Developing a Thesis Statement

Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.

Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.

Identify a topic

Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.

Consider what your assignment asks you to do

Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.

Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.

Sample assignment 1

Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.

Identified topic

Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis

This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).

Sample assignment 2

Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.

The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.

This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information

Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.

Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II

After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.

As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.

For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.

Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Derive a main point from topic

Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.

Look for patterns in your evidence

Compose a purpose statement.

Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.

  • Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
  • Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis

Possible conclusion:

Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.

Purpose statement

This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
  • The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
  • The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.

At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.

This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.

Derive purpose statement from topic

To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.

For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:

  • This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
  • I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.

At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Compose a draft thesis statement

If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.

Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.

Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.

Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.

Question-to-Assertion

If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.

Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?

Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”

Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.

Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.

  • nature = peaceful
  • war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
  • need for time and space to mourn the dead
  • war is inescapable (competes with 3?)

Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).

  • although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
  • _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
  • phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.

What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement

Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.

As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.

Refine and polish the thesis statement

To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.

  • Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
  • Question each part of your draft thesis
  • Clarify vague phrases and assertions
  • Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis

Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.

Sample Assignment

Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.

  • Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.

This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.

Complete the final thesis statement

The bottom line.

As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:

  • Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
  • As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
  • Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
  • Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.

In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.

quality of thesis statement

Writing Process and Structure

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Introductions

Paragraphing

Developing Strategic Transitions

Conclusions

Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

quality of thesis statement

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

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Writing Tutorial Services

How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

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How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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II. Getting Started

2.5 Writing Thesis Statements

Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; and Kirk Swenson

To be effective, all support in an essay must work together to convey a central point; otherwise, an essay can fall into the trap of being out of order and confusing. Just as a topic sentence focuses and unifies a single paragraph, the thesis statement focuses and unifies an entire essay. This statement is like a signpost that signals the essay’s destination; it tells the reader the point you want to make in your essay, while the essay itself supports that point.

Because writing is not a linear process, you may find that the best thesis statement develops near the end of your first draft. However, creating a draft or working thesis early in the writing project helps give the drafting process clear direction. You should form your thesis before you begin to organize an essay, but you may find that it needs revision as the essay develops.

A thesis is not just a topic, but rather the writer’s comment or interpretation of the question or subject. For whatever topic you select (for example, school uniforms, social networking), you must ask yourself, “What do I want to say about it?” Asking and then answering this question is vital to forming a thesis that is precise, forceful, and confident.

In the majority of essays, a thesis is one sentence long and appears toward the end of the introductory paragraph. It is specific and focuses on one to three points of a single idea—points that are able to be demonstrated in the body paragraphs. It forecasts the content of the essay and suggests how you will organize your information. Remember that a thesis statement does not summarize an issue but rather dissects it.

Working Thesis Statements

A strong thesis statement must have the following qualities:

  • It must be arguable.  A thesis statement must state a point of view or judgment about a topic. An established fact is not considered arguable.
  • It must be supportable.  The thesis statement must contain a point of view that can be supported with evidence (reasons, facts, examples).
  • It must be specific. A thesis statement must be precise enough to allow for a coherent argument and remain focused on the topic.

Examples of Appropriate Thesis Statements

  • Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration.
  • Compared to an absolute divorce, no-fault divorce is less expensive, promotes fairer settlements, and reflects a more realistic view of the causes for marital breakdown.
  • Exposing children from an early age to the dangers of drug abuse is a sure method of preventing future drug addicts.
  • In today’s crumbling job market, a high school diploma is not significant enough education to land a stable, lucrative job.
  • The societal and personal struggles of Troy Maxson in the play Fences symbolize the challenges of black males who lived through segregation and integration in the United States.

Pitfalls to Avoid

A thesis is weak when it is simply a declaration of your subject or a description of what you will discuss in your essay.

Weak Thesis Statement Example

My paper will explain why imagination is more important than knowledge.

A thesis is weak when it makes an unreasonable or outrageous claim or insults the opposing side.

Religious radicals across America are trying to legislate their Puritanical beliefs by banning required high school books.

A thesis is weak when it contains an obvious fact or something that no one can disagree with or provides a dead end.

Advertising companies use sex to sell their products.

A thesis is weak when the statement is too broad.

The life of Abraham Lincoln was long and challenging.

