How to Write a Thesis Statement

by Dr. Alan June 22, 2020

A thesis statement is crucial and one of the major cause for rejection of research papers. This makes it highly crucial to understand and avoid the mistakes that can even lead to rejection of your research paper. The common errors that lead to such rejection are major because of a vague statement or a stamen lacking clarity. Along with a very common cause is a mentioned fact rather than an arguable claim in the statement. Also, a wrong format or a very prominent or simple argument can lead to rejections.

A clear clarity on what is contained in a thesis statement would depict the prominence and need to frame the thesis statement correctly.

Templates for thesis statement sentences

Please share screenshots from the source PDF or link for each template/example

1. Comparison/Contrast Thesis Sentences: The thesis sentence templates are created to be used based on the purpose of the essay. For essays exploring a compare and contrast aspect, the below-depicted template can be made use of.

2. Proposition Thesis Statement: When a proposition needs to be agreed or disagreed upon the template needs to be as shown below:

3. Analytical Thesis Statement: Here in case the issue under question is divided into components and presented for evaluation. An example would help bring in clarity:

4. Expository (explanatory) Thesis Statement: As the name specifies the purpose is to bring a clear explanation for the audience. A descriptive example is as shown below:

5. Argumentative Thesis Statement: In such cases, a claim and justification of claim are depicted as part of the statement.

Where to Place the Thesis Statement?

Thesis Statement comes after the introductory paragraph after the context is put forth as part of the introduction. For short papers, the work may even start with a thesis statement and can be limited to a single short sentence.

Simple steps to write a thesis statement

  1. Read and reread the prompt to have a clear understanding
  2. Select Keywords: Based on identifying important keywords from the prompt and doing some preliminary research on it select keywords that give the prime ideas.
  3. Formulate the question based on keywords: though easy to say and difficult to do. It is highly recommended to formulate the question based on chosen keywords and prompts.
  4. State a direct answer by either depicting agreement or disagreement with the question formulated.
  5. Once the answer is there, one can go on to erase the question and start work on the answer.
  6. Use appropriate template and guidelines to dress up the answer based on research done as part of preliminary steps.


A thesis statement should have an argument and transition words


Checklist for Writing a thesis statement

Without a checklist crosschecked after completion of writing a thesis statement, one can go astray thinking all aspects are covered but the work may lead to rejection.

Here comes a simplified checklist for you:

1. Have you taken a stand on your thesis statement?

You do not need to make an announcement as part of a thesis statement, rather depict an argument. But in the flow of writing, we often write the thesis statement to announce our stand. This limits the scope of the work and also sections of the work does not hold validity as your viewpoint is already stated. Rather your viewpoint should come as part of the conclusion.

2. Have you got stuck with a single main idea or not?

A very common mistake that needs to be considered as part of the thesis statement is how many ideas are contained in it.The thesis statement gets diluted if more than one main idea is included. Not only does it makes vague but also the reader and panellist get an idea that unattainable scope has been set for the work doubting the capability of the researcher.

3. The word count is managed. Nor over exceeded nor too short.

One can not exceed the thesis statement for the length of a paragraph. This brings out the fact that the researcher lacks clarity of understanding on what needs to be done as part of the research.

4. Is the statement specific?

5. Is your statement unique and original not duplicated?

A very important cause of rejection of a research proposal is the uniqueness of the designed thesis statement. The originality of the main idea that would be reduced by the argument as part of the thesis statement should lead to unpublished results.

6. Does your statement justify or conclude your stand?

Every thesis statement is written with a motive to attain a conclusion that answers and justifies the argument stated in the statement. Based on the thesis statement and questions we need to see if we are moving in the right direction that would help us attain a justification of the stated argument.

7. the statement clear in its objective?

Clarity of the statement highly depends on how it is formulated and presented. This is one reason why it is always suggested to limit the thesis statement with one main idea.

Using these checklist points, as mentioned above, a good thesis statement can be formulated. A recommended reading, in this regard, would be to understand all aspects of a good thesis statement.

Mistakes to avoid when writing a thesis statement

A few prominent mistakes that need to be taken care of include:

1. Vague thesis statement- The most common mistake usually is an unclear statement, mentioned as a thesis statement. Usually, the general presentation of a broad idea without specifications makes a thesis statement vague.

Check the example below for clarity:

2. Argument not strong or missing- A very state forward statement lacks depth and argument to be considered strong enough for a thesis statement

3. Too broad in scope. Often in a desire to depict the depth of a work we include many aspects and main ideas as part of the thesis statement which broadens the need and scope of work, but the same is not depicted in the rest of the work making the whole work weak and inappropriate.

4. Instead of presenting a valid argument presenting an announcement. A Thesis statement is usually created by answering a question.The answer is modulated as an argument.But if you have already taken a stand as part of thesis statement then you are actually putting yourself in trouble.

5. Don’t give your opinion through the thesis statement

Thesis statement Writing FAQs

Q1. What are the differences between theme, thesis statement, topic sentence and main idea in essay writing?

  1. Theme: Usually is a general lesson or learning or concept that can be used over a variety of papers.
  2. Thesis Statement: This specifies and speaks about what the whole paper deals with.
  3. Topic Sentence:  Gives an idea of what the paragraph deals with.
  4. Main Idea: This is specific to a paper and tells what it is all about.

Q2. Should a thesis statement include “I think…”?

No, a thesis statement should avoid using such phrases like “I think, I believe..” that depict uncertainty of the researcher.

Q3. What is a tentative thesis statement?

Though the thesis statement is developed first and then the work, but yet it undergoes alterations till the last stage of the paper. When we start we specify a general argument and in course of our research we modify it based on specific findings.

The first thesis statement written is hence referred to as a tentative thesis statement.

Q4. Are the main idea and the thesis statement the same thing?

Though in general it can be considered a “yes” for the question posed. But the difference lies in the fact that thesis statement depicts the main idea, included in the last sentence of the introduction. But the main idea is never specified in a sentence rather it turns obvious in all sections of the work.


A thesis statement should have an argument and transition words


Q5. Can a thesis statement be a hook?

It can be but usually not. A hook is the attention grabber which usually comes in the very first sentence. But technically the thesis statement comes down towards the end of the introduction, giving a clearer picture of an idea that can be used to present the point of discussion of the paper.

Q6. Can a thesis statement be a question?

A good thesis statement is not a question rather an answer to a question formulated based on prompt. Also, it should have a debatable aspect which usually cannot be comprised in case of a question.

Q7. How can I write a thesis statement for a descriptive essay?

Usually a descriptive essay details all you need to know about a topic, place, person or event. The same can always be presented in very few words as a thesis statement, but that won’t hold a valid argument. So the challenge to write a thesis statement for a descriptive essay needs more drilling down into the topic to develop a strong argument that is debatable about the topic.

Q8. Should a one-page essay have a thesis statement?

In a one page essay, a thesis statement can maximum be a single sentence that spells the topic itself. Technically it is not required, but if under academic context one needs to include a thesis statement then the essay needs to be a chosen niche idea.

Q9. Can thesis statements start with transition words?

It can be in some specific cases, but mostly not. When after explicit research we build upon a case to formulate a thesis statement, only under such cases a transition words suits to start a thesis statement. But as specified earlier, a thesis statement should have an argument and transition words like “Therefore, hence” depict conviction the usability of transition words to start a thesis statement cannot be well justified.

Research Proposal Writing Resources

  1. Tips on Writing a Thesis Statement
  2. Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
  3. Writing Tips: Thesis Statements
  4. Developing Strong Thesis Statements
  5. Detailed YouTube Video for Writing Thesis Statements by Josh

Learn How To Write Better Assignments For Your University Course


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