How to Write a Thesis Statement and Conclusion

Writing an essay can be daunting. Often, the hardest parts are deciding how to begin and how to end your essay. The thesis statement and conclusion are essential elements of the overall paper: They are vital for getting your point across to your audience. Understanding the purpose of a thesis statement and a conclusion, as well as what types of information should be included in each of these, makes it easier to craft an effective beginning and ending to any essay.

Understand the purpose of the thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that appears at the end of a paper's introductory paragraph. The thesis statement gives the main idea of the essay. It acts as a guide for both the audience and writer of the paper. For the audience, the thesis gives a clear and concise statement of the purpose of the essay. For the writer, the thesis statement acts as a guide for constructing the body of the essay, helping the writer maintain focus and direction.

Brainstorm to create your thesis. Take 10 to 15 minutes and write about your topic. Don't worry about complete sentences or grammar. Once done, look through the information and find a statement that intrigues you. Brainstorm again, using that sentence as the starting point. Do this several times to develop a main idea for your essay. Once you have the idea, turn it into a question. The answer to the question can be developed into your thesis. For example, if your main idea is "Public libraries have become obsolete in today's society," turn that into a question by asking "Why have public libraries become obsolete?" Your answer becomes a thesis statement you can refine as you write your paper.

Make sure your thesis is clear and narrow. A thesis statement is effective when it makes a defined and meaningful point about your topic. Also, the thesis must be narrow enough that it is supportable within the assigned length of the essay.

You want to start strong and end strong. Understand the purpose of a conclusion. The concluding paragraph is your last word on the topic. It lets you reiterate the main points of your paper. It is not the place to state your thesis for the first time or to add a completely new idea. It should synthesize how the body of your paper supported your thesis.

Add interest to your conclusion. There are several ways to catch the audience's interest so your conclusion has impact. Use a provocative quote that is appropriate for your topic and the point you want to make. This can be from a research source you used in the body of the paper. Show the audience a potential solution to the problem your paper tackles, suggest a course of action for them to take, or pose additional questions about the topic. This lets them see how the subject matter relates to the world around them. Discuss the broader implications of your topic. For example, if you are writing about the Romantic Movement in literature, show how that movement continues to influence today's writers.

About the Author

Shelia Odak has over 10 years writing and editing experience for consumer and trade publications including "Radio/TV Interview Report." She has worked for over nine years in education and holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. Odak writes on a range of topics including education, literature and frugal living.

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