BlogProWritingAid in the Classroom3 Steps to Writing an Awesome Thesis Statement

3 Steps to Writing an Awesome Thesis Statement

thesis statement

One of the most important parts of any essay is the thesis statement. Unfortunately, this is also one of the biggest struggles for many students. But writing a great thesis statement doesn’t have to be scary. You can craft amazing statements with just a few easy steps.

Contents:
  1. What is a thesis statement, and why do I need one?
  2. It starts with a question
  3. Step One: Answer the question
  4. Step Two: So What?
  5. Step Three: Be Specific
  6. Other tips for strong thesis statements
  7. Want to improve your essay writing skills?

What is a thesis statement, and why do I need one?

A thesis statement is one or two sentences near the beginning of your essay. It quickly sums up what the essay is about and why it matters.

You might think you only need this because your teacher requires it. But the thesis statement is what helps keep your essay on track! Think of it as a roadmap for your reader. If you write a good thesis statement, they'll know what they can expect, what your position is, and why they should care.

It starts with a question

Every good essay starts with a question. It guides your entire essay. A thesis statement is just a one to two sentence answer to that question. Your instructor might provide the question for you or provide a prompt that you can reword into question format. But if the topic is up to you, you will create your research question, too.

How do you determine what question you are answering in your paper? Well, first you figure out your topic and what point you are trying to make. Let’s look at a few examples.

Topic: Compulsory voting
Question: Should voting be compulsory in Canada?

Topic: Progressive Era Legislation
Question: Which piece of legislation passed between 1890 and 1920 had the greatest impact on America?

Topic: Selective breeding of plants and animals
Question: How has selective breeding been used by humans throughout history?

Now, let’s look at the steps for writing our thesis statements based on our research questions.

thesis2

Step One: Answer the question

Remember, a thesis is just a short answer to your research question. So, the first thing you need to do is answer your question. Here are the most basic answers to our previous example.

Question: Should voting be compulsory in Canada?
Answer: No, voting should not be compulsory in Canada.

Question: Which piece of legislation passed between 1890 and 1920 had the greatest impact on America?
Answer: The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 had the greatest impact on America.

Question: How has selective breeding been used by humans throughout history?
Answer: Humans have used selective breeding of plants and animals for at least 10,000 years.

A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.
Try it for free!
ProWritingAid

Step Two: So What?

Technically, those sentences could be thesis statements, but they aren’t very good. A thesis statement needs to also answer the question, “So what?” In other words, why is this topic important? Let’s add that to our sentences.

Question: Should voting be compulsory in Canada?
Answer: No, voting should not be compulsory in Canada because people might not be informed or care about who they vote for.

Question: Which piece of legislation passed between 1890 and 1920 had the greatest impact on America?
Answer: The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 had the greatest impact on America because it ensured food and medicines were manufactured safely and labeled properly.

Question: How has selective breeding been used by humans throughout history?
Answer: Humans have used selective breeding of plants and animals for at least 10,000 years to improve their food supply.

Step Three: Be Specific

Your thesis statement should be specific to what you are going to talk about. All of the above sentences answer the research question and tell why your audience should care. But they are vague. A great thesis statement is specific and relates to what the rest of your essay will include.

An easy way to do this is to list your main points. This is usually used in essays with only two or three main points. Here’s an example:

  • Voting should not be compulsory in Canada because people who do not care about politics will make uninformed votes, candidates may bribe citizens for their votes, and campaigns will become more inflammatory and corrupt.

This is a perfectly acceptable way to write a thesis. But if you have more than three points, it will become very wordy. It’s also not the strongest way to write a thesis. Let’s reword it to make it stronger.

  • Because compulsory voting does not ensure that citizens cast informed votes, it sets the stage for more corrupt campaigns as candidates vie for votes, and is therefore detrimental to Canadian democracy.

It’s specific without reading like a laundry list. Now we’ll take a look at our next two thesis statements.

  • The Food and Drug Act of 1906 allowed the federal government to regulate food and medication labeling, which demonstrated a prioritization of human life over profit and paved the way for later food safety laws that are still in effect today.
  • From the ancient Sumerians to modern scientists in sterile labs, selective breeding is a powerful tool that humans have used to create hardier and more productive food supplies, as well as animals bred to improve human quality of life.

Other tips for strong thesis statements

  • Take a stand, don’t just state facts
  • A good thesis statement should have a dependent (subordinate) clause
  • Two sentences is the absolute maximum
  • Place your thesis statement at either the beginning or end of your introduction, not buried in the middle

What’s the hardest part of writing an essay for you? Let us know in the comment section. You can find more great resources for essay writing on our blog.


Want to improve your essay writing skills?

Use ProWritingAid!

Are your teachers always pulling you up on the same errors? Maybe you're losing clarity by writing overly long sentences or using the passive voice too much.

ProWritingAid helps you catch these issues in your essay before you submit it.

ProWritingAid for Students

Subscribe for writing hacks, special offers and free stuff
We will not share your details
Have you tried  ProWritingAid  yet? What are you waiting for? It's the best tool for making sure your copy is strong, clear, and error-free!
Krystal N. Craiker
Author and Freelance Writer

Krystal N. Craiker is an author and freelance writer. She is the author of the Scholars of Elandria fantasy series. When she isn't writing, you can find her playing board games and volunteering. Krystal lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable dogs. Visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Back to School Sale

25% off

Browse Offers
Ends Wednesday, September 30 at midnight PST.