Are you looking for information on how to write a thesis statement? Writing the thesis statement should be effortless if you possess a good knowledge of your research topic. If not, then read on. Here are three tips on how to write a thesis statement.
Once you have made observations, conferred with experts, discussed issues and concerns with friends, and read a great deal of literature on your chosen research topic, you should be ready to write your thesis statement.
But do you already understand well enough the meaning of a thesis statement? Or are you one of those who find these two words difficult to comprehend?
If the thesis statement concept is quite vague to you, then this should be defined clearly first to foster understanding. Once this is done, then you can proceed to the process of writing those statements.
Thus, this article will define the thesis statement then provide you with detailed tips on how to write one. Examples are also given.
What is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement is your proposed answer or argument concerning a given problem situation, or question, that needs resolution. It is your explanation of how or why a phenomenon occurs based on the limited evidence that you have observed or gathered. You are advancing a thesis to convince others that your explanation is plausible or reasonable.
A thesis statement is essentially a brief synthesis of what you have read and observed regarding the phenomenon that you are trying to explain. It is a statement that serves as your anchor in advancing your argument about say, the causality of things. Among other things, the thesis statement serves as the focus of your discussion.
The statement that you make is not just a random position but a well-thought one, based on objective judgment and empirical evidence. Empirical refers to things that are verifiable by observation or experience. It is your “educated” point of view. It is your proposed explanation of the phenomenon after a critical examination of the evidence at hand.
Are there convincing pieces of evidence that can support your contention?
Based on the definition given above, it is, therefore necessary that you read a great deal of literature to understand how other people viewed, explored, tested, and verified the phenomenon that you are trying to understand. Reading a lot not only broadens your horizon but also helps you pinpoint exactly the problem areas you need to address or look into, in the process, narrowing down your research topic.
If someone wrote a review of literature on the subject, then that’s the ideal starting point. A good thesis statement arises from how well you have familiarized yourself with the research topic. You should aim towards becoming an authority in the research area you have decided to focus on.
Thus, you need to design research to provide evidence to the central argument of your research paper. That thesis may be uniquely yours, or somebody may have thought about the same explanation. Thus, you need to undertake the following steps to ensure that your thesis is an original one.
Three Tips on How to Write a Thesis Statement
Here are the steps to follow if you have difficulty in writing your thesis statement.
Step 1. Identify your research topic
If you do not have a clear research topic in mind then you have no basis in writing your thesis statement. You may freely select your topic but if you are under some kind of funding, the agency sponsoring your work may have specific recommended topics for you to do research on.
You must also mind your university’s research agenda, as there are recommended topics based on current trends and known needs of society. The United Nation’s 17-point Sustainable Development Goals is a good starting point on what research areas to explore. Select a research area relevant to your field of specialization and narrow it down to manageable bits.
For example, we will use “community adaptation to climate change“ as our long-tail keyword. Long-tail keywords are those three to four keyword phrases that are very specific to whatever you are interested in.
Step 2. Review the literature
Once you are ready with your research topic, you need to see if it is feasible enough to do research on it. It is not easy to discern if indeed your topic is worth pursuing until you have done a good review of the literature.
Contemporary researchers are fortunate because they can now access a vast source of scientific literature on the internet. The easy one most familiar to me is Google Scholar which I learned to use just a few months back. I was using the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) as a source of my references but I had the impression that available literature on the site is limited compared to what I acquired from Google Scholar.
As a beginner, the literature available in Google Scholar serves the purpose. You can just type your keyword and in an instant, assuming a good internet connection, a list of articles is displayed just like when you surf the generic Google search box.
For our example, if we search in Google Scholar the word “community adaptation to climate change,” the search engine will return the following articles with their corresponding meta descriptions:
The top article matches the long-tail keyword thus is displayed first in the default ten articles for the page. This article is the most relevant among the articles shown but the second to fourth articles are also related. Now, the first four articles make up your first reference list. This is a good sign as this means that you will be able to see more relevant articles.
Take time to read the meta description, that brief description about the article related (or may not be related) to your chosen topic. It is here where you exercise your judgment whether to include or not include the article in your research proposal. If you find the article relevant, right-click on the active link and open it in a new tab.
Read the abstracts and see how the research proceeded. Reading about 30 of these articles will give you enough ideas to get your research going. See if there are gaps in knowledge in the articles you have read.
Step 3. Write your thesis statement
Once familiar with the variables that make up your research, it is time for you to write your thesis statement. In the example given above, I would advance the following thesis statement derived from reading the four abstracts on community-level adaptation to climate change:
Proactive strategies devised by both the communities and government and non-government organizations can reduce the vulnerability of communities to typhoons.
Notice that I attempt to relate two variables in this statement namely, 1) proactive strategies, and 2) vulnerability of communities to typhoons.
At this point, you are now ready to build your conceptual framework. I need not expound on it here as I have previously written an article titled “How to Build Your Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One.”
If you want to have the whole package of articles to develop your research proposal, my book titled “How to Write a Thesis in Today’s Information Age” can help you out. I provide exercises at the end of each chapter to hone your skills and hyperlinked keywords in the index facilitate navigation.
Before you present your thesis statement, you should describe first the setting or situation which served as the basis or foundation of your statement. This is called contextualization. You may refer to the article How to Write a Good Thesis Introduction on details on how to do this.
You should be able to present your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph of your exposition. State your point of view in a sentence or a few sentences.
In the ensuing paragraphs, provide examples and existing pieces of evidence to support your argument. Your research paper will supply the needed method or methodology to test your point of view or thesis. Your conceptual framework will serve as your map in conducting the investigation.
Five Examples of Thesis Statements
The following are examples of thesis statements in different fields of specialization.
- Overfishing continues to occur due to a generally poor understanding among fishers on the link between fishing intensity and the reproductive capacity of target fishes.
- Adolescents and young adults devoting at least six hours a day in front of their computer screen become obese in their adult years.
- Urban dwellers are better off using conventional over-the-counter drugs than herbal remedies due to problems of accessibility.
- Employees walking at least 30 minutes a day are able to accomplish their tasks on time compared to their sedentary colleagues.
- Chronic exposure to blue light from LED screens (of computer monitors and television) depletes melatonin levels thus reducing the number of sleeping hours among middle-aged adults.
Notice in the above examples that the specific variables of the study are described. This defines the scope of the study and makes analysis easy, focused, and doable.
Further, the thesis statement is not carved in stone. While more information is gathered along the way, the thesis statement may be revised or rewritten for a better treatise of the subject. This is where your thesis adviser’s suggestions, assuming he or she has a better grasp of the subject, come in handy.
© 2021 October 27 P. A. Regoniel