Essay thesis statement
The thesis statement forms the core of the essay. It is a direct answer to the assignment question, or response to the assignment topic. It is usually only one sentence long.
The thesis statement describes a position. Here “position” means an opinion or perspective that answers the question. It is also known as the argument. The thesis statement also summarises the evidence and analysis that supports that position.
For example, if you have been given the assignment question “Why is Human Resource Planning a good idea for NZ organisations?” your thesis statement would begin “Human Resource Planning is a good idea for NZ organisations because… ”. The position is that Human Resource Planning is a good idea; the evidence is given after “because”.
Although there are many different styles of essay, most essays at Massey University present the thesis statement right away, in the introduction or introductory paragraphs. The remainder of the essay expands on the thesis statement, using argumentation and evidence to show that it is correct.
Creating a thesis statement
In order to create a thesis statement you will need to properly understand the question. See these sections for more on understanding assignment questions:
Once you understand the type of essay the question asks for, you can create a thesis statement:
Sometimes you will know the answer to an assignment question immediately, but often you will need to research the topic first.
Guidelines for thesis statements
- State the outcome of your essay, not just your intention to investigate (avoid “this essay will”, “this essay intends to”, or “I will”)
- Give a short summary of the reasons for your outcome (“because”, “as”, “due to”) in the same sentence
- Keep the thesis statement clear and specific; avoid language such as “perhaps” and “may” and don't give too much detail (that's what the rest of the essay is for!)
- The thesis statement is short: in most essays, one sentence is all you need
- The thesis statement should be realistic: don't exaggerate or overstate your position
- Make sure that your thesis statement answers the essay question directly