When you are writing an academic paper, its success depends upon one major factor: the thesis statement. Every argument you make has to be related to this main thesis. If you fail to come up with a strong foundation for the content, it doesn’t matter how well you write the sentences and how many sources you use.
The first skill you need to polish out when writing college papers is your ability to persuade. The thesis statement has to convince the reader that you have a logical point of view that can be supported with strong facts. This statement is usually provided after a brief introduction, at the end of the first paragraph.
So, how to come up with a strong thesis statement?
1. Understand the matter!
Clearly, you need to understand the topic before you get even close to writing a solid thesis. Don’t try to construct the main argument before conducting a research and analyzing facts, statistics, and other types of information related to the topic. Then, you can brainstorm for ideas and come up with a single sentence that will convey the essence of the entire paper.
The best advice would be to start early. The formulation of a thesis is a lengthy process that requires a lot of research and consideration. If you want to get your reader to believe in it, you have to be convinced in its validity first.
2. Make it debatable
Your thesis should not be an obvious statement. No one would like to read a predictable paper without the capacity to spark a discussion. Try to think of a topic that has both proponents and opponents. Then, you can come up with a thesis that would enable you to take a side while keeping the discussion relatively open for the reader’s arguments.
It would be wise to provide information about both sides throughout the paper, but make sure to clearly establish your own opinion in the thesis.
3. Narrow down the focus
This statement should be very specific. You cannot write something like “There are a lot of homeless people in the world” since the statement is too general and doesn’t enable you to prove a point. If want to narrow down this issue, you can write something like “The number of homeless people who sleep in municipal shelters in New York is now 69% higher than 10 years ago.” This statement enables you to support your discussion with facts, investigate the reasons, and take the arguments to the next level.
4. Write clearly!
Yes, you want to sound smart and impress your professor with “academic language”, but that’s not the goal you should aim for. Avoid use of technical language and “smart” words, unless the topic and your professor specifically demand such style. The reader should understand exactly what you are trying to say without the need to read the statement several times.
5. Only an original statement is a strong statement!
Your thesis should never be copied from another author’s work. The point of an academic paper is to show how well you researched the topic and thought about it. Only a unique thesis will capture the attention of your professor and get you a high grade.
Make sure to avoid generic, obvious arguments. They will not only bore the reader, but will also show that you have nothing new to say on the matter. Another important thing is to avoid using citations in the thesis statement. This should be the part that conveys your own arguments and enthusiasm.