As all students know, the thesis statement is the backbone of any academic work. Whether it’s a dissertation, essay, or book, the thesis drives the content and keeps the author’s thoughts on track throughout.
Below, we’ll discuss some tips that can help you refine your thesis statement. This will help you optimally reflect your vision while writing and convey your argument as clearly and effectively as possible. First, though, let’s take a look at the definition of a thesis.
What Is a Thesis and What Is Its Purpose?
In short, a thesis statement is a declaration of something you believe to be true and that you want to convey to others through writing. A strong thesis works in two ways. One, it clearly states what you plan to argue. Two, it briefly explains how you plan to make your argument.
Coming Up With a Good Thesis Statement
If you’re starting fresh on a new document and you don’t already have a purpose to drive your writing, coming up with a “working thesis” should be your first priority.
Unlike a finished thesis, your working thesis is flexible. That is, as you write based on this type of thesis, you can allow yourself to stray from it if that’s what feels natural.
When this does happen, it will give you a chance to change and continue refining your thesis statement so that, ultimately, it becomes a direct reflection of your writing instead of the other way around. Many students, and even professional academics, make the mistake of forming a strict thesis statement before they start writing. In effect, this limits their freedom of thought and ultimately hinders their rhetoric.
When coming up with a strong working thesis to start with, you should begin by conducting some research and brainstorming your overarching topic.
You likely have some footing as to what you plan to write about. Perhaps you’re studying biology and are interested in evolution, or maybe your area of expertise is 19th century French literature. If you have the freedom, let curiosity be your guide.
With argumentative thesis statements (which are the majority of theses), the goal is to hit on a topic wherein you have a unique and particular take that, ideally, no one else has.
How long should your thesis statement be?
In most academic writing, your thesis statement should only be one sentence long. However, this is not always true.
In some cases, you may have a thesis that requires more than one sentence for clarity. That is, you could jam everything you want to say into one sentence, but that sentence would be rather long and complicated. If this is the case, you shouldn’t hesitate to choose clarity over the “one sentence rule.”
Where should your thesis statement be placed in your document?
Contrary to what many students assume, your thesis should not be the first sentence of your document. Certainly, it should be toward the beginning of the document, but it’s best to place it at the end of the first paragraph rather than at the very beginning.
Use the first few sentences of your writing to introduce your overall topic and engage the reader before planting your argument at the end of the first paragraph.
Getting Your Thesis and Finalized Document Edited
Coming up with a working thesis statement and writing your first draft are just the beginning when it comes to crafting a well-written dissertation or essay. Once you’ve reached a final draft you feel good about, there’s still the extremely important matter of editing your work.
Professional academic editing allows fresh eyes to take a look at your document and assess it for possible spelling and grammar errors, readability issues, clarity issues, and more. Editors can even help refine your original thesis statement so that it perfectly reflects your writing and ultimate point of view.
Ready to begin? Remember that thesis statement creation starts with brainstorming your topic. If you’re having trouble with this, begin with a question. Make it something you’re authentically interested in knowing the answer to.
Once you’ve conducted enough research, you should ideally find a feasible answer to your original question — one that you can agree with. With some tweaking, this answer to your starting question can essentially act as your thesis.
A strong thesis statement clearly and directly conveys your document’s argument — along with how you will be supporting that argument. Head here to learn more.