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How Should My Thesis Statement Look?

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A thesis statement provides the foundation for your entire research paper or essay. This statement is the central assertion that you want to express in your essay. But there are a few different types, and the content of your own thesis statement will depend upon the type of paper you’re writing.

  • Are you defending a stance in a controversial essay?
  • Are you simply giving an overview or describing an event, object, or process?
  • Are you conducting an analysis of an event, object, or process?
In every thesis statement you will give the reader a preview of your paper's content, but the message will differ a little depending on the essay type.

Argument Thesis Statement

If you have been instructed to take a stance on one side of a controversial issue, you will need to write an argument essay. Your thesis statement should express the stance you are taking and may give the reader a preview or a hint at your evidence. The thesis in an argument essay could look something like the following:

  • When students are exposed to graphic documentaries that show the dangers of texting and driving, they become more responsible drivers.
  • The practice of hydraulic fracturing to access natural gas can lead to dangerous man-made earthquakes.
  • The popular practice of leashing a child can lead to risky behavior in adolescence.
  • Street cameras and street-view maps have led to a total loss of privacy in the United States.
These work because they are opinions that can be supported by evidence. If you are writing an argument essay, you can craft your own thesis around the structure of the statements above.

Expository Essay Thesis Statement

An expository essay "exposes" the reader to a new topic; it informs the reader with details, descriptions, or explanations of a subject. If you are writing an expository essay, your thesis statement should explain to the reader what he or she will learn in your essay.

  • Eggs contain many of the ingredients that your body needs for good health.
  • The rewarding process of photographing a lunar eclipse requires careful preparation and sound equipment.
  • The Mesa Verde National Park reveals the fascinating culture of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived on the land for more than seven hundred years.
  • The Spanish Inquisition is characterized by religious persecution that was often carried out with extreme cruelty.

You can see how the statements above provide a statement of fact about topic (not just opinion), but this statement leaves the door open for you to elaborate with lots of details. The good thesis statement in an expository essay leaves the reader wanting more details!

Analytical Essay Thesis Statements

In an analytical essay assignment you will be expected to break down a topic, process, or object in order to observe and analyze your subject piece by piece. Your goal is to clarify the object of your discussion by breaking it down. A thesis statement might contain the following format:

  • A careful examination of the way that our fat cells store and release calories will shed light on the difficulties of losing weight.
  • Ultimately, the crime scene did yield sufficient evidence for solving the crime, but the clues were only discovered after a meticulous investigation.
  • It is easy to see why school mornings are so chaotic when you examine every task we try to accomplish in this short amount of time.

Because the role of the thesis statement is to state the central message of your entire paper, it is important to re-visit (and maybe rewrite) your thesis statement after the paper is written. it is quite normal for your message to change as you construct your paper!

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