Ways to Revise Your Thesis

Your thesis statement begins as a working thesis statement, an indefinite statement that you make about your topic early in the writing process for the purpose of planning and guiding your writing. Working thesis statements often become stronger as you gather information and develop new ideas and reasons for those ideas. Revision helps you strengthen your thesis so that it matches what you have expressed in the body of the paper.

You can cut down on irrelevant aspects and revise your thesis by taking the following steps:

  • Pinpoint and replace all non specific words, such as people, everything, society, or life, with more precise words in order to reduce any vagueness.

Pinpoint and Replace Example

Working thesis:  Young people have to work hard to succeed in life.

Revised thesis:  Recent college graduates must have discipline and persistence in order to find and maintain a stable job in which they can use, and be appreciated for, their talents.

Explanation:  The original includes too broad a range of people and does not define exactly what success entails. By replacing those general words like people and work hard , the writer can better focus their research and gain more direction in their writing. The revised thesis makes a more specific statement about success and what it means to work hard.

  • Clarify ideas that need explanation by asking yourself questions that narrow your thesis.

Clarify Example

Working thesis:  The welfare system is a joke.

Revised thesis:  The welfare system keeps a socioeconomic class from gaining employment by alluring members of that class with unearned income, instead of programs to improve their education and skill sets.

Explanation:  A joke means many things to many people. Readers bring all sorts of backgrounds and perspectives to the reading process and would need clarification for a word so vague. This expression may also be too informal for the selected audience. By asking questions, the writer can devise a more precise and appropriate explanation for joke and more accurately defines their stance, which will better guide the writing of the essay.

  • Replace any linking verbs with action verbs. Linking verbs are forms of the verb to be , a verb that simply states that a situation exists.

Replace with Action Verbs Example

Working thesis:  Kansas City school teachers are not paid enough.

Revised thesis:  The Kansas City legislature cannot afford to pay its educators, resulting in job cuts and resignations in a district that sorely needs highly qualified and dedicated teachers.

Explanation:  The linking verb in this working thesis statement is the word are . Linking verbs often make thesis statements weak because they do not express action. Rather, they connect words and phrases to the second half of the sentence. Readers might wonder, “Why are they not paid enough?” But this statement does not compel them to ask many more questions.

  • Who is not paying the teachers enough?
  • How much is considered “enough”?
  • What is the problem?
  • What are the results?
  • Omit any general claims that are hard to support.

Omit General Claims Example

Working thesis:  Today’s teenage girls are too sexualized.

Revised thesis: Teenage girls who are captivated by the sexual images on the internet and social media are conditioned to believe that a woman’s worth depends on her sensuality, a feeling that harms their self-esteem and behavior.

Explanation:  It is true that some young women in today’s society are more sexualized than in the past, but that is not true for all girls. Many girls have strict parents, dress appropriately, and do not engage in sexual activity while in middle school and high school. The writer of this thesis should ask the following questions:

  • Which teenage girls?
  • What constitutes “too” sexualized?
  • Why are they behaving that way?
  • Where does this behavior show up?
  • What are the repercussions?

This section contains material from:

Crowther, Kathryn, Lauren Curtright, Nancy Gilbert, Barbara Hall, Tracienne Ravita, and Kirk Swenson. Successful College Composition . 2nd ed. Book 8. Georgia: English Open Textbooks, 2016. http://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/8 . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

Relating to lines; a way of explaining information logically and/or sequentially; can refer to the chronological relaying of information.

A brief and concise statement or series of statements that outlines the main point(s) of a longer work. To summarize is to create a brief and concise statement or series of statements that outlines the main point(s) of a longer work.

To analyze closely or minutely; to scrutinize every aspect. Unlike the fields of biology, anatomy, or medicine, in rhetoric and writing, dissect does not refer to the cutting apart of a physical body but to the taking apart the body of an argument or idea piece by piece to understand it better.

A logical, rational, lucid, or understandable expression of an idea, concept, or notion; consistent and harmonious explanation.

Assertion or announcement of belief, understanding, or knowledge; a formal statement or proclamation.

Without a defined number or limit; unlimited, infinite, or undetermined.

An altered version of  a written work. Revising means to rewrite in order to improve and make corrections. Unlike editing, which involves minor changes, revisions include major and noticeable changes to a written work.

Not relevant; unimportant; beside the point; not relating to the matter at hand.

Attractive, tempting, or seductive; to have an appealing and charismatic quality.

To influence or convince; to produce a certain or specific result through the use of force.

