Developing A Thesis Statement For An Academic Essay In 4 Easy Steps

When instructors want to see what their students understand, they usually assign academic essays. These are opportunities for students to share their learning while defending an opinion with what they learned in class. In most cases, instructors will assign a topic and then assist their students with the process of writing the paper. But, when students reach a certain age - usually the upper grades of high school, instructors let them struggle through the writing process on their own. This can be tough and many students still need help with writing their thesis statement. Here are four easy steps to getting that important sentence completed:

  1. Work the prompt into the claim. In most cases, instructors will give a prompt in the form of a question. But, the question usually has to be found. Since standardized test prompts have been included lengthy paragraphs, students have had to look for the questions. Let’s use the question: “Should the movie West Side Story be remade for a modern audience?” A thesis statement should include the title of the movie and the answer to the question.
  2. Include some of the argument in the claim. Once students decide on the answer to the question, they will need to come up with some reasons. Those should be included in the claim. Without the reasons, the topic sentence will be too vague. For example, if students believe that the movie should not be remade, they need to decide on three reasons why not.
  3. Use parallel structure in the important statement. Once the reasons are built, students need to figure out how to make them parallel, so they do not drag the claim on for a long time. The sentence needs to show the opinion of the writer, but it needs to do it concisely, so the reader does not get bogged down with trying to figure out exactly what the claim is.
  4. Write a single thesis statement in one sentence. All too often, students craft such a length claim that they need several sentences to fit everything in. The claim should just be one sentence; otherwise, the reader has no idea exactly what the writer is planning on arguing. The sentence should preview the argument without giving away too much and without being overly vague. It is also important to put the claim at the end of the introductory paragraph because that is where most readers expect to find it.