or categories, try to fit them into the thesis statement if you can. You don’t have to get into details here, but it’s nice to mention the different sections at the top so that the reader knows what to expect. 

Thesis statement examples

Despite the taboo, insects make an excellent food source and could stem humanity’s looming food shortage, based on both their protein output and the sustainability of farming them. 

The backlash to rock ’n’ roll music in the ’50s by religious groups and traditionalists actually boosted the genre’s popularity instead of diminishing it as intended.

How to write a thesis statement for persuasive essays

Similar to argumentative essays, persuasive essays follow many of the same guidelines for their thesis statements: decisive language, specific details, and mentions of subtopics. 

However, the main difference is that, while the thesis statements for argumentative and expository essays state facts, the thesis statements for persuasive essays state clear opinions . Still, the format is the same, and the opinions are often treated like facts, including conclusive language and citing evidence to support your claims. 

Furthermore, unlike with other essays, it’s appropriate to make emotional connections in a thesis statement in persuasive essays. This can actually be a clever strategy to start your essay off on a more personal, impactful note. 

Advertising should not be allowed in public schools because it’s a distraction from studies and may lead to misguided priorities among the school board, to say nothing of the materialist culture it promotes. 

Exotic pets provide the same love and companionship as conventional pets, so the laws regulating which animals can and cannot be kept as pets should be more relaxed.

How to write a thesis statement for compare-and-contrast essays

Thesis statements for compare-and-contrast essays are tricky because you have at least two topics to touch on instead of just one. The same general guidelines apply (decisive language, details, etc.), but you need to give equal attention to both your topics—otherwise, your essay will seem biased from the start. 

As always, your thesis statement should reflect what’s written in the rest of your essay. If your essay spends more time comparing than contrasting, your thesis statement should focus more on similarities than differences. 

It sometimes helps to give specific examples as well, but keep them simple and brief. Save the finer details for the body of your essay. 

Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are the two most popular actors to portray James Bond, but both have their own distinct and at times contradictory interpretations of the character. 

How to write a thesis statement in 3 steps

Now that you know what you’re aiming for, it’s time to sit down and write your own thesis statement. To keep you on track, here are three easy steps to guide you. 

1 Brainstorm the best topic for your essay

You can’t write a thesis statement until you know what your paper is about, so your first step is choosing a topic. 

If the topic is already assigned, great ! That’s all for this step. If not, consider the tips below for choosing the topic that’s best for you:

  • Pick a topic that you’re passionate about. Even if you don’t know much about it, it’ll be easier to learn about it while writing if you’re genuinely interested. 
  • Narrow down your topic to something specific; otherwise, your paper will be too broad and perhaps too long. Just make sure it’s not too specific, or you won’t have enough to write about. Try to find a happy medium. 
  • Check beforehand that there are enough strong, credible sources to use for research. You don’t want to run out of referential material halfway through. 

Once you’ve chosen a topic—and the angle or stance you want to take—then it’s time to put the idea for your thesis sentence into words. 

2 Phrase your topic as a question and then answer it

It’s not always easy to fit your entire thesis into just one sentence, let alone one that’s written clearly and eloquently. Here’s a quick technique to help you get started. 

First, phrase your topic as a question. For example, if you want to write about Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy, ask yourself, “What influences did Gandhi have on society after his death?” 

If you already know the answer, write it down—that’s a good start for your thesis statement. If you don’t know the answer, do some preliminary research to find out; you can certainly use what you discover as evidence and sources in your essay’s body paragraphs . 

3 Add some polish

Chances are, your first attempt at a thesis statement won’t be perfect. To get it to its best, try revising , editing , and adding what’s missing. 

Remember the core traits for thesis statements we mentioned above: decisive language, a happy medium of specific but not too specific details, and mention of subtopics. If you’re struggling to contain everything in a single sentence, feel free to move the secondary information to the following sentence. The thesis statement itself should only have what’s most necessary. 

If you’re in doubt, read your thesis statement to a friend and ask them what they think your paper is about. If they answer correctly, your thesis statement does its job. 