2.5 Writing Thesis Statements Copyright © 2022 by Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; and Kirk Swenson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

quality of thesis statement

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Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

Basics of thesis statements.

The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper. Specific means the thesis deals with a narrow and focused topic, appropriate to the paper's length. Arguable means that a scholar in your field could disagree (or perhaps already has!).

Strong thesis statements address specific intellectual questions, have clear positions, and use a structure that reflects the overall structure of the paper. Read on to learn more about constructing a strong thesis statement.

Being Specific

This thesis statement has no specific argument:

Needs Improvement: In this essay, I will examine two scholarly articles to find similarities and differences.

This statement is concise, but it is neither specific nor arguable—a reader might wonder, "Which scholarly articles? What is the topic of this paper? What field is the author writing in?" Additionally, the purpose of the paper—to "examine…to find similarities and differences" is not of a scholarly level. Identifying similarities and differences is a good first step, but strong academic argument goes further, analyzing what those similarities and differences might mean or imply.

Better: In this essay, I will argue that Bowler's (2003) autocratic management style, when coupled with Smith's (2007) theory of social cognition, can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover.

The new revision here is still concise, as well as specific and arguable.  We can see that it is specific because the writer is mentioning (a) concrete ideas and (b) exact authors.  We can also gather the field (business) and the topic (management and employee turnover). The statement is arguable because the student goes beyond merely comparing; he or she draws conclusions from that comparison ("can reduce the expenses associated with employee turnover").

Making a Unique Argument

This thesis draft repeats the language of the writing prompt without making a unique argument:

Needs Improvement: The purpose of this essay is to monitor, assess, and evaluate an educational program for its strengths and weaknesses. Then, I will provide suggestions for improvement.

You can see here that the student has simply stated the paper's assignment, without articulating specifically how he or she will address it. The student can correct this error simply by phrasing the thesis statement as a specific answer to the assignment prompt.

Better: Through a series of student interviews, I found that Kennedy High School's antibullying program was ineffective. In order to address issues of conflict between students, I argue that Kennedy High School should embrace policies outlined by the California Department of Education (2010).

Words like "ineffective" and "argue" show here that the student has clearly thought through the assignment and analyzed the material; he or she is putting forth a specific and debatable position. The concrete information ("student interviews," "antibullying") further prepares the reader for the body of the paper and demonstrates how the student has addressed the assignment prompt without just restating that language.

Creating a Debate

This thesis statement includes only obvious fact or plot summary instead of argument:

Needs Improvement: Leadership is an important quality in nurse educators.

A good strategy to determine if your thesis statement is too broad (and therefore, not arguable) is to ask yourself, "Would a scholar in my field disagree with this point?" Here, we can see easily that no scholar is likely to argue that leadership is an unimportant quality in nurse educators.  The student needs to come up with a more arguable claim, and probably a narrower one; remember that a short paper needs a more focused topic than a dissertation.

Better: Roderick's (2009) theory of participatory leadership  is particularly appropriate to nurse educators working within the emergency medicine field, where students benefit most from collegial and kinesthetic learning.

Here, the student has identified a particular type of leadership ("participatory leadership"), narrowing the topic, and has made an arguable claim (this type of leadership is "appropriate" to a specific type of nurse educator). Conceivably, a scholar in the nursing field might disagree with this approach. The student's paper can now proceed, providing specific pieces of evidence to support the arguable central claim.

Choosing the Right Words

This thesis statement uses large or scholarly-sounding words that have no real substance:

Needs Improvement: Scholars should work to seize metacognitive outcomes by harnessing discipline-based networks to empower collaborative infrastructures.

There are many words in this sentence that may be buzzwords in the student's field or key terms taken from other texts, but together they do not communicate a clear, specific meaning. Sometimes students think scholarly writing means constructing complex sentences using special language, but actually it's usually a stronger choice to write clear, simple sentences. When in doubt, remember that your ideas should be complex, not your sentence structure.

Better: Ecologists should work to educate the U.S. public on conservation methods by making use of local and national green organizations to create a widespread communication plan.

Notice in the revision that the field is now clear (ecology), and the language has been made much more field-specific ("conservation methods," "green organizations"), so the reader is able to see concretely the ideas the student is communicating.

Leaving Room for Discussion

This thesis statement is not capable of development or advancement in the paper:

Needs Improvement: There are always alternatives to illegal drug use.

