How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps
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Hungry for tacos?  Feel like you can’t fully concentrate on your writing assignment until you make a trip for a late-night snack?

As tempting as a few tacos and a burrito sound right now, don’t rush to satisfy your cravings just yet.

Instead continue reading, as this blog post contains important information you’ll need to write that paper—in particular, how to write a thesis statement in 5 simple steps.  This blog post discusses tacos, too, so that alone should give you incentive to keep reading!

What’s the Purpose of a Thesis Statement?

The short answer

The purpose of a thesis statement is to inform readers of:

  • the subject of your paper.
  • your claim (or opinion) of the topic.

The longer answer

A thesis statement generally appears at the end of the introductory paragraph; it tells your readers what you’re writing about and tells your readers your opinion of the topic.  The thesis essentially serves as a mini outline for the paper.

A thesis statement is necessary to focus your paper.  It helps you articulate your ideas and helps readers understand the purpose of your paper.

Don’t think you really need an effective thesis?  Think again!

Have you ever read the first one or two paragraphs of a paper and wondered, “What’s the point?” or “So what?”

Has someone ever read one of your papers and said, “I don’t get it.  What’s this paper about?”

If so, chances are the paper is missing a thesis statement.  Without a thesis statement, readers are less likely to understand the main point (or focus) of the paper and are less likely to keep reading.

5 Essential Steps to Writing a Thesis Statement

Okay, so here’s where we talk tacos.

how to write a thesis statement

No, tacos aren’t part of essay writing or thesis statement writing…though they can be.  It’s always good to maintain your strength, and you shouldn’t write on an empty stomach, so feel free to make that trip for tacos after reading this post.

First, let’s go through the five essential steps of how to write a thesis statement.

How to write a thesis statement step #1: Pick a topic

To write an effective thesis statement, you first need a topic for your paper.

Today’s paper topic:  Taco Bell.

Now that you have a topic for your paper, think about what you want to say about the topic.

This is where you’ll begin to develop an effective thesis statement.

How to write a thesis statement step #2: Be specific

Let’s say you started developing your ideas with the following working thesis:  A lot of people go to Taco Bell.  

The first problem with this thesis is that it’s not specific at all.  Ask yourself “Who goes to Taco Bell?”  Ask “Why do they go to Taco Bell?”

Let’s try again:  College students often go to Taco Bell late at night because it’s open 24 hours.

This time, you’ve managed to be a bit more specific, but readers are still going to say, “So what?” You’ve included a topic, but you haven’t yet included your opinion about the topic.

Let’s move on to the third component and revise again.

How to write a thesis statement step #3: Be arguable

IsaacCruikshank-DebatingSoc

Our most recent revision (College students often go to Taco Bell late at night because it’s open 24 hours) doesn’t provide any form of argument.  It’s merely a statement.

Think about how you could create an argument about Taco Bell.  What is it you want to say about Taco Bell?

Pretend you and a group of friends are sitting around late at night trying to think of where you should go to eat.  A friend mentions another fast food restaurant, but you argue for Taco Bell. What would you say to convince your friend that you should eat there?

Let’s try thesis statement revision #2:  College students like to go to Taco Bell because it’s one of the best fast-food restaurants around.

Now we’re getting somewhere.  We have a specific statement that is arguable.

But it’s still missing something; it doesn’t explain why Taco Bell is so great and doesn’t tell readers the key points of your paper.

Because the thesis statement still isn’t perfect, we’ll move on to the next essential component.

How to write a thesis statement step #4: Create a mini-outline of the paper

A basic thesis statement will provide readers with a clear outline of your paper.  It will tell readers what to expect in the upcoming paragraphs.

Your thesis doesn’t do that yet.

When your readers see your current thesis, they know the subject and the stance of your paper, but they don’t yet know what they’ll be reading in the body of the paper.

Let’s revise again.

Thesis revision #3:  College students like to go to Taco Bell because it’s one of the best fast-food restaurants around and has cheap prices, good food, and is open 24 hours.

This thesis statement seems to meet all of the requirements, right?  It includes a topic and offers your opinion. It is specific and arguable, and it creates a mini-outline for your paper.

While your thesis does include all of the required elements, the wording is less than perfect, and you still need to revise for clarity and style.

How to write a thesis statement step #5: choose your words wisely

“Are we done yet?”

Not yet.  Let’s look at your current thesis statement again: College students like to go to Taco Bell because it’s one of the best fast-food restaurants around and has cheap prices, good food, and is open 24 hours.

Ask yourself these questions to refine your wording.

  • Do all college students go to Taco Bell?  Clearly not all college students do, so you might revise to say “Many college students…”
  • Are the words “cheap” and “good” the most effective word choices?  Probably not. These words are boring and general.  Use more specific wording.  You might try “inexpensive” and “delicious” instead.

Let’s try our 4th (and hopefully final) revision:  Many college students believe Taco Bell is the best fast-food restaurant because it is inexpensive, offers delicious food, and is open 24 hours.

Now this is a thesis statement!

It includes the topic and your opinion.  It is clear, specific, arguable, and provides readers with a mini-outline of your paper.  And, of course, it is now worded effectively.

