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How to Write a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement identifies to the reader the main idea of your essay or paper and the direction in which it will go.


  • Step 1: Form a working thesis Form a working thesis during the rough draft phase. A working thesis states the conclusion you expect your research to support. The working thesis can change as your essay progresses.
  • Step 2: Do research and take notes Research your topic and take detailed notes on your sources. Use this information to refine your working thesis into a thesis statement that is supported by your research.
  • Step 3: Focus the statement Focus on one main idea of a broader subject. Limit your statement to fit the scope of the assignment.
  • Step 4: Take a position Craft your thesis statement so that it has a clearly defined relationship to the subject of your essay. Take a position on the subject; don't just state a fact.
  • TIP: Write a thesis statement that shows the essay is worth being read.
  • Step 5: Be succinct Keep it short. A thesis should be only one or two sentences long.
  • Step 6: Place the thesis at the end of the first paragraph Insert your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph of your essay.
  • FACT: A thesis was originally a Latin term for an unaccented syllable in poetry and a Greek term for a downbeat in music.

You Will Need

  • Paper and pen or a computer
  • Research
  • Sources

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