University North Central Writing Center Handout
Statement: Questions and Answers
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a specific statement about your topic-- a precise
declaration of what you will aim to show in your essay as a whole.
How do I formulate a thesis?
Sometimes free writing can take you to the heart of your subject matter
through a narrowing down process. Start
by writing for ten to fifteen minutes about your general topic.
Don't worry about grammar or structure -- just write.
When you are finished, choose one sentence from what you've written and
begin writing again off of that sentence. Repeat
this process several times, and through narrowing and specifying your topic with
each subsequent writing, you may develop a main idea for your paper.
With this in mind, ask the question why?
For example, if after your free-writing process, you come up with the
statement, "I love getting A's in school," you would then ask,
"Why do I love getting A's in school?" The
answer to this question becomes your thesis statement.
"I love getting A's in school because it gives me a sense of
self-satisfaction and accomplishment."
Now look back at your free-writing material and see what detail you can
add from it to your thesis to make it stronger.
"Though many things in life give me a sense of accomplishment and
self-satisfaction, academic achievement is the most significant because it
reinforces my sense of self-worth and gives me the opportunity to challenge and
prove my do I capabilities."
How do I know
when my thesis is complete?
As a general rule, your thesis is ready when
it makes a precise, restricted, organized assertion about your topic, and
it cleverly reveals your attitude toward the topic.