A thesis statement is the roadmap to what content will be covered within an essay. Usually found in the introductory paragraph, it is a concise statement -- but can sometimes be longer than a single sentence -- that tells the reader what the essay will be about and also how the body of the essay will be organized. The thesis statement is an important component of a strong essay, and there are two main types: the stated thesis statement and the implied thesis statement.
The Location of the Thesis Statement
The beginning of any essay, usually the first paragraph, should be the introduction. The introduction should consist of at least three important components: the hook, the connecting sentences and the thesis statement. The hook draws the reader in and piques his or her interest. The hook is followed by the connecting sentences, which build a bridge between the hook and the thesis statement, explaining the main topic of the essay to the reader. The thesis should provide the reader with a clear idea of the focus and structure of the essay.
The Stated Thesis Statement
The stated thesis statement should include a clear outline of the body of the essay and what content will be covered. This type of explanation is useful when the writer wishes to map out what the reader should expect. An example of a stated thesis statement, according to Keith Folse's book "Great Essays" would be: "The main problems facing South American countries are a lack of job opportunities for citizens, increasing demand for better health care, and limited university programs for poor students."
Through this thesis statement, the reader knows that the essay will consist of three main arguments, which are most likely found in consecutive paragraphs throughout the body of the essay in the order in which they were presented in the thesis statement. The first paragraph, for example, will offer facts supporting the claim that there are limited job opportunities for citizens and the subsequent paragraphs will also offer facts and examples of the lack of both quality health care and quality educational programs for non-wealthy students.
The Implied Thesis Statement
Perhaps a more indirect approach best suits your writing style. In an implied thesis statement, the writer does not convey the organization of the essay, but rather only clearly states the topic. In "Great Essays," Keith Folse provides an example of an indirect thesis statement: "The important problems facing South American countries today require immediate attention."
In this thesis statement, the reader must continue reading to understand more information about the details of the essay, including what problems the writer wants to address and what the writer may suggest as a solution to the main topic.
Writing a Complete Thesis Statement
A strong thesis statement should consist of a complete thought or idea, and not leave the reader wondering what the rest of the essay will be about. An example of an incomplete thesis statement would be: "School uniforms are bad." In this thesis statement, the reader only knows that the topic of the essay is "school uniforms" and that the writer believes them to be bad. This thesis statement is too vague and does not give enough of an idea of a focused topic. Instead, a better thesis statement would be: "School uniforms are a poor choice for students because they deny young people the opportunity for self-expression and they also may be expensive, putting added pressure on low-income families."