Academic Writing: Thesis Statement
What Is a Thesis Statement?
If you look online at other academic writing sites, you will see many mentions of a thesis statement. When you're composing a bit of academic writing, it has a topic and a point. The point you're trying to make is your argument. A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your essay or piece of work. In the thesis statement, you’ll state an argument about a topic and then describe, briefly, how you will prove your argument. Referring to the example on the arguments page, China dominating the world's economy - that's your argument. and your approach to supporting (or proving) this is will be because its abundant supply of rare earths. A good thesis statement needs an argument (China dominating the world economy) and an approach (the importance of rare earths), so your thesis statement might be something like:
In coming years, China will grow to dominate the world's economy through its near monopoly on rare-earth metals which are very important for high-tech industries.
What it is
- A complete sentence that expresses your position on a given topic (a point you want to argue or support in an essay)
- Something to narrows down your topic to a specific area
- Creates a direction for the entire essay
- Points forward to a conclusion
- Stated in your introduction
What it isn’t
- It is not a question (but it could be the answer to a question)
- It is not a statement of purpose
- It is not a statement of your topic
Think about your topic and ask a question about it
Research and write the answer
Use the answer to develop a statement
Revise the statement adding more detail to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement
youth crime + prevention and intervention procedures
Can prevention and intervention schemes reduce youth crime levels?
Youth crime levels can be reduced by prevention and intervention schemes
Revision with more detail:
Prevention and intervention schemes in secondary schools are the most effective way to reduce youth crime levels
Early secondary school-based prevention schemes, which provide teenagers with meaningful activities are the most effective way to reduce youth crime levels
- Only a declaration of the topic - China's place in the world economy
- Worded as a question - Will China dominate the economy through rare earths?
- Obvious - China is a powerful country that will use its capabilities to improve its economic power
- Vague - China will try to improve its economic power
- Too long and too detailed - Rare earths are important for high-tech and defence industries. Rare earth use is increasing with known reserves diminishing despite attempts to find new sources and development alternatives. China controls the majority of known rare earth sources and will use this to increase its economic standing by raising the prices of rare earth exports, restricting exports and seeking access to sophisticated western technology to which it does not currently have access.
- Announcement of what you're going to do - I will show how China will dominate the world economy through its control of rare earths
- Unrelated arguments. High-tech industries are very important which is why China will dominate the world's economy
Why Have a Thesis Statement?
Being poetic, you could say the thesis statement is like a lighthouse showing you the route you must navigate. It is very useful to both you and your reader. It tells the reader what you are going to say, summing up the point of the piece and indicating what they should find within. For yourself, it will help you remember what you are going to say and guide you through the construction of your essay. You can use it to help build an outline of your essay; the paragraphs in the main body of your essay should show the evidence that supports your thesis statement and the topic sentences in those paragraphs should relate to your thesis statement. You could argue that the thesis statement is the foundation of your work