Thesis in an Academic Paper


Hey All! Today we are going to tackle one of the most challenging aspects of a persuasive, academic essay: the thesis!

We gathered some of our exceptional writing tutors and asked them to describe a thesis statement:

“I like to think of it as the lens you look through; not only the object that you are describing, but the way that you are describing it,” said Mimi.

“Argument and stakes. The stakes are why should we care. That is how I like to think of it,” attributed Maddie.

“An essay is a map through the thoughts of the author; the thesis statement is the first step into the wild—be specific, you are our trustworthy guide.” Kate.

“Everything in the body should connect back to the thesis. If it does not, you probably don’t need it.”-Sir Elwin Cotman

And, to add my personal montra, “The thesis is the roadmap to your essay. It should guide the reader through.”

Now that we have some ideas to work off of, let’s explore the thesis a bit more. The purpose of a thesis in an academic paper, as shown above, can be described in many different ways. Technically speaking, a thesis statement is usually one or two sentences that appear at the end of the introductory paragraph. It expresses your argument for the paper, and what points you are going to address to prove that argument: how, why and context.

Remember that as you brainstorm and come up with your first thesis statement, it is okay to revise it. As a matter of fact, you should expect to revise it. Your working thesis—the thesis that appears in the rough draft of your paper—is just a preliminary brainstorm or outline to the finished product. Make sure that your final thesis statement makes an argument, demonstrates some of the ways you are going to defend it, and, most importantly, that the entire statement is supported by a strong essay. If not, you should consider revising it to fit the essay itself.

For more ideas, stop by the writing center! We are always happy to help you brainstorm!

If you need something online, check out this helpful site that I found!


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