This sample thesis statement makes a claim, but it is not a claim that will sustain extended discussion. This claim is the type of claim that might be appropriate for the conclusion of a paper, but in the beginning of the paper, the student is left with nowhere to go. What further points can be made? If there are "always alternatives" to the problem the student is identifying, then why bother developing a paper around that claim? Ideally, a thesis statement should be complex enough to explore over the length of the entire paper.

Better: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy, as argued by Baker (2008), Smith (2009), and Xavier (2011).

In the revised thesis, you can see the student make a specific, debatable claim that has the potential to generate several pages' worth of discussion. When drafting a thesis statement, think about the questions your thesis statement will generate: What follow-up inquiries might a reader have? In the first example, there are almost no additional questions implied, but the revised example allows for a good deal more exploration.

Thesis Mad Libs

If you are having trouble getting started, try using the models below to generate a rough model of a thesis statement! These models are intended for drafting purposes only and should not appear in your final work.

  • In this essay, I argue ____, using ______ to assert _____.
  • While scholars have often argued ______, I argue______, because_______.
  • Through an analysis of ______, I argue ______, which is important because_______.

Words to Avoid and to Embrace

When drafting your thesis statement, avoid words like explore, investigate, learn, compile, summarize , and explain to describe the main purpose of your paper. These words imply a paper that summarizes or "reports," rather than synthesizing and analyzing.

Instead of the terms above, try words like argue, critique, question , and interrogate . These more analytical words may help you begin strongly, by articulating a specific, critical, scholarly position.

Read Kayla's blog post for tips on taking a stand in a well-crafted thesis statement.

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While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Parts of a Paper / How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.

Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.

Guide Overview

What is a “thesis statement” anyway.

  • 2 categories of thesis statements: informative and persuasive
  • 2 styles of thesis statements
  • Formula for a strong argumentative thesis
  • The qualities of a solid thesis statement (video)

You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.

Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument . In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.

2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive

Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.

For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.

To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.

This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).

Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.

In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.

2 Styles of Thesis Statements

Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.

The first style uses a list of two or more points . This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.

In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.

In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.

Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.

In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.

Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis

One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:

___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:

___________________ is true because of _____________________.

Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.

The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement

When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.

Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.

Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.

Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.

Example of weak thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.

Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.

Example of a stronger thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.

This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.

Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.

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9.1 Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement

Learning objectives.

  • Develop a strong, clear thesis statement with the proper elements.
  • Revise your thesis statement.

Have you ever known a person who was not very good at telling stories? You probably had trouble following his train of thought as he jumped around from point to point, either being too brief in places that needed further explanation or providing too many details on a meaningless element. Maybe he told the end of the story first, then moved to the beginning and later added details to the middle. His ideas were probably scattered, and the story did not flow very well. When the story was over, you probably had many questions.

Just as a personal anecdote can be a disorganized mess, an essay can fall into the same trap of being out of order and confusing. That is why writers need a thesis statement to provide a specific focus for their essay and to organize what they are about to discuss in the body.

Just like a topic sentence summarizes a single paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes an entire essay. It tells the reader the point you want to make in your essay, while the essay itself supports that point. It is like a signpost that signals the essay’s destination. You should form your thesis before you begin to organize an essay, but you may find that it needs revision as the essay develops.

Elements of a Thesis Statement

For every essay you write, you must focus on a central idea. This idea stems from a topic you have chosen or been assigned or from a question your teacher has asked. It is not enough merely to discuss a general topic or simply answer a question with a yes or no. You have to form a specific opinion, and then articulate that into a controlling idea —the main idea upon which you build your thesis.

Remember that a thesis is not the topic itself, but rather your interpretation of the question or subject. For whatever topic your professor gives you, you must ask yourself, “What do I want to say about it?” Asking and then answering this question is vital to forming a thesis that is precise, forceful and confident.

A thesis is one sentence long and appears toward the end of your introduction. It is specific and focuses on one to three points of a single idea—points that are able to be demonstrated in the body. It forecasts the content of the essay and suggests how you will organize your information. Remember that a thesis statement does not summarize an issue but rather dissects it.

A Strong Thesis Statement

A strong thesis statement contains the following qualities.

Specificity. A thesis statement must concentrate on a specific area of a general topic. As you may recall, the creation of a thesis statement begins when you choose a broad subject and then narrow down its parts until you pinpoint a specific aspect of that topic. For example, health care is a broad topic, but a proper thesis statement would focus on a specific area of that topic, such as options for individuals without health care coverage.

