How to write a good thesis statement

How to write a good thesis statement

Are you pursuing a degree course in a college or university? Do you expect to score high grades in your course? If so, then you will be required to write assignments, academic papers or dissertations as a precondition for the award and conferment of a particular degree in your field of study. These are basically research papers and therefore, they follow a formal writing style. Doing a research requires you to identify a topic that highly interests and motivates you, and then develop innovative ideas that will bring forth new knowledge. The research you will carry out needs a thesis or a thesis statement that gives a roadmap of your write up and forms the baseline of the research project. Thesis and thesis statement are sometimes used interchangeably depending on the context of your writing. Therefore, thesis sometimes may refer to the whole write up of the views that are against your idea and those that support your idea. This is also known as the full thesis which expands the main idea and explains the thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a sentence that clarifies the main idea of a text. This thesis statement meaning applies to all forms of academic paper writings and essays. It is developed by carefully focusing on the main idea of your research, and using the sentence to describe your topic followed by the research question to be answered. Hence the statement will give a path to be followed in your write up of the research paper. As you write the introduction paragraph of your paper, usually the last sentence of the paragraph will portray the thesis statement. It all starts with an opinion you form about a topic of the research. What do you feel about the topic? What are your thoughts, and what is your idea about the truth of the matter in the topic at hand? What audience are you writing for? Will the audience disagree or agree with you? will the audience be interested or disinterested? What are you out to achieve? Ask yourself as many questions as possible before writing your thesis. After brainstorming over what your main idea is, you can then draft a thesis statement from your opinion and work on narrowing it down to your main idea in one sentence. An opinion is simply an expression of what you feel is true, probable or valid in your own mind based on uncertainties in belief and prior knowledge about a given topic. The initial draft of the thesis can be looked at as a working thesis. To make the thesis significant and debatable, the following steps can be used to narrow your opinion in the working thesis further: –

  • Take stock of the information you have about the topic. How much do you know about the topic? Is it enough to defend your thesis?
  • Ask yourself questions that oppose your idea and create conflict or opposition. These are called thesis questions. Developing a thesis question will make your opinion arguable and also cause you to revise and improve your working thesis.
  • Look for questions that relate and support your main idea. Write down answers to these questions.
  • Ask more thesis questions that lead to a yes or no response. Remove generalizations in your working thesis by answering the questions precisely.
  • Finally limit the working thesis statement to a clear, well defined, precise and reasonable sentence that carries what you can honestly defend and provide controlled arguments. This will be your thesis statement for the research paper.

The thesis statement can still be reviewed and revised as you continue writing the research paper and may be finalized concisely as you reach the end of the paper. Hence it is not fixed solidly at the beginning of your write up. With the use of current technological practices, professional online writers and other specialists in writing academic papers have also developed a system or an application software that can be used to generate for you a thesis statement hence making your work easier. For you to be able to use the thesis generator or thesis maker, you need to follow the instructions given by the creator of the thesis maker or provide information as requested below: –

  • What is your topic?
  • What is your main idea about the topic?
  • State the major reason that supports your main idea
  • Give a second reason that supports your idea
  • Give another reason that may or may not support your main idea.

Once this information is fed into the thesis maker or thesis generator, a thesis statement will be generated automatically for you by the system following professionally acceptable thesis statement format. The quality of the statement is good and your tutor may not realize that it was written by the thesis maker. Consider the following example: –

  • Topic: – Monitoring children’s Television use.
  • Main idea: – parents should regulate the amount of TV their children watch.
  • Another reason: – the TV prevents social interactions.
  • One more reason: – the TV is not always intellectually stimulating.
  • An opposing viewpoint: – the TV can be educational.
  • Thesis statement generated by the thesis maker: – While Television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of Television their children watch because it is not always stimulating intellectually, and it prevents social interactions.

The thesis statement format makes it to be one sentence in structure, have words that arouse debate and objections from the audience, and be focused on the main idea of the research paper. A full thesis is finally written containing three elements. The thesis statement, views that oppose your thesis and views in support of your thesis. Answering as many thesis questions as possible will enhance the writing of the full thesis because each thesis question will provide an answer that relates to your main idea either positively or negatively. As you start writing your research paper, you must constantly refer to the thesis to ensure that you do not waver off from your idea and goal, and keep focused on the thesis statement.

What is the difference between non-debatable thesis statement and Controversial thesis statement?

