Developing a thesis statement is, perhaps, one of the most challenging tasks undertaken when writing an academic paper or article, master’s thesis, or dissertation, but taking sufficient time to craft it well is the most important step for writing success. A thesis statement is a clear position on a problem you will investigate or a gap in knowledge you have identified and will fill. It is one sentence serving as a summary of the argument you will present and, typically, is the last sentence of your first paragraph.
Often, the thesis statement is confused with the topic, a fact, or an opinion. A solid thesis statement includes what you plan to argue and how you will argue. The Harvard University Writing Center offers tips on how to avoid the common mistakes associated with developing a thesis statement.
The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill developed a handout describing the thesis statement and offers examples to demonstrate the difference between weak and strong statements.
Before you begin your next writing project, heed the advice above. You will likely save time, increase the strength of your arguments, reduce confusing and wandering thoughts, and more fully engage the reader.