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Ideas for Strong Thesis Statements

I understand the basic concept of the thesis statement, but I still seem to struggle with actually developing them for my papers. The process is always agony. Can you help?

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Many students report that the concept of the thesis statement can be difficult to grasp, even after having read a great deal about them in style guides and on the internet, and after having written a number of successful papers for classes. Each new writing situation presents a unique challenge, and the more freedom allowed in the writing assignment, the more difficult to develop a concise statement that works well to tie together the central idea of the paper.

The basics seem easy:

1. The thesis is the writer's direct statement of the paper's main topic or claim.
2. This statement typically falls at the end of the introduction, tying together the ideas presented there, providing focus in the last sentence of the first paragraph.
3. Many thesis statements are actually developed--rather naturally--by turning an assigned question around to take a firm stance in presenting what we believe the answer to be. When an instructor does not assign a question, it is a good idea to develop our own research question to provide focus in our research and in stating our findings.

Beyond the basics, developing a thesis can still be difficult. Each writer must make decisions on two major factors:

<b>1. How argumentative should my claim be? Should it simply state the topic, reveal an interesting connection, or should it take an argumentative stand?

2. How overtly should I reflect the sections of my paper? Should I include an overview of what I will cover as a part of my thesis?</b>

1. Topic or Claim?

a. Some thesis statements are a straight forward statement of the paper's topic and the categories of information that we may cover to gain a better understanding of this topic. These types of thesis ...