When you are in college, one thing you will be doing a lot of is writing research papers and essays, particularly persuasive essays. This is not a form of writing that you may be familiar with prior to your college experience but is something you will need to learn how to do well. When you compose a persuasive essay, you will be attempting to persuade the reader to agree with your point of view on a topic. This point of view is summed up in one declarative sentence – that is your thesis statement.
Much of the time, your thesis statement will be in the very beginning of your essay, possibly at the end of the first paragraph. However, it is not always necessary and your essay may not even have the thesis statement written within its content. In that case, you will usually want to include it either before or after the essay.
An essay is a piece of writing that intends to make a single point. That point becomes the basis of your thesis statement. You should have this point in mind while writing the essay as it will keep you on track. The entire essay should be focused on proving the point of your thesis statement.
It is important to recognize that a thesis statement can evolve and be revised as you write your essay or research paper. Your initial statement may change as you write, in which case you must revise the thesis statement to match the actual point you make within the content. Don't be alarmed when this happens as it is very common. Sometimes when researching, we find our own point of view changing or we may take a different direction. No need to panic, just revise your thesis statement so that it actually sums up what you wrote.
Elements of a Good Thesis Statement
- Must be specific.
- Should associate with one main idea.
- Tells the reader what your opinion or stand is of the subject matter being discussed.
- Tells the reader what to expect from your essay or paper.
- Should be supported by evidence in your essay or paper.
- A thesis statement should be at least somewhat controversial. If most people agree with the point made in your essay, then the essay is rather useless to write in the first place. The claim made in the statement should be something that other people might argue against.