• Home   /  
  • Archive by category "1"

Why Is It Important To Have A Thesis Statement

Political Science/JSIS/LSJ Writing Center


Guide to Writing Thesis Statements

Back to Helpful HandoutsoWriting Center Home Page


Your thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. It must be concise and well-written.
  • Your thesis goes in the introductory paragraph. Don't hide it; make it clearly asserted at the beginning of your paper.
  • Your thesis must make an argument. It is the road map to the argument you will subsequently develop in your paper.

The key difference between an opinion statement and thesis statement is that a thesis conveys to the reader that the claim being offered has been thoroughly explored and is defendable by evidence. It answers the "what" question (what is the argument?) and it gives the reader a clue as to the "why" question (why is this argument the most persuasive?).

Examples of good thesis statements:
  • "The ability to purchase television advertising is essential for any candidate's bid for election to the Senate because television reaches millions of people and thus has the ability to dramatically increase name recognition."
  • The organizational structure of the United Nations, namely consensus voting in the security council, makes it incapable of preventing war between major powers."


1. Thesis statements must make a claim or argument. They are not statements of fact.

Statement of fact: "A candidates ability to afford television advertising can have an impact on the outcome of Congressional elections." This is essentially an indisputable point and therefore, not a thesis statement.

Similarly, the claim "The United Nations was established to promote diplomacy between major powers." is not likely to inspire much debate.

2. Thesis statements are not merely opinion statements.

Statement of opinion:"Congressional elections are simply the result of who has the most money." This statement does make a claim, but in this format it is too much of an opinion and not enough of an argument.

Similarly, "The United Nations is incapable of preventing war" is closer to a thesis statement than the factual statement above because it raises a point that is debatable. But in this format, it doesn't offer the reader much information; it sounds like the author is simply stating a viewpoint that may or may not be substantiated by evidence.

In conclusion, your thesis should make clear what your argument is; it should also provide the reader with some indication of why your argument is persuasive.

For example: In the congressional elections example, why is money important (and whose money? The candidates'? Corporations'? Special interests'?), are other factors irrelevant (the candidates' views on the issues?) and for which types of elections is this true (is your argument equally true for Senatorial elections and elections for the House of Representatives? Why or why not?)?

In the other example, you will need to think about why the United Nations is not capable of preventing war. Your thesis should indicate that you have an understanding of the relevant historical circumstances and that you are aware of alternative explanations.

Of course, one can re-work a thesis statement indefinitely and one can almost always find something at fault with it. The point is that you must be sure that your thesis statement is indicating to your reader that you have an argument to make.



Back to handouts

Hello freshman! I bet that you are really excited to start your life as college student, but I also know that it can be a bit overwhelming. Trust me when I say that in college you will do a ton of writing. You will have some sort of writing in every class you take, and every assignment will be asking for different things. I know that writing at the college level can seem a bit intimidating, but it only will be if you let it be. The one thing that will always help you become a better writer in all of your classes is having a strong clear thesis statement. Thesis statements are there in your paper to help not only the reader, but they are also there to help you out as a writer.

Thesis statements are really important in the structure of your paper. Thesis statements are like the foundation of a building. If you have a shaky foundation then your building will not be structurally correct, and having a shaky building is quite horrific! The same goes with thesis statements. If you have a terrible thesis statement then your paper will be unstable and this will probably lead to a bad grade. So it is really important to have a good thesis statement that is really structurally firm.

Thesis statements are also there to help you out as a writer. Having a structurally sound thesis statement will help you organize your paper better. Thesis statement will help you plan out the rest your paper and it will help you stay on topic. In college you will be required to write really long papers. (Ugh!) If you’re like me then it is really easy to get off track while writing these long papers. Your thesis statement is a tool that is there to help you stay on track while reading these papers. As a writer you should often go and reread it so that you know that you are staying on track. So it is really important to have a clear strong thesis statement so that you can successfully structure your paper.

Another important thing that thesis statements do is that they make is easier for the reader to understand your paper. In college you will have to read some really confusing articles assigned by professors that you have no idea what they are about. (Trust me; I’ve had to do that many times) A really good thing to do is to find the thesis statement of the article before you read the rest of the paper so you can get some idea of what the writer is trying to argue. The same rule goes for your own papers so if you don’t want to confuse the readers it a good idea to make a strong and clear thesis statement. This is important so that the readers can go back and read the thesis statement so that they can understand what your paper is about.

Writing in college is not as scary as you think. Just remember to make solid thesis statement and then you’ve already laid down the foundation for your paper. I hope you enjoy college life. Good luck!

This entry was posted on December 5, 2013, 6:29 pm and is filed under 4. Thesis Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One thought on “Why Is It Important To Have A Thesis Statement

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *