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Tutoring Service: Writing a Thesis Statement

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Purpose of a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement identifies the principal conclusion you have reached in your essay. In other words, a thesis statement is a clear articulation of your controlling argument or point of view.

Structure of a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is a brief statement—usually no more than one or two sentences. This statement clearly and directly responds to the set question or topic of your essay, and outlines the position you have taken in responding to that question. A thesis statement can be phrased as follows:

  • This paper will argue that...

  • This paper advances the idea that...

  • This paper submits that...

While a thesis statement is generally placed at the end of your introduction paragraph, it can also be placed towards the beginning. Include your thesis statement where it sits most comfortably for you.

When is a Thesis Statement Required?

Most essays will require a thesis statement. If your essay topic asks you to come to some sort of conclusion about a topic, or calls on you to argue for a particular position, or poses a question to which you are expected to give a considered response, then a thesis statement is necessary. Please check with your lecturer if you are unsure.

Sample Thesis Statements

Below are two examples of an introduction which includes a thesis statement. The thesis statements are highlighted for ease of recognition. You should NOT underline the thesis statements in your own writing.

Example 1

Drawing on the Bible, discuss the concept that we are valued by God.

     This essay opens where the Bible begins, with the creation of this world by God, focusing particularly on the creation of man in God’s image. The essay then explores God’s interaction with His chosen people, the Children of Israel, an interaction that culminated in Calvary where God stepped into human history for the eternal benefit of all mankind. The essay submits that it is God's intervention at Calvary that truly demonstrates the extreme value that God places on his human family.

Example 2

Discuss the relationship between an ethical life and happiness in terms of ancient philosophy during the Hellenistic period.

     It is said that what goes around, comes around. Aristotle and the Stoics were ancient philosophers during the Hellenistic period, who argued that there was a direct link between an ethical life and happiness. This paper explores the relationship between an ethical life and happiness. It compares the predominant theories of the Stoics and Aristotle, highlighting the differences between the two schools of thought. This paper also examines the complexities of the pursuit of happiness. This paper argues that while an ethical life can contribute to happiness, it does not guarantee happiness as there are external circumstances beyond the control of an individual that can adversely impact happiness.

FYI:

This resource page has been developed to help you write a thesis statement, however, your lecturer may have specific ideas of what should and shouldn't be included in your assignment. Always ask your lecturer if unsure.

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