Now that you've brainstormed ideas and developed an outline for a paper assignment, what's next? Your thesis.
The most important thing to remember about a thesis statement is that it should state the main idea of your paper. One way to write a good thesis statement is to pretend that you can use only one sentence to tell readers about your topic. Therefore, you need to make sure that your sentence expresses the most important thing about your topic. Remember that this one statement is so important because the reader will decide to continue reading because of it.
You should always have at least a draft of your thesis statement before you start to write. This directs your composing. Often, after you have written the entire paper, you will want to return to the thesis statement and revise it.
A good thesis
Expresses one major idea
Is a complete sentence
Takes a stand-expresses an opinion
What is Not a thesis:
An announcement of the subject --
A thesis expresses an opinion or takes a stand. It reveals a specific attitude about a subject. Statement of fact
Announcement: LPTS is a good seminary.
Thesis Statement: LPTS is an excellent seminary in part because of its world famous writing center.
A title -- A title gives the reader an idea of what the thesis is going to be, but it is not the thesis statement itself.
The thesis is the main idea and will always be a complete sentence.
Title: The person who has influenced me most.
Thesis Statement: The minister in the church where I grew up was such a fine women that I decided to go into ministry and help people like she helped me.
-- Statements of fact do not make interpretations or judgments about a subject as a thesis does. Statements of fact simply detail names, dates, or widespread knowledge about a subject. These statements are not encompassing enough to use as thesis statements that form the basis of an entire paper.
Statement of fact: Alcoholism is a big problem.
Thesis Statement: College students' binge drinking often leads to alcoholism.
Once you have the paper written you go back to your thesis statement.
Check the thesis statement that you drafted-are you certain that you are happy with the scope and depth of its assertions and the clarity of its context? Are you comfortable with the direction your thesis points? Do you feel that you will be able to justify, support and prove this very crucial main idea?
Most writers are never completely satisfied with first drafts of their thesis statements, but you must judge whether your thesis serves your purpose tolerably well. If it's immediately apparent that the main point is not solid and defensible, stop now before drafting and do some more thinking. Is the point that I want to make an arguable one, or is it a broad, commonly accepted concept? Am I saying what I mean rather than just an approximation of what I mean to say? Have I thought through the subject well enough to form an educated opinion, or is my thesis merely reactionary?
Be aware that at times, the very act of writing out the support for your main idea will lead you to new avenues and conclusions, requiring some revision of the first drafts of your thesis statement. That is a normal part of the process of writing and is often referred to as "exploratory" writing. However, when the assignment calls for expository, academic or persuasive writing, you must not skip developing a solid thesis on the hope that one will magically develop as you draft the body. Before spending many hours committing many words to the page, effective writers ascertain whether their theses are clear, arguable and defensible.