No professors or teaching assistants want to read a boring paper. They want to read a paper that engages them; a paper that is compelling and clearly articulated.
So how do you write one of these papers?
Well, the most important part of writing a fascinating paper is to develop a great thesis statement.
You see, your thesis statement is the spine for your entire paper. It’s the glue that holds your paper together. The more complex, specific, and interesting, the better your paper will be.
So here are some steps to breathe life into your next thesis statement:
Get Excited About Your Topic
No matter what you have to write about, you should try and get excited about it. The more interest and excitement you put forth, the better your paper will be. Even if your paper topic bores you, this is your opportunity to get creative and think of a way to make it exciting. That’s your challenge – and you can do it.
Develop A Strong Opinion About Your Topic
Writing a great thesis statement means you need to develop a strong opinion about your topic. This is how radio talk show hosts keep their audiences – they spew strong opinions that attract listeners and phone calls. If you’re not sure how to form a strong opinion about your topic, start reading through journal article abstracts. Check out Google Scholar and read through thesis statements pertaining to your topic. Jot down any strong opinions that look interesting to you.
Use Exciting Adjectives to Spice up Your Thesis
Don’t just say that something is good or bad, empower your nouns with exciting adjectives that describe what you really think. Adjectives like oppressive, tyrannical, and bloodthirsty are powerful because they portray a strong point of view about something or someone.
Focus Your Thesis On One Main Idea
As mentioned in the introduction, your thesis is the glue for your paper. Make sure your thesis doesn’t divert into different directions. Stay focused on one main theme to keep your paper organized and your reader on topic.
Get Extremely Specific in Your Thesis
A generic thesis statement weakens a paper because the reader isn’t clear exactly what you’re going to be arguing about. However, if your thesis includes specific details about your argument, it will prepare the reader for what’s ahead. It also helps you stay on task as you argue your points with specific examples.
Keep a List of Interesting Thesis Statements
Just as copywriters have a swipe file of powerful headlines, you should develop your own list of powerful thesis statements. Whenever you come across a thesis statement that intrigues you, add it to your list. The longer your list of thesis statements, the more ammunition you’ll have when you need to craft your own.
Here are three examples of thesis statements to get you going:
The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.
While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.
While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.
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