Next comes the hard part—writing the rest! While the bulk of the writing lies ahead, at least you’ve nailed down your central idea. To plot out your supporting argument, follow our advice on essay structure and let your ideas flow. 

3 ways to write a thesis statement

  • How to write a thesis statement

ADOBE ACROBAT

How to write a thesis statement.

Set yourself up for a great essay with a solid thesis statement.

Explore Acrobat

A photo of someone drafting their thesis statement for an important upcoming essay.

JUMP TO SECTION

Start any essay with a thesis statement

Five steps for writing a thesis statement

The qualities of a strong thesis statement

Explore different kinds of thesis statements

Streamline the writing process with Acrobat

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement makes an argument and identifies your point of view. Learn how to:

  • Set up your essay for success with a thesis statement.
  • Write your own thesis statement using a step-by-step guide.
  • Adapt your thesis statement after you've completed your writing.

Start any essay with a thesis statement.

Whether you’re writing a five-paragraph essay or a 50-page dissertation, you need to make your intention or argument clear to the reader. A thesis statement does just that. It’s a one- or two-sentence summary that covers the main point or argument you plan to explore in depth throughout your essay.

Where to put a thesis statement.

Sometimes called a topic sentence, a thesis is usually the last sentence of your introductory paragraph. It offers a specific point of view that will be expanded upon in the body paragraphs and pages to follow. This argument needs to be backed up by supporting facts, analysis, and research.

Your thesis statement may adapt.

Keep in mind that writing a paper is a process. It often takes several rounds of writing and editing to get to the final product. As you edit your essay, gather feedback and comments , and conduct more research, your thesis may need to change or adjust. That’s perfectly fine, but always make sure the following arguments tie back to your main point.

A photo of a person sitting at a table and taking notes for their thesis statement.

Five steps for writing a thesis statement.

A thesis statement should come before any essay. After all, you can’t continue the writing process if you don’t know what you’re writing about. But just because you write it first, your thesis statement doesn’t have to come out perfect right off the bat. Landing on it is a process:

1. Ask yourself a question.

A good working thesis starts as a question you ask yourself and helps guide the direction and structure of your essay. What are you trying to solve or prove in your paper? When you’ve identified that question, start gathering some research.

2. Answer your question.

After you’ve done some preliminary analysis, formulate an answer to your topic question.

3. Develop your stance.

Using more research and analysis, consider your answer again. If you’re writing an argumentative essay, figure out how to convince your reader to agree with your viewpoint. Start drafting an outline to organize your points and keep your essay clear and concise.

4. Refine your statement.

Your final thesis statement needs to summarize your argument or topic. Instead of just stating your position, it should identify your point of view and set you up to make a compelling argument for it.

5. Write your essay.

Now’s the time to flesh out your paper. Draft an introduction and put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph. This gives you a chance to build up to your main point. From there, continue outlining your supporting arguments and use that as a roadmap for the rest of your essay. When you’re done, save your essay as PDF to make it easier to share with your professor or editor and gather comments.

Get work done. Anywhere.

Adobe Acrobat Pro

View product details

Acrobat logo

The qualities of a strong thesis statement.

Starting with an effective thesis statement is the key to writing a good paper. This single sentence should tell the reader what position you take and why you take that position. It should also explain what the reader will learn from your paper and briefly outline the highlights of your argument. A weak thesis statement means you’re building your essay on unsteady ground. If the statement is obvious, ambiguous, or not a complete sentence, you’ll need to hit the drawing board again.

A photo of a person writing a thesis statement on their laptop.

Your thesis should follow these guidelines.

1. Concise . Keep it short and clearly state your point.

2. Contentious. Don’t write a simple statement that’s obvious or self-evident. Make sure your thesis statement is an argument that requires explanation and discussion.

3. Coherent. Anything mentioned in your thesis must be explained with facts and points throughout the rest of your paper.

Explore different kinds of thesis statements.

Your thesis statement will depend on your writing assignment. So before jumping in to write a thesis, explore these different types of essays (and different types of thesis statements) to identify the style of writing you need to employ.