The difference between the two lies in the ability to generate arguments. A non-debatable thesis statement has no premise for any argument and therefore it cannot arouse any objections that lead to a debate. It is a statement of fact or historical happenings which cannot be altered in any way or argued differently by any other person. The statement gives purely scientific facts, for example, pollution is harmful to the environment. This is a fact that is not debatable, and it is by all means true. On the other hand, a controversial thesis statement is arguable or debatable and presents objectionable views. You can present your main idea in the statement and raise counteracting arguments from the audience as they interpret it. The different interpretations from the audience against your own interpretation will create interest that arouse more controversies and debate. It is this debate that makes your paper to be good and of great quality.

How do you know your thesis statement is strong?

A strong thesis statement will raise a lot of controversies and arguments. The audience will have a lot to say for or against it, and hence debate over the statement. With this happening, you will know that your thesis statement is strong. The debate will give you a great opportunity to zero in on your idea and persuade the audience on the significance of the thesis. If the arguments are focused on your idea in the thesis statement, then it is a strong statement. The more the argument, the stronger the thesis statement and the greater is the interest in your research paper.

Should a thesis statement be long?

                    The thesis statement is not long. It is normally a one sentence statement that brings out what the whole research is all about, and its relevance. A working thesis may be slightly longer before you refine it to the final thesis statement. However, there may appear a case where you are forced to write a second sentence to completely bring out your main idea. This is acceptable but the statement is never more than two sentences long.

What is the importance of a thesis statement in a research paper?

                    The thesis statement makes the reader to understand and know what to expect in the whole research paper. It makes the audience to appreciate what the research paper is addressing, and know the new knowledge and innovations it is bringing in. The statement gives a baseline for the research paper and provides a road map for writing it. Your interpretation of the subject matter will be given by the thesis statement and it should elicit objections and debate. The reader will be able to see your claim and arguments for your main idea in the statement. From your side as a writer, the thesis statement will enable you to visualize the end result of your research paper and keep you focused on your goal. Do you want to explain, describe, argue, persuade, or inform? Then the thesis statement will keep your paper directed to what you want to do. It will control what you are writing.

Examples of academic papers that must have a thesis statement.

              All essay and research papers must have a thesis statement. Argumentative research papers, descriptive essays, informative papers, expository papers, summary, evaluative, original papers and narrative papers must have a thesis statement. In fact, an academic paper that does not have a thesis statement is invalid right from its commencement. As a matter of fact, each student is supposed to submit a thesis statement to the tutors for approval before writing the paper. An informative paper for example summarizes major findings of a research. An example of an informative thesis statement is: –

The biodiversity in the United States is being threatened due to climate change.

An example of an argumentative thesis statement is: –

Though uniforms are told to enhance community spirit and unity, educational institutions should not force students to wear them.

An example of a descriptive thesis statement is: –

Soccer as a sport appears destined to surpass football in popularity.

How to ensure your writing supports the thesis statement

                    After writing the thesis statement and ensuring it meets the required standard, you can now embark on the writing process. The purpose of writing the research paper is to clarify and support your statement by providing clear and concise information about your idea to the reader. The thesis statement meaning and the question that you are answering in the research paper should be fully addressed through each section of your paper. Your paper must have a body section and a conclusion paragraph. Constant reference to the main idea and provision of evidence and related findings will ensure your writing supports the thesis statement. Scrutinize every argument and information you are presenting to ensure the thesis statement is supported.

DO’s and DON’Ts in writing thesis statement


Do the following as you write your thesis statement: –

  • Write a debatable thesis statement where other people can give differing opinions.
  • Have a clear claim. This may be a claim of fact, claim of cause and effect, claim of value and claim of solutions or policies.
  • Narrow down the thesis statement to a single topic focusing on your main idea.
  • Limit the statement to your main idea.
  • State or show significance of the research.
  • Be honest and original in thought.
  • Write with your audience in mind.
  • Use appropriate language for the audience you are targeting.


Do not do the following: –

  • Provide a statement that gives evidence in itself.
  • Write a summary of the research as a thesis statement. This is self-defeating.
  • Write a statement of fact. It is not debatable since it can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
  • Give a broad statement that needs a lot of evidence to support it. It brings confusion in your interpretation.
  • Write on something that cannot be verified independently and you have little information about it.
  • Use language that creates confusion and lacks clarity.
  • Quote somebody else’s idea in your thesis statement.
  • Use ambiguous words or complex terminologies.
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