This is a thesis that deserves a celebration!   It’s time to make that trip for tacos.  You’ve earned it!

You can use this checklist I made to make sure that your thesis statement covers all the bases:

How to Write a Thesis StatementIf you want to read more about thesis statements before you go on a taco run, I recommend reading 10 Thesis Statements to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay and this quick Thesis Statement Handout.

If you need additional assistance with your paper, Kibin editors are always willing to help.

Good luck!

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  • Your every article is very interesting. Great.

    • Thank you! I appreciate you reading and commenting. 🙂

  • When you start to write an essay on their own and refuse from various paper writing service. So you decide for yourself to reflect your unique style in his work. Definitely you need to be specific to each chapter. Try as much as possible to convey the essence, but not to delay the development required to make a short conclusion.

  • Stefania

    Hello, I need help writing a thesis on my graduation paper about syntax terminology. Thank you!

  • Colleen Sims

    This helped me immensely, Thank You!

  • Great post!
    Waiting for your post. How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 minutes 🙂

  • Davis Le

    This article is very interesting and educating, thank you for posting this. It gave me a very high insight on how to effectively create a strong thesis.

  • I’m really happy that we can keep you motivated and informed — thanks for reading! And stay tuned: we do have a post about abstracts in the works.

  • Mimi

    is this thesis good for being in favor of social media:
    Social media is beneficial for the society because it promotes business growth via social ads, helps in job employment, and offers convenience in education.

    • Hi Mimi,

      Yes, I think you’re off to a good start here. You might want to rethink your third point though as you might find that transitioning from business related benefits to an education one might be a stretch. A third business related point might be that it helps businesses manage their reputations. I also suggest that you narrow your focus from social media being “beneficial to society” to being “beneficial to business.” You might find this easier to tackle.

      With the above in mind, here is a suggested revision:

      Social media is beneficial to business because it promotes growth opportunities such as social ads and word of mouth, helps facilitate employment, and allows for better reputation management.

      Happy writing!

  • Happy you found it helpful! Thanks for the kind comment.

  • Skye Jafferian

    could you help with my thesis for an essay on guilt in Scarlet Letter? The thesis I have now is kind of a mouthful and awkwardly phrased. I need help condensing it while still mentioning all the topics I will discuss. This is my thesis right now:
    Both Hester and Dimmesdale carry the guilt of having sinned, however Hester’s guilt is known by all, isn’t a lie, and can be overcome, while Dimmesdale keeps his guilt secret, lives in hypocrisy, and can’t escape his it.
    thanks you 🙂

    • Hi Skye,

      I think this is a GREAT thesis statement and gives you an excellent foundation for analysis. I also really like the parallel structure.

      That said, just a little bit of punctuation makes it more manageable:

      Both Hester and Dimmesdale carry the guilt of having sinned; however, Hester’s guilt is known by all, isn’t a lie, and can be overcome, while Dimmesdale keeps his guilt secret, lives in hypocrisy, and can’t escape it.

      Happy writing!
      Naomi

  • Deepika

    Hi Susan m.lnez can you help me in writing a thesis statement

    • Hi there,
      We’d be happy to give you some guidance for writing your thesis statement, but would need to first know some specifics about your essay topic and stance.
      Cheers!

      • Deepika

        My topic is implentation and significance of free education on students

        • Hi Deepika,

          I think I’d approach your topic by defining the relationship between implementation and significance: “Free education provided to students in [X] way [benefits/harms] students because A, B, and C.”

          In that example, you can plug in the way the free education is implemented (X), say whether it benefits/harms students (taking a stance), and then providing some specific reasons for your claim that it either benefits or harms students.

          You might try plugging your ideas into our thesis builder tool for more help: https://www.kibin.com/thesis-builder/type

          Best,
          Erin

  • Moturikians Fiji

    can you please take a look at my thesis and make any changes if relevant. my assignment is: “Critically compare the ideas of Bandura’s Social Learning Theory and Vygotsky’s Socio-Cultural Theory.” this is the thesis I have drafted ” Attitudes and Behaviour can be explained through learning theory”. what do you think need your help.

    • Since you need to compare these two theories, ideally your thesis will explain how they are alike and/or different. So, for instance, if both theories can explain attitudes and behavior but have some differences, you might start like this: “While Bandura’s social learning theory and Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory both explain attitudes and behavior, they differ in that [reason 1] and [reason 2].”

      You don’t have to come up with multiple differences if they don’t exist, but I would find at least one point of contrast since the instructions say to “critically compare” them — that hints at the idea that you should write about their similarities AND differences.

      You could also try our thesis builder, which has a compare and contrast option: https://www.kibin.com/thesis-builder/compare-contrast-topic

  • Eshara Randeniya

    wow! inspired to write on that blank paper that has been staring me out of countenance… for once i want to write something without having to scratch off everything in frustration…

    • You’ve got this! Good luck!

      • Eshara Randeniya

        Thank you!!!!! 🙂

  • Glad to hear it, Rose 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions about our site that I can help with! Thank you for reading.