Writing a successful thesis can be a challenge for any writer. It has to be clear and informative, but also brief. Here are some key points to writing a successful thesis
a. Know your topic
Research until you know your topic from every point of view – even the ones you disagree with. Read what others have written, and take notes on main ideas that you discover. Keep track of key words related to your topic, and be sure that you have a clear idea what they mean. Write down your topic.
The image above shows an example of main ideas related to the previous sample thesis: “Our school should put drink machines in the locker rooms.” It includes some of the points that may come up during research and the topic:
Topic: drink machines in locker rooms
b. Take a stance
Review your research, and consider which side you agree with. This is a good time to review the purpose of your essay. In section IV, we looked at three reasons you may be writing your essay: to make a claim, choose a side, or express a point of view. Your stance should fit what you are trying to do with your essay. Write down your stance.
Using the example above, here’s a stance:
Stance: Drink machines will help our athletes. [Note: this stance is a claim.]
c. Determine your best evidence
Organize the information you’ve collected during your research (step 1). The goal is to find main ideas you can use as evidence to support your thesis. Make a list of these main ideas, and choose your best two or three.
Here are three points that can be used as evidence:
- Hydration helps athletes
- Drinks can provide energy
- The profits can be used for gym equipment and upgrades
d. Create your thesis
Writers need to spend time on this step in order to find the best words that state the thesis. Remember: a thesis has to be clear and informative, but also brief. Be prepared to revise your thesis a number of times so that you can express it most clearly. Draft your thesis.
Here are some sample theses:
- Putting drink machines in locker rooms will improve our sports teams’ performance.
- Students need the added hydration and calories that a drink machine provides.
- Drink machines are good for our athletes, other students, and even the school.
- Drink machines in the locker room is a good idea because it will help us stay hydrated, give us energy we need for class, and provide funds that can be used for gym equipment and upgrades.
e. Place your thesis in your introduction
The thesis of an essay should fit smoothly into an introduction, and be easy for the reader to focus on. Readers focus best on the beginning and end of a paragraph, so your thesis should be close to the first or last part of your introduction.
Thesis in the beginning of the introduction
If you place your thesis here, your introduction will begin with your ‘point’, and then widen into your main points of support.
People at our school have been debating whether or not we should put drink machines in the locker rooms. I believe that putting in the machines will be good for our athletes, other students, and even the school. First, we all know that athletes need to stay hydrated to play well. Second, even a regular student would like to enjoy a sugary pick-me-up between classes. And even the school will benefit because drink machines can make money to pay for new gym equipment and upgrades. Let me show you why you should support putting the machines in the locker room.
Thesis near the end of the introduction
If you place your thesis here, your introduction will begin with your main ideas, and then focus down to your ‘point.
I love this school, and I sometimes see small problems I wish I could fix. For instance, I see our sports teams playing well, but sometimes giving up points in the 4th quarter. I also see my friends in 4th period with their heads on the desk; they are tired because they are out of energy, but it isn’t time for lunch. And I know we have been talking for weeks about how the new budget might cut out funds for gym equipment and upgrades. Fortunately, I have come up with a single solution to solve all of these problems: I believe that putting in the machines will be good for our athletes, other students, and even the school. Let me show you why this is such a good idea.