2.2: Developing a Thesis
You may have heard teachers in the past talk about the thesis statement. The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay and previews your supporting points. The thesis statement is important because it guides your readers from the beginning of your essay by telling them the main idea and supporting points of your essay.
Generally, the thesis statement is the final sentence of your introduction. Sometimes, it is a good idea to use two sentences. For example, you might identify your main point in one sentence and then identify your supporting points in a second sentence. (Some might call this second sentence a preview sentence.) Other times, your thesis statement will only be one sentence. Either is acceptable, but remember that you need a clear thesis statement at the end of your introduction so that your reader understands your main point and knows what to expect from the rest of your essay.
To create your thesis statement, consider the following.
What is the essay prompt asking you to do? (It will be helpful to look at the key words that you’ve underlined). Are you being asked to describe something, compare the advantages of disadvantages of a topic, argue an opinion, or something else?
- What is your main idea?
- What are your subpoints?
Think about each of these questions in relation to the sample essay topic.
What is the essay prompt asking you to do?
The sample essay question asks the writer to identify one goal and explain how she or he will achieve it.
What is your main idea?
For example, if you're writing an essay about your career goals and you're in the middle of a career transition, your main idea might on getting a better job.
What are your subpoints?
Our example writer has chosen three subpoints to support her main idea: (1) finish school, (2) prepare a resume, and (3) search for jobs.
Your thesis statement should respond directly to the essay prompt and sum up your main idea. It is also helpful to preview your subpoints in the thesis statement. So, once you have everything identified (what the essay prompt is asking you to do, what your main point is, and what your subpoints are), you can put it altogether. A thesis statement for the sample essay topic might sound like this:
- or -
Now you try! Using what you have done so far—idea map and lists, outline, etc.—write a thesis statement that responds to the sample essay topic. Remember that there is no one perfect thesis statement, but do your best to respond to the essay prompt, sum up your main idea, and preview your subpoints.