Thanks to Cliff Davis (ART) for this handout!

Constructing a Thesis Statement

1.  What a Thesis Statement DOES:

·        Tells the reader the point of your research

·        Limits your focus related to a larger topic

·        Controls and focuses the entire paper, giving it unity and a sense of direction

·        Is supported by the evidence you discovered in your research

·        Relates to your title

·        Points to your conclusion


2.  What a Thesis Statement IS:

A thesis statement is a complete declarative sentence, for example: “Parental supervision, not regulation, should be the answer to preventing a minor’s access to pornography on the Internet.” Present your thesis statement in the first paragraph of the paper.


3.  What a Thesis Statement IS NOT:

A thesis statement is not a statement of purpose. For example, a statement of purpose, not a thesis, would look something like this: “I am going to discuss the Internet and censorship.” (Your reader should be able to figure out your purpose if your thesis and supporting evidence are clear.) Nor is it a question: “What is the relationship of the Internet and censorship?” (Your reader will be able to deduce this question by the evidence you present.)


4.  How to CONSTRUCT your Thesis Statement:

To find your thesis statement, ask yourself…

·        What is my ultimate conclusion?

·        What is the point of my research?

·        What questions will my paper answer about this subject?

·        What would someone learn from reading my paper?

·        What evidence have I found to support this thesis?


5.  SAMPLE Thesis Statements:

“There is a controversy about whether parental supervision or censorship should determine what kinds of sites children can access on the Internet.” (A research paper does not have to take sides, but can point our opposing viewpoints on an issue.)


“The convenience of banking on the Internet must be balanced with providing security for customers’ transactions.” (This thesis takes a position; therefore, the paper should be focused in that direction.)


6.  Some reasons to REVISE your thesis:

Your research changes your point of view

You can’t find sufficient evidence to support your thesis

Your topic is too broad

Your topic is too narrow

Your conclusion does not support your thesis


[Adapted from Virginia Montecino, George Mason University, 2006]