Precision. A strong thesis statement must be precise enough to allow for a coherent argument and to remain focused on the topic. If the specific topic is options for individuals without health care coverage, then your precise thesis statement must make an exact claim about it, such as that limited options exist for those who are uninsured by their employers. You must further pinpoint what you are going to discuss regarding these limited effects, such as whom they affect and what the cause is.

Ability to be argued. A thesis statement must present a relevant and specific argument. A factual statement often is not considered arguable. Be sure your thesis statement contains a point of view that can be supported with evidence.

Ability to be demonstrated. For any claim you make in your thesis, you must be able to provide reasons and examples for your opinion. You can rely on personal observations in order to do this, or you can consult outside sources to demonstrate that what you assert is valid. A worthy argument is backed by examples and details.

Forcefulness. A thesis statement that is forceful shows readers that you are, in fact, making an argument. The tone is assertive and takes a stance that others might oppose.

Confidence. In addition to using force in your thesis statement, you must also use confidence in your claim. Phrases such as I feel or I believe actually weaken the readers’ sense of your confidence because these phrases imply that you are the only person who feels the way you do. In other words, your stance has insufficient backing. Taking an authoritative stance on the matter persuades your readers to have faith in your argument and open their minds to what you have to say.

Even in a personal essay that allows the use of first person, your thesis should not contain phrases such as in my opinion or I believe . These statements reduce your credibility and weaken your argument. Your opinion is more convincing when you use a firm attitude.

On a separate sheet of paper, write a thesis statement for each of the following topics. Remember to make each statement specific, precise, demonstrable, forceful and confident.

  • Texting while driving
  • The legal drinking age in the United States
  • Steroid use among professional athletes

Examples of Appropriate Thesis Statements

Each of the following thesis statements meets several of the following requirements:

  • Specificity
  • Ability to be argued
  • Ability to be demonstrated
  • Forcefulness
  • The societal and personal struggles of Troy Maxon in the play Fences symbolize the challenge of black males who lived through segregation and integration in the United States.
  • Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration.
  • Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet spoils the outcome for the audience and weakens the plot.
  • J. D. Salinger’s character in Catcher in the Rye , Holden Caulfield, is a confused rebel who voices his disgust with phonies, yet in an effort to protect himself, he acts like a phony on many occasions.
  • Compared to an absolute divorce, no-fault divorce is less expensive, promotes fairer settlements, and reflects a more realistic view of the causes for marital breakdown.
  • Exposing children from an early age to the dangers of drug abuse is a sure method of preventing future drug addicts.
  • In today’s crumbling job market, a high school diploma is not significant enough education to land a stable, lucrative job.

You can find thesis statements in many places, such as in the news; in the opinions of friends, coworkers or teachers; and even in songs you hear on the radio. Become aware of thesis statements in everyday life by paying attention to people’s opinions and their reasons for those opinions. Pay attention to your own everyday thesis statements as well, as these can become material for future essays.

Now that you have read about the contents of a good thesis statement and have seen examples, take a look at the pitfalls to avoid when composing your own thesis:

A thesis is weak when it is simply a declaration of your subject or a description of what you will discuss in your essay.

Weak thesis statement: My paper will explain why imagination is more important than knowledge.

A thesis is weak when it makes an unreasonable or outrageous claim or insults the opposing side.

Weak thesis statement: Religious radicals across America are trying to legislate their Puritanical beliefs by banning required high school books.

A thesis is weak when it contains an obvious fact or something that no one can disagree with or provides a dead end.

Weak thesis statement: Advertising companies use sex to sell their products.

A thesis is weak when the statement is too broad.

Weak thesis statement: The life of Abraham Lincoln was long and challenging.

Read the following thesis statements. On a separate piece of paper, identify each as weak or strong. For those that are weak, list the reasons why. Then revise the weak statements so that they conform to the requirements of a strong thesis.

  • The subject of this paper is my experience with ferrets as pets.
  • The government must expand its funding for research on renewable energy resources in order to prepare for the impending end of oil.
  • Edgar Allan Poe was a poet who lived in Baltimore during the nineteenth century.
  • In this essay, I will give you lots of reasons why slot machines should not be legalized in Baltimore.
  • Despite his promises during his campaign, President Kennedy took few executive measures to support civil rights legislation.
  • Because many children’s toys have potential safety hazards that could lead to injury, it is clear that not all children’s toys are safe.
  • My experience with young children has taught me that I want to be a disciplinary parent because I believe that a child without discipline can be a parent’s worst nightmare.

