How to Write a Thesis Statement

One of the most important pieces of an essay—if not the most important—is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is not merely a statement of the essay’s general topic. It is the sentence where you lay out your specific claim or argument on the topic. 

A strong essay includes a strong thesis statement in the introduction, backed up by concrete evidence throughout the essay body.

This article examines:

  • what a thesis statement is,
  • how to write a thesis statement, and
  • plenty of thesis statement examples. 

What Is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is a one-sentence claim that lays the foundation for your essay. It tells the reader what argument you will be supporting throughout the piece.

According to Professor John Tagg’s Discovering Ideas Handbook, “A thesis statement is a single declarative sentence that states what you want your readers to know, believe, or understand after having read your essay.” 

Thus, a thesis statement is a sentence that tells the reader not only what your paper topic is but what they should know or think about the topic. It is an argument, one which you will support throughout the body of the piece. Let’s look at the difference between topic and thesis through a few examples:

  • Topic: Social media algorithms
  • Thesis: “Social media algorithms, designed to maximize user engagement, contribute to the spread of misinformation and filter bubbles, hindering constructive discourse and critical thinking.”

Notice that the thesis statement includes the topic—social media algorithms—but makes a specific claim about them. Here, the thesis focuses on a specific effect of social media and proposes a cause-and-effect relationship.

Let’s look at a couple more examples. 

  • Topic: Online learning
  • Thesis: “​​While online learning platforms offer flexibility and accessibility, they lack the personal interaction and real-time feedback crucial for fostering deep understanding and critical-thinking skills in students.”
  • Topic: Renewable energy
  • Thesis: “Despite initial costs, transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power is a crucial investment for a sustainable future, mitigating environmental damage, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”

How to Write a Thesis Statement

Simply put, to write a thesis topic, you need two things: 

Your topic + your claim about your topic 

There’s a lot more to it, though, so let’s break it down.

Here are the steps for writing a thesis statement:

  1. Identify a topic – the essential idea
  2. Do your research – learn everything you can about the topic
  3. Narrow your focus – decide what part of the topic you’ll cover in-depth
  4. Develop a working thesis (topic + claim) – your hypothesis and unique point of view about the topic
  5. Refine (make it arguable) – give ideas, explore them, and come up with your final take.

1. Identify a topic. Often, your topic will be chosen for you. If you’re writing a paper for a class, your professor has likely chosen a topic. As an example, let’s say you’re assigned to write on the topic of sugar consumption.

  • Example topic: Sugar consumption

2. Do your research. This is where you read and analyze important materials pertaining to your topic. If you’re doing a literary analysis, your research will be reading the book you’re analyzing. If you’re writing on a historical topic, you may read books, newspaper stories, primary sources, and more.

  • In our example of sugar consumption, you may find information on the history of the development and spread of white sugar, the growth of large corporations that manufacture sugar, the effects of sugar on the human body, and much more.

3. Narrow your focus. As you do your research, look out for problems, questions, or themes that interest you. 

  • Let’s say you’re intrigued by the rise of advertising for sugary drinks in the 20th century.

4. Develop a working thesis. Here you’ll test out a thesis that will become more refined as you continue your research.

  • Here’s a working thesis: “Advertising of sugary drinks in the 20th century correlates to a rise in sugar consumption.”

This is fine. It has a topic—advertising of sugary drinks—and a claim about that topic—it correlates to a rise in sugar consumption—but we’re not quite there yet.

5. Refine. You see, a strong thesis is specific and arguable, which means “a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim,” according to the Harvard Writing Center.

No one could reasonably argue against the claim that the advertising of sugary drinks and the consumption of sugar rose simultaneously; it’s simply a fact. 

What we need to do is refine our thesis statement by making a claim that someone could disagree with. Here’s an example:

  • Refined thesis statement: “Advertising of sugary drinks in the 1970s and ’80s caused an increase in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among the American public.”

This is a bold claim that may not be true—it’s something a person would need to see the evidence for, which is what the rest of the paper provides.

Where Does the Thesis Statement Go?

The thesis statement goes at the end of your first paragraph—the introduction. After introducing your topic, the thesis statement should be the last or second-to-last sentence of the paragraph.

The Essay Map

As a part of your thesis statement, or as a following sentence, you’ll need to provide your reader with an essay map. The essay map lays out the evidence for your claim in the order in which it will appear in your paper.

Using our example of sugar consumption, consider the essay map that we could include:

  • “An analysis of television viewing data, interviews, and surveys reveals that advertising of sugary drinks in the 1970s and ’80s caused increases in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among the American public.”

The paper that follows would discuss television-viewing data, interviews, and surveys—in that order—to support the thesis.

Say It Again

Finally, in your essay’s conclusion, be sure to restate the thesis topic. You may want to vary the wording for variety. For example:

  • “Increases in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease among the American public were a direct result of the 1970s and ’80s marketing campaigns of sugary drink manufacturers.”

And more than this, you will provide a “so what,” a statement in which you state the significance of your findings, relating your topic to a broader context and leaving the reader with something to think about. For example:

  • “This startling conclusion reveals the power of corporate advertising to shape the destiny of public health.”

Examples of Thesis Statements

Below are many examples of thesis statements across a variety of topics.


  • “In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the scarlet letter A functions not only as a mark of shame for Hester Prynne but also as a symbol of societal hypocrisy, hidden sin, and the potential for personal transformation.”
  • “The pervasive motif of water in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” symbolizes spiritual barrenness, societal decay, and the desperate yearning for renewal and purification.”


  • “The strategic bombing campaigns by the Allied forces during World War II were a morally questionable tactic that resulted in immense civilian casualties and should be reevaluated.”
  • “The threat of mutually assured destruction during the Cold War hindered international cooperation on global issues and fueled a constant state of fear and suspicion.”


  • “The contrived drama and unrealistic portrayals of life presented in many reality TV shows promote unhealthy social values and unrealistic expectations.”
  • “The rapid development of artificial intelligence necessitates robust ethical frameworks to ensure responsible use, prevent bias, and safeguard against potential threats to human control and decision-making.”

Get Help with Thesis Statements and More

Writing that lacks structure and clear purpose can result in content that confuses the reader or, even worse, makes them think you aren’t a credible source.

If you’re struggling with thesis statements or other writing challenges, enlist EditorNinja’s professional editing services. We’ll ensure that your writing is clear, correct, and professional. Schedule a no-stress, no-risk, super-friendly discussion with our team to discuss your editing needs today!