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Write a thesis statement

posted Nov 28, 2011, 4:40 AM by Peter Knowles   [ updated Nov 28, 2011, 5:48 AM ]

Whether you're writing an essay or a research paper, your work should revolve around a thesis statement.

A thesis statement is an original statement of opinion which the entire piece is designed to support.

A good thesis statement requires thought (that's what makes it original) and, having collected research and learned more about your topic, you're now ready to undertake this step.

Compare the following:

"George Washington was the first president of the United States" is not a good thesis statement, because it lacks any opinion. It is based on fact.

"George Washington was the best (or worst, or cleverest, or most dishonest, etc) president of the United States" is better. At its heart is an opinion, and your job, if this is your thesis statement, is to prove with the evidence (research) you've collected that the statement is true.

Don't automatically settle for the first thesis statement you come up with. Because your entire essay or paper revolves around the thesis statement, the more carefully you construct your thesis statement, the stronger your entire work will be. Think about how your thesis statement will allow you to use the information you've come up with so far, and think about how it will allow you to show your own thoughts and interpretations on your subject.

So, how do you begin?

Let's look at how you might write a thesis statement for the following essay question:
How did geographic location and cultural features have an impact on the Renaissance? 
1) Start by simply turning the question into a statement:
Geographic location and cultural features had an impact on the Renaissance.

2) Now, decide how did those things impact the Renaissance. In other words, how large was the impact (very, somewhat, not very, not at all)? Add that to your sentence. This is your CLAIM, and it's what makes the sentence a thesis statement.
Geographic location and cultural features had a very large impact on the Renaissance.
Geographic location and cultural features did not have much impact on the Renaissance.
Geographic location and cultural features had some impact on the Renaissance.

3) Now, add a DIRECTION for your thesis to take. By adding a few specific directions that you will address in your answer, your thesis won't sound like everyone else's, your reader will know what to expect, and you will provide yourself with a mini-outline for where to go next. 
The Renaissance developed differently in different areas mainly because of geographic location and cultural features.
When looking at the Renaissance, it is clear that geographic location and cultural features had only a very minor impact on the way things developed. 
There are many reasons why the Renaissance developed the way it did, and many of those reasons are related to where something happened and what the culture there was like
NOTE: However you rewrite your thesis, make sure you keep the key terms of the QUESTION in it (Renaissance, location, culture, and your claim)
4) Now it's time to write the rest of your essay or paper. Your job is now to prove the claim you made in your thesis is true. Use the thesis to help focus your paper, choose your examples, and clearly walk your reader through your argument.