Developing a thesis


When you are doing an expository essay, you must first develop a thesis statement for that essay. The thesis statement is what controls the content and organization for the paper since it states what point you are making in this particular piece of writing. It lets readers know what your purpose is in writing this paper.

I. First of all, you need a thesis statement that makes a point about your subject.

A. Your thesis needs to be one that you can develop in your paper with main points and supporting evidence.

1. Your thesis should be one that you will have to explain so that your paper has content.

2. If you can't explain your thesis or an explanation is not necessary, you do not have a good thesis.

3. If your thesis is so complex that you can't explain it within the parameters you are given, as in an assignment, you do not have a good thesis.

4. Make your thesis a point that will demand explanation from you, but also one that you have the expertise and space in which to explain it.

5. Don't make your thesis statement a statement of fact, a mere general subject, or a simple announcement, as in the following:

Statement of fact: Automobiles contribute to air pollution.

Subject: Air pollution

Simple announcement: This paper is about how automobiles contribute to air pollution.

Thesis statement: Hybrid vehicles can reduce the air pollution that comes from automobiles.

B. The thesis statements need to be worded carefully.

1. The above thesis statement indicates that the writer will talk about one means of reducing air pollution.

a. Notice that the writer is not saying that air pollution will end, but only will be reduced.

b. This writer wants readers to know that she or he will not explain how to solve the problem of air pollution since doing so would require a much longer paper.

2. Avoid using overstatements or vague words.

a. It's not to use the words always or never.

b. Avoid using words, such as some or many or maybe.

3. Do not use unnecessary words that announce.

a. Do not begin your thesis with In this paper, I will . . . or The following paper will demonstrate or I feel that . . .

b. State your thesis without referring to the obvious fact that you are writing the paper.

C. Your thesis is a good place to indicate the specific points that you will use in developing it.

1. If you can, state your thesis in this fashion:

Sample thesis: States need to pass smoking bans in all workplaces to save the lives of employees, save the lives of customers, and to save the lives of the smokers.

2. Some thesis statements cannot be easily stated in terms of the specific points, but if possible, try to do so to tell yourself how to organize the points and to let readers know what points you will be making.


II. Here’s a pattern to follow in writing a thesis:

A.  Topic:  family or youth violence

            B.  Subject:  divorce’s effect on children

  C.  Thesis:  Because divorce can ease family stress, it can be a positive step in children’s lives.

  D.  Notice that the thesis is specific so that the writer will be    explaining how divorce will cause less stress in certain children’s lives.

III. Sample thesis statements


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