This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.
Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Contributors: Elyssa Tardiff, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2014-02-10 10:44:43
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 specificit 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:
An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.
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:
The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.
The paper that follows should:
- Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement:
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.
The paper that follows should:
- Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
1995-2016 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 .
Thesis Statement Guide Development Tool
Follow the steps below to formulate a thesis statement. All cells must contain text.
2. State your opinion/main idea about this topic.
This will form the heart of your thesis.
An effective statement will
- express one major idea.
- name the topic and assert something specific about it.
- be a more specific statement than the topic statement above.
- take a stance on an issue about which reasonable people might disagree.
- state your position on or opinion about the issue.
3. Give the strongest reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.
4. Give another strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.
5. Give one more strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.
6. Include an opposing viewpoint to your opinion/main idea, if applicable. This should be an argument for the opposing view that you admit has some merit, even if you do not agree with the overall viewpoint.
7. Provide a possible title for your essay.
Thesis Statement Guide Results
Parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.
Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase even though and states the writer’;s opinion/main idea as a rebuttal.
Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.
Here, the use of because reveals the reasons behind the writer’s opinion/main idea.
parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children’;s attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it isn’;t always intellectually stimulating.
This model both makes a concession to opposing viewpoint and states the reasons/arguments for the writer’;s main idea.
While television can be educational. parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it inhibits social interaction, shortens children’;s attention spans, and isn’;t always intellectually stimulating.
Remember: These thesis statements are generated based on the answers provided on the form. Use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like. Your ideas and the results are anonymous and confidential. When you build a thesis statement that works for you, ensure that it addresses the assignment. Finally, you may have to rewrite the thesis statement so that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.
Thesis Statement Guide: Sample Outline
Use the outline below, which is based on the fiveparagraph essay model, when drafting a plan for your own essay. This is meant as a guide only, so we encourage you to revise it in a way that works best for you.
Start your introduction with an interesting hook to reel your reader in. An introduction can begin with a rhetorical question, a quotation, an anecdote, a concession, an interesting fact, or a question that will be answered in your paper. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons.
Even though television can be educational. parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children’s attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating
First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watchbecause it shortens children’s attention spans .
Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of mapping tool that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidencea quotation, statistic, datathat supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.
Additionally, it inhibits social interaction .
The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement. Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidencea quotation, statistic, datathat supports this point after the Assertion. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.
Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating .
Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it’;s appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidencea quotation, statistic, datathat supports your strongest point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.
Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch .
Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don’;t want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.
Remember: This outline is based on the fiveparagraph model. Expand or condense it according to your particular assignment or the size of your opinion/main idea. Again, use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like, until you reach a thesis statement and outline that works for you.