What Are the Best Tips for Writing an Essay Thesis?

B. Miller

In a written essay, the thesis statement is the central message or question of the essay. For instance, an essay thesis might seek to prove a specific point, and back that up with research, or it may point out the overall purpose or themes of the essay. The best essays will have a clear, direct essay thesis so the reader immediately knows what he or she will be reading about, and many instructors in school and even in college will spend a great deal of time focusing on teaching students to write good thesis statements. Most theses should not exceed one or two sentences at the most; if they do, it is time to edit.

A writer may decide on a thesis even before putting pen to paper.
A writer may decide on a thesis even before putting pen to paper.

Typically, the essay thesis is found at the beginning of the essay, though it is usually not the very first sentence. In general, the introductory paragraph provides an introduction to the paper as a whole and alludes to the thesis. The last sentence of the first paragraph is often where the essay thesis is found. Of course, this can vary for different styles of academic or formal writing, so it is important to always follow the directions provided by the instructor. There are a few different ways to write a good thesis statement.

A student often writes an essay thesis by compiling research.
A student often writes an essay thesis by compiling research.

Some people begin with a question, generally something they will be able to find the answer to through research. This question can serve as an excellent basis for an essay thesis in all different types of academic fields, including scientific or arts fields. Others will think of something they want to prove; for example, that a certain image or symbol throughout a text represents one of the themes. Rather than trying to answer a question, then, these writers will seek to find examples and other sources that back up their thesis. It is a good idea to look for information that contradicts the thesis as well to be sure both sides are covered.

Often, students can write an essay thesis simply by compiling and reading through their research. Others may find it helpful to make an outline of the specific points they want to make, as well as the research that supports those points. In this way, the essay thesis might naturally appear. When selecting a thesis, be sure to choose something that people could actually disagree about; writing something with an obvious conclusion will generally defeat the purpose of the assignment.

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