Writing at Work

Often in your career, you will need to ask your boss for something through an e-mail. Just as a thesis statement organizes an essay, it can also organize your e-mail request. While your e-mail will be shorter than an essay, using a thesis statement in your first paragraph quickly lets your boss know what you are asking for, why it is necessary, and what the benefits are. In short body paragraphs, you can provide the essential information needed to expand upon your request.

Thesis Statement Revision

Your thesis will probably change as you write, so you will need to modify it to reflect exactly what you have discussed in your essay. Remember from Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” that your thesis statement begins as a working thesis statement , an indefinite statement that you make about your topic early in the writing process for the purpose of planning and guiding your writing.

Working thesis statements often become stronger as you gather information and form new opinions and reasons for those opinions. Revision helps you strengthen your thesis so that it matches what you have expressed in the body of the paper.

The best way to revise your thesis statement is to ask questions about it and then examine the answers to those questions. By challenging your own ideas and forming definite reasons for those ideas, you grow closer to a more precise point of view, which you can then incorporate into your thesis statement.

Ways to Revise Your Thesis

You can cut down on irrelevant aspects and revise your thesis by taking the following steps:

1. Pinpoint and replace all nonspecific words, such as people , everything , society , or life , with more precise words in order to reduce any vagueness.

Working thesis: Young people have to work hard to succeed in life.

Revised thesis: Recent college graduates must have discipline and persistence in order to find and maintain a stable job in which they can use and be appreciated for their talents.

The revised thesis makes a more specific statement about success and what it means to work hard. The original includes too broad a range of people and does not define exactly what success entails. By replacing those general words like people and work hard , the writer can better focus his or her research and gain more direction in his or her writing.

2. Clarify ideas that need explanation by asking yourself questions that narrow your thesis.

Working thesis: The welfare system is a joke.

Revised thesis: The welfare system keeps a socioeconomic class from gaining employment by alluring members of that class with unearned income, instead of programs to improve their education and skill sets.

A joke means many things to many people. Readers bring all sorts of backgrounds and perspectives to the reading process and would need clarification for a word so vague. This expression may also be too informal for the selected audience. By asking questions, the writer can devise a more precise and appropriate explanation for joke . The writer should ask himself or herself questions similar to the 5WH questions. (See Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” for more information on the 5WH questions.) By incorporating the answers to these questions into a thesis statement, the writer more accurately defines his or her stance, which will better guide the writing of the essay.

3. Replace any linking verbs with action verbs. Linking verbs are forms of the verb to be , a verb that simply states that a situation exists.

Working thesis: Kansas City schoolteachers are not paid enough.

Revised thesis: The Kansas City legislature cannot afford to pay its educators, resulting in job cuts and resignations in a district that sorely needs highly qualified and dedicated teachers.

The linking verb in this working thesis statement is the word are . Linking verbs often make thesis statements weak because they do not express action. Rather, they connect words and phrases to the second half of the sentence. Readers might wonder, “Why are they not paid enough?” But this statement does not compel them to ask many more questions. The writer should ask himself or herself questions in order to replace the linking verb with an action verb, thus forming a stronger thesis statement, one that takes a more definitive stance on the issue:

  • Who is not paying the teachers enough?
  • What is considered “enough”?
  • What is the problem?
  • What are the results

4. Omit any general claims that are hard to support.

Working thesis: Today’s teenage girls are too sexualized.

Revised thesis: Teenage girls who are captivated by the sexual images on MTV are conditioned to believe that a woman’s worth depends on her sensuality, a feeling that harms their self-esteem and behavior.

It is true that some young women in today’s society are more sexualized than in the past, but that is not true for all girls. Many girls have strict parents, dress appropriately, and do not engage in sexual activity while in middle school and high school. The writer of this thesis should ask the following questions:

  • Which teenage girls?
  • What constitutes “too” sexualized?
  • Why are they behaving that way?
  • Where does this behavior show up?
  • What are the repercussions?

In the first section of Chapter 8 “The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?” , you determined your purpose for writing and your audience. You then completed a freewriting exercise about an event you recently experienced and chose a general topic to write about. Using that general topic, you then narrowed it down by answering the 5WH questions. After you answered these questions, you chose one of the three methods of prewriting and gathered possible supporting points for your working thesis statement.

