Picking a good thesis statement

A strong thesis statement justifies discussion. A good thesis statement gives you room to develop your ideas as you wish, but within the boundaries imposed by your knowledge, time, and page limits.

thesis statement definition

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts such as surprising contrasts or similaritiesand think about the significance of these relationships.

A thesis statement is the central claim that the author promises to defend in his or her paper. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively.

You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. Avoid merely reporting a fact. Is all fast food bad? Say more than what is already proven fact. Start with a tentative thesis and revise as your paper develops. Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages.

For example, if you are free to write on any of the novels discussed during the term, write on the ones you liked best or hated the least.

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