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Components of a Thesis Statement


A thesis statement tells your readers what you are trying to argue, prove or demonstrate in your paper. Thesis statements should typically be in the introductory paragraph so your audience knows what to expect from the rest of the paper. Avoid using first person and statements such as "in my opinion," as it is obvious that a paper you are writing represents your opinion. Thesis statements are one of the most important elements of an essay, so it is vital to know the components of an effective thesis statement.

Thesis Should Be Specific

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, there are different types of essays: analytical (evaluates an issue), expository (explains an issue to the audience) and argumentative (makes a claim about an issue). Determining your intention based on these three types of essays will help you make your thesis more specific. If the issue at hand is education, for instance, an analytical essay could evaluate the effectiveness of teaching with technology, whereas an expository essay might explain to readers how to use a particular technology in the classroom.

Once you have determined what you want to prove in your essay, make sure you are specific in your thesis statement. Don't use vague or noncommittal phrases such as "it seems that technology could be good to use in the classroom" or broad generalizations such as "all teachers must use technology in the classroom."

Thesis Should Be Contestable

One way to measure the effectiveness of your thesis is to think about whether someone would argue otherwise. Would your entire audience agree with you before they had read your essay? Then you are not proving anything because the answer is obvious. A good way to be sure your thesis is contestable is to determine what the opposing argument would be and see if there is evidence to support that side of the argument, too.

Thesis Should Be a Map

A quality thesis will serve as a map for your reader. It will outline for your audience where your paper is going and how you will get there. Using the technology example above, you could write: "Emerging technologies such as Wordle and Google Maps are effective tools for teaching English literature because they enable creativity and provide relevance to students' everyday lives."

This thesis tells your audience what technologies you will be discussing as well as the reasons you believe these technologies are important. As you formulate your paper, use these ideas as a map to follow, so your paper will reflect each of these points as you move through the essay.

About the Author

Jenna Pack has been a professional writer and editor since 2006. She writes for sites like eHow, Answerbag and HubPages. Pack has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Florida and a Master of Arts in rhetoric and composition from the University of North Florida.

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