Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering?
If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning. Examples Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You turn on the computer and type out the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.
This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information. How are they the same? How are they different?
Now, push your comparison toward an interpretation—why did one side think slavery was right and the other side think it was wrong? You look again at the evidence, and you decide that you are going to argue that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life. You write: While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.
Now you have a working thesis! Included in this working thesis is a reason for the war and some idea of how the two sides disagreed over this reason. As you write the essay, you will probably begin to characterize these differences more precisely, and your working thesis may start to seem too vague. Maybe you decide that both sides fought for moral reasons, and that they just focused on different moral issues.
You end up revising the working thesis into a final thesis that really captures the argument in your paper: While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.
Compare this to the original weak thesis. This final thesis presents a way of interpreting evidence that illuminates the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War—it is not the one and only right answer to the question.
Why is this thesis weak? But the question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze. First, the question asks you to pick an aspect of the novel that you think is important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children.
Now you write: In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore. What does it signify? Eventually you will be able to clarify for yourself, and then for the reader, why this contrast matters.
This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation. Works consulted We consulted these works while writing this handout. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using.
For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. Anson, Chris M. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers. New York: Longman, 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.
Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report.
Is your thesis statement too general? Argumentative Thesis example: High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness Source: University of Evansville. Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information. If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change.
You turn on the computer and type out the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different. In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report. This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. See similar articles. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people. Be as clear and as specific as possible; avoid vague words.
In your thesis statement, you don't need to state every single detriment you're going to lay out in fact, you shouldn't as it will risk becoming a run-on sentence but you can point to the main areas you will explore. Why should readers care? Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Indeed, the second thesis has been narrowed to reflect a specific aspect of illegal drug use — drug violence.
A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.
This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. Compare the following: There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. Example of a stronger thesis: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.
Compare this original thesis too general with three possible revisions more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic : Original thesis: There are serious objections to today's horror movies. Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline?
Original thesis: Socialism is the best form of government for Kenya. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one.
You write: While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy. First, it allows the reader to get excited about what, specifically, is coming their way. It means that drug use is a controversial public issue, and we cannot introduce a regulation that would satisfy everyone. Ruszkiewicz, John J.
When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice. Example: Federal student loan policies have contributed to widespread growth in college tuition.