Drafting the Paper
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is the main idea of an essay. It consists of the topic of the essay and the writer’s claim
about the topic that will be proven throughout the essay. The thesis usually appears at the end of the
introduction, often as the last sentence, and lets the reader know what to expect.
Topic + Claim = Thesis
Developing a Thesis Statement
Topic Selection - Before you can write a thesis, you need a topic. Sometimes you are assigned a topic by your
professor, while other times you need to choose your own. The topic is the first part of a thesis. The topic
is sometimes referred to as the “WHAT” of your essay.
Pre-writing/Brainstorming - The second part of a thesis is your claim. Before you can write a thesis, you
need to do some analysis of your topic to determine what you want to say about it. What interests you
about the topic? What is your paper going to attempt to prove? Why is it important? This is sometimes
referred to as the “SO WHAT?”
Working Thesis - A good place to begin is by developing a “wor king thesis.” A wor king thesis is simply
a draft of your thesis statement. In other words, you make your best attempt at writing a thesis, making
sure to get your topic and claim in it. Remember that you may change or revise your thesis as you go
through the writing process, and that’s okay!
Make sure your thesis is:
Can a reader disagree?
Specific and focused, not simply stating
Is the statement too broad or have you stated a
intent or facts
fact that cannot be argued?
Clear as to the essay’s direction, emphasis,
Can the reader predict the overall point of the
and scope, not vague or narrowly focused
paper from the thesis?
Able to answer so what, how, or why
Is the thesis making a point?
Without personal pronouns such as:
Unless directed by your professor, take any
“I think” or “I believe”
“I” statement out
Remember, it is okay to revise and
change your thesis as you write!