Analytical essay.

This is a piece of writing that identifies a topic, often in the form of a specific question, and initially takes a neutral, balanced stance. For this essay, you’ll need to gather information from different credible sources and provide a well-supported critical analysis without necessarily persuading the reader to one side over the other. Analytical essays are a standard form of academic writing and can dissect research findings, analyze books, and so much more.

Analytical thesis statement example:

Topic: How does Shakespeare use metaphors in his sonnets?

Thesis statement: In Sonnet 60, Shakespeare uses metaphors and imagery to explain how individuals experience the passage of time differently.

Expository essay.

This style of essay communicates factual information and educates the reader. These papers are clear and let the facts speak for themselves. This isn’t about being clever or argumentative — it’s about analyzing the information and explaining the process of how you reached a specific conclusion.

Expository thesis statement example:

Topic: Explore the elements of a healthy lifestyle.

Thesis statement: The core components of a healthy lifestyle include a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.

Argumentative essay.

This is your chance to investigate a specific topic, collect evidence, and establish a concrete position. As the name suggests, you’ll need to form an argument and gather detailed research. Whether it’s a research paper or an academic essay, argumentative writing aims to sway a reader to your point of view. This style of essay can also include counterarguments, followed by the author’s response to those counterpoints.

Argumentative thesis statement example:

Topic: Identify how social media affects mental health.

Thesis statement: Although social media platforms have a positive place in most people’s lives, with nearly 2.85 billion users currently active on Facebook, the long-term effects on those users’ mental health are proving to be quite damaging.

Narrative essay.

This type of writing tells a story and doesn’t require a thesis statement. Narratives can expand upon a personal experience or explore an imaginary story. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, narrative writing follows characters and can include dialogue.

A photo of a person sitting at a desk in an office typing a thesis statement on a laptop.

Streamline the writing process with Acrobat Pro.

When your paper is ready to be submitted — whether to a peer reviewer, a tutor in the writing center, or your professor — save it as a PDF. That way, no matter whom you share the file with or what device they open it on, it’ll always look the same. Sharing your essay as a PDF also makes it simpler for your editor or reviewer to leave comments and highlight text. Upload your document to Acrobat online services to quickly add notes, mark up the essay, and provide feedback in a snap.

When the review process is streamlined, you get to focus on what matters — drafting a compelling thesis statement and writing a stellar essay.

Keep exploring

https://main--dc--adobecom.hlx.page/dc-shared/fragments/seo-articles/seo-caas-collection

https://main--dc--adobecom.hlx.page/dc-shared/fragments/seo-articles/acrobat-color-blade

3 ways to write a thesis statement

Banner

Research Paper: A step-by-step guide: 3. Thesis Statement & Outline

  • 1. Getting Started
  • 2. Topic Ideas
  • 3. Thesis Statement & Outline
  • 4. Appropriate Sources
  • 5. Search Techniques
  • 6. Taking Notes & Documenting Sources
  • 7. Evaluating Sources
  • 8. Citations & Plagiarism
  • 9. Writing Your Research Paper

alt=""

About Thesis Statements

Qualities of a thesis statement.

Thesis statements:

  • state the subject matter and main ideas of a paper.
  • appear in the first paragraph and announces what you will discuss in your paper.
  • define the scope and focus of your essay, and tells your reader what to expect.  
  • are not a simple factual statement.  It is an assertion that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence.
  • should be the product of research and your own critical thinking.
  • can be very helpful in constructing an outline for your essay; for each point you make, ask yourself whether it is relevant to the thesis.

Steps you can use to create a thesis statement

1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.

youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs

2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence.  It can be helpful to start with a question which you then turn into an argument

Can prevention and intervention programs stop youth gang activities?  How?  ►►►  "Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities by giving teens something else to do."

3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.

"Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement by giving teens good activities that offer a path to success."

4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.

"Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement, which they do by giving teens meaningful activities that offer pathways to achievement and success."

5. Keep your thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information or refine your understanding of the topic.

You can view this short video for more tips on how to write a clear thesis statement.

An outline is the skeleton of your essay, in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay.  Once your outline is in good shape, it is much easier to write your paper; you've already done most of the thinking, so you just need to fill in the outline with a paragraph for each point.

To write an outline: The most common way to write an outline is the list format.  List all the major topics and subtopics with the key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order.    Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 

A list outline should arrange the main points or arguments in a hierarchical structure indicated by Roman numerals for main ideas (I, II, III...), capital letters for subtopics (A, B, C...), Arabic numerals for details (1,2,3...), and lower-case letters for fine details if needed (a,b,c...). This helps keep things organized.  

Here is a shortened example of an outline:

Introduction: background and thesis statement

I. First topic

1. Supporting evidence 2. Supporting evidence

II. Second Topic

III. Third Topic

I. Summarize the main points of your paper II. Restate your thesis in different words III. Make a strong final statement

You can see examples of a few different kinds of outlines and get more help at the Purdue OWL .

  • << Previous: 2. Topic Ideas
  • Next: 4. Appropriate Sources >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 18, 2023 12:12 PM
  • URL: https://butte.libguides.com/ResearchPaper

IMAGES

  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement: Fill-in-the-Blank Formula

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

  2. Who can write my thesis

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

  3. Academic Thesis Statements

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

  4. How to Write a Thesis Statement!

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

  5. 👍 How to construct a thesis statement. Thesis Creator. 2019-02-24

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

  6. How to Write a Good Thesis Statement: Tips & Examples

    3 ways to write a thesis statement

VIDEO

  1. How to write a dissertation or thesis Mainbody of #dissertation #thesis #project #educ #phd_entrance

  2. CSS Essay Preparation: what is thesis statement in essay : write effective thesis statement

  3. How To Use ChatGPT For Academic Thesis

  4. How to Write First Chapter of Thesis/PrOposal..Learn in easiest way.#reseach #proposal #specialedu

  5. Tutorial: How to Write a Thesis Statement

  6. How to Write a Thesis Statement

COMMENTS

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Winning Thesis Statement

    Writing a thesis statement can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. A thesis statement is a concise and clear statement that outlines the main argument of your paper. It is typically placed at the end of your in...

  2. Tips for Making a Solid Thesis Statement

    Writing a thesis statement can be one of the most challenging parts of writing an essay. A thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point or argument of an essay. It should be clear, concise, and to the point.

  3. How Do I Write a Rebuttal Statement?

    The best way to write a rebuttal statement is to start with a strong thesis statement that will present the person’s argument and defend the position on a statement or an accusation made against him.

  4. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay. It usually comes near the end of your introduction.

  5. How to Write a Thesis Statement: Writing Guides

    Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses

  6. How To Write 3 Types Of Thesis Statements

    1. Explanatory thesis statement. An explanatory thesis statement is based solely on factual information. It doesn't contain personal opinions or

  7. Writing a Thesis Statement

    What is a Thesis Statement? A thesis statement is a sentence that states the topic and purpose of your paper. · Where does a Thesis Statement go? · How do you

  8. Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

    2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence. 3. The

  9. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement is a sentence in a paper or essay (in the opening paragraph) that introduces the main topic to the reader.

  10. How to Write a STRONG Thesis Statement

    A good thesis statement sums up the main points of your paper, and keeps you on the right track during the whole writing process.

  11. How to write a thesis statement

    Five steps for writing a thesis statement. · 1. Ask yourself a question. · 2. Answer your question. · 3. Develop your stance. · 4. Refine your statement. · 5. Write

  12. Research Paper: A step-by-step guide: 3. Thesis Statement & Outline

    Steps you can use to create a thesis statement · 1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay. · 2. Make a claim or argument in one

  13. How To Write a Thesis Statement: Step-By-Step

    1. Underline key words in the question · 2. Note down relevant topics/themes · 3. Decide on the argument you want to present in your thesis statement · 4. Turn

  14. How To Write a Thesis Statement in 4 Steps (FAQ and Example)

    3. Place your thesis in the right spot. Thesis statements are typically near the middle or end of the first paragraph of an essay. This