Many factors contribute to the success and value of a scholarly essay, from the topic you choose to the sources you evaluate. The most important one among them, with the power to make or break your essay, is your thesis statement. To put simple, it is a statement containing your central argument or claim along with an indication of how you are about to argue it out. Here are a few things to consider when formulating a thesis statement:
A thesis statement is not an idea you develop overnight without reading or researching on the topic. It requires a careful analysis of primary sources and reasonable understanding of the issue you are about to discuss. You may not be the first one to write an essay on the topic you have chosen, but what makes your piece unique is your analysis of the primary sources. Examine your sources carefully before formulating the thesis; weigh all possible counterarguments, and then write your thesis statement.
The next point to consider when formulating the thesis of your essay or research paper is its contestability. A thesis statement is not a statement of fact, an indisputable statement or a general opinion; it, on the other hand, is a statement containing the chief arguments or claims you are putting forward in your essay. You need to check whether or not your thesis is contestable and inspires a debate from your readers.
The thesis statement should convey your claims and arguments in as minimum words as possible. This sounds like a challenge, doesn't it? It is almost like you are giving a traveler proper directions to a far-off place, but only in a sentence or two. When formulating your thesis statement you should ensure that all key terms are included in it and that you have expressed your arguments in the shortest but best way possible.
Another important point to consider here is the clarity of the thesis. The brevity of your statement shouldn't come at the expense of clarity; instead, they both should be given equal importance. Read your thesis multiple times to see if it conveys what you intend to convey. It is a mistake to assume that the meaning of your thesis statement is obvious to all readers as it is to you.
The thesis of your essay or research paper should reflect your take on the issue under discussion. For instance, if you are writing an essay on the impact of genetically modified food or the role of private banks during the recession, your thesis should not be a mere description of facts. It should be formulated in such a way that it reveals the position you are about to take in and indicates how you are going examine the issue at hand. At the same time, you should avoid making overly simplistic "for" or "against" statements.
Writing an unoriginal thesis statement is as good as not having one. As the writer of a scholarly paper, your task is much more than reporting an issue or event. You, on the other hand, are expected to analyze the issue and add your ideas in the light of your primary and secondary sources. So your thesis statement shouldn't contain arguments copied from others or universally applicable formula statements. A related point to keep in mind is to use your own words to write the thesis instead of quoting or copying from others. Let the ideas be your own; let the words be your own.
Finally, ensure that the thesis you formulate is relevant and specific to the topic you have chosen. Given the breadth and width of certain topics, it is only natural that you digress from it without even realizing it. You need to revise and refine your thesis as many times as required to ensure that you have a well-defined and arguable claim and that such claim is relevant to the topic chosen.
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