A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.
Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.
What is a “thesis statement” anyway?
You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.
Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument. In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.
2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive
Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.
For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.
To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.
This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).
Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.
In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.
2 Styles of Thesis Statements
Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.
The first style uses a list of two or more points. This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.
C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.
In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.
In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.
Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.
In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.
Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis
One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:
___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.
Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:
___________________ is true because of _____________________.
Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.
The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement
When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.
Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.
Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.
Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.
Example of weak thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.
Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.
Example of a stronger thesis:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.
This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.
Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.
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How to Write an Informative essay, useful tips
The aim of your informative essay is not in giving your opinion, but to inform and educate your audience on a topic given. Sometimes, informative speech essays are also called the expository essays and it is not for convincing someone to change his/her beliefs.
In addition, being informative it means to be interesting. Nevertheless, you can share your thoughts concerning the issue you care about, what has surprised you and made think about it, but not in persuasive tone.
Generally, your informative essay might:
- Inform readers about some problem they are not aware
- Explain its importance
- Present the latest research on a topic
- Compare viewpoints on a controversial subjects
- Analyze a cause-effect relationship
Sometimes it happens that creation of your own essay requires analysis and processing of someone’s other informative text and thoughts. To implement this properly, it is worth remembering three simple rules:
- To cut down the field of your own efforts and time spent, it’s not necessary to work with an entire text. Select a specific, most informative fragment and work with it.
- If author’s thoughts are needed to be express, do it, but without distortion and in a short form.
- And the final stage will be your informative presentation, compiled from such passages.
Informative speech essay and its structure
Unlike some other scientific work, informative essays has no clear structure, however, the basic principles of writing must be met. For this course, your essay should be 3–5 pages in length and use at least four sources. Preferably, a formal academic writing style should be used, instead of saying «I think» or relying on personal experience.
The basic structure of an informative essay is very simple. As a simple persuasive essay, it needs to have: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. The primary, while writing an essay, is your topic presence. This topic will be the title of your work. The cover page, if needed, should be filled according to your educational institution forms.
The beginning, or introduction, needs to present the topic and grab your audience attention. It needs to include the focus sentence for the entire essay. The first paragraph starts with a general idea (compared to the thesis) and gradually gets more and more specific. Give some background information about the key words and terminology. Foreshadow the key points and main information that your essay will give. After that, finish with your thesis. Usually, the informative essay thesis can be as comparison viewpoints on a controversial subject or different sources data on a certain issue analysis, etc. Don’t forget to research and gather all the pertinent details on that subject.
The body of your informative speech essay should provide all the necessary information and materials to your audience. It has to piece out fully the lack of information on this issue. Use various sources, facts and expert judgments. Make sure all your facts are accurate. Create an outline that will organize your facts in a logical way. If a simple persuasive essay contains one statement for one paragraph and relevant evidence, then, in our case, each paragraph must contain a certain informative facts line. For example: if your issue is «Understanding the Link between Cholesterol and Heart Disease», then your body must contain full and comprehensive particulars about the reported cases of heart disease, its numbers and severity of the problem.
Then, tell about the research and experiments that prove possible connection of Cholesterol and Heart Disease, as well as specify necessarily, all arguments against this theory. Present all the necessary statistics and facts.
As usual, move here from specific to general. You should to restate about the seriousness of issue and summarize the facts for and against the main thesis of your topic. As the example of informative essay closing, you can start with the following words: «So that now you know more about the elevated blood cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia and that it can be one of the most important risk factors for myocardial infarction. » However, you should NEVER introduce some new information or ideas in the conclusion. Its main purpose is to round off your informative essay by summing up.
And finally, remember that informative essay is not a persuasive essay; it should be objective and impartial. It is the best way to explain something that is complicated…in an uncomplicated way.
7 steps to succeed in the informative essay writing
- Choose the topic for your informative essay.
- Remember that the aim of informative essay is not impose your view, but to inform and educate the audience on a topic chosen.
- Create the outline that will organize your facts in a logical way.
- List all the questions you have about your topic and what you are going to perform.
- Gather all the necessary information for the work, from at least four sources.
- Research your topic online and in a library. Find authoritative, credible sources
- Analyze the facts and research details found.
- Present the topic and grab your audience attention.
- Give some background information about the key words and terminology.
- Compare the viewpoints and facts on a controversial subject or different sources data.
- Start with a general idea which gradually get more and more specific.
Imagine the inverted pyramid:
-Provide all the necessary information and materials to your target audience
-Use various sources, facts and expert judgments
-Make sure all your facts are accurate
- Restate about the seriousness of issue and summarize the facts for and against your main thesis
- Never introduce some new information or ideas in the conclusion
- The main purpose for your conclusion is to round off the essay by summing up
Analyze all the work done.
Think whether all the information has been provided and if there could arise any prejudices in the audience according to the material presented
Informative essay is not a persuasive essay;
It should be objective and impartial;
Your writing should be both informative and interesting without making an argument or imparting the author’s view point
It is the best way to explain something that is complicated…in an uncomplicated way.
Here are some possible titles for your informative essay to choose from:
How to Buy a Nice House
Understanding Your Credit Score
The Importance of Regular Daily Exercises
The Causes of Global Warming
Cost Savings of Hybrid Vehicles
Qualifications of Contractors
Understanding the Link between Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Defining Poverty in the City of Chicago
Reducing Carbon Emissions with Alternative Fuels
How to Get your Commercial Driver’s License
The Health Benefits and disadvantages of a Vegetarian Diet
Why Cleaning Your Ducts is Important
Understanding Geothermal Heating and Cooling