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Library Research 101: How to Get Started

The Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement?

  • A thesis statement comes at the beginning of your paper. 
  • It is a statement that answers your research question.
  • The statement is supported throughout your paper with examples and evidence.

 

What makes a good thesis statement?

  • It takes a position, or advances an opinion.
  • It is specific, not too broad, but not too narrow.
  • It is an arguable statement; there is room for discussion or disagreement.
  • It provides focus and generates interest in the reader.

Examples

Three Examples:

 

Taking a Position -

Poor (doesn't take a position):

  • I'm going to write about the high rate of suicide and depression in transgender adolescents.

Improved (takes a position):

  • The standard story of binary gender in our society creates a hostile environment for gender variant adolescents, as demonstrated by high rates of depression and suicide.

 

Specificity

Poor (very general):

  • Europe is a great place to visit.

Improved (more specific):

  • World travel is an important element to a well-rounded college education.

 

Arguable

Poor (not much here to argue with):

  • Exercise is good for the elderly.

Improved (specific position that can be argued):

  • Exercise, combined with antidepressants, is more effective in reducing depression in older adults given the prevalence of treatment-resistant depression in late life.

 

 

 

For More Information and Examples:

Thesis Statements (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Tips and Examples (Purdue University)

Thesis Statements (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Thesis Statement (University of Richmond)

 

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