Now, on a separate sheet of paper, write down your working thesis statement. Identify any weaknesses in this sentence and revise the statement to reflect the elements of a strong thesis statement. Make sure it is specific, precise, arguable, demonstrable, forceful, and confident.

Collaboration

Please share with a classmate and compare your answers.

In your career you may have to write a project proposal that focuses on a particular problem in your company, such as reinforcing the tardiness policy. The proposal would aim to fix the problem; using a thesis statement would clearly state the boundaries of the problem and tell the goals of the project. After writing the proposal, you may find that the thesis needs revision to reflect exactly what is expressed in the body. Using the techniques from this chapter would apply to revising that thesis.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper essays require a thesis statement to provide a specific focus and suggest how the essay will be organized.
  • A thesis statement is your interpretation of the subject, not the topic itself.
  • A strong thesis is specific, precise, forceful, confident, and is able to be demonstrated.
  • A strong thesis challenges readers with a point of view that can be debated and can be supported with evidence.
  • A weak thesis is simply a declaration of your topic or contains an obvious fact that cannot be argued.
  • Depending on your topic, it may or may not be appropriate to use first person point of view.
  • Revise your thesis by ensuring all words are specific, all ideas are exact, and all verbs express action.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to write a thesis statement for a research paper

How to write a thesis statement

The thesis statement is the central argument of your research paper makes and serves as a roadmap for the entire essay. Therefore, writing a strong thesis statement is essential for crafting a successful research paper—but it can also be one of the most challenging aspects of the writing process. In this post, we discuss strategies for creating a quality thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is the main argument of an academic essay or research paper . It states directly what you plan to argue in the paper.

A thesis statement is typically a single sentence, but it can be longer depending on the length and type of paper that you’re writing.

How to write a good thesis statement

In this section, we outline five key tips for writing a good thesis statement. If you’re struggling to come up with a research topic or a thesis, consider asking your instructor or a librarian for additional assistance.

1. Start with a question

A good thesis statement should be an answer to a research question. Start by asking a question about your topic that you want to address in your paper. This will help you focus your research and give your paper direction. The thesis statement should be a concise answer to this question.

Your research question should not be too broad or narrow. If the question is too broad, you may not be able to answer it effectively. If the question is too narrow, you may not have enough material to write a complete research paper. As a result, it’s important to strike a balance between a question that is too broad and one that is too narrow.

Thesis statements always respond to an existing scholarly conversation; so, formulate your research question and thesis in response to a current debate. Are there gaps in the current research? Where might your argument intervene?

2. Be specific

Your thesis statement should be specific and precise. It should clearly state the main point that you will be arguing in your paper. Avoid vague or general statements that are not arguable (see below). The more specific your thesis statement is, the easier it will be to write your paper.

To make your thesis statement specific, focus on a particular aspect of your topic. For example, if your topic is about the effects of social media on mental health, you can focus on a specific age group or a particular social media platform.

3. Make it debatable

A good thesis statement must be debatable (otherwise, it’s not actually an argument). It should present an argument that can be supported with evidence. Avoid statements that are purely factual or descriptive. Your thesis statement should take a position on a topic and argue for its validity.

4. Use strong language

Use strong, definitive language in your thesis statement. Try to avoid sounding tentative or uncertain. Your thesis statement should be confident and assertive, and it should clearly state your position on the topic.

It’s a myth that you can’t use “I” in an academic paper, so consider constructing your thesis statement in the form of “I argue that…” This conveys a strong and firm position.

To help make your thesis more assertive, avoid using vague language. For example, instead of writing, "I think social media has a negative impact on mental health," you might write, "Social media has a negative impact on mental health" or “I argue that social media has a negative impact on mental health.”

5. Revise and refine

Finally, remember that your thesis statement is not set in stone. You may need to revise, and refine, it as you conduct your research and write your paper. Don't be afraid to make changes to your thesis statement as you go along.

As you conduct your research and write your paper, you may discover new information that requires you to adjust your thesis statement. Or, as you work through a second draft, you might find that you’ve actually argued something different than you intended. Therefore, it is important to be flexible and open to making changes to your thesis statement.

The bottom line

Remember that your thesis statement is the foundation of your paper, so it's important to spend time crafting it carefully. A solid thesis enables you to write a research paper that effectively communicates your argument to your readers.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to create a thesis statement

Here is an example of a thesis statement: “I argue that social media has a negative impact on mental health.”

A good thesis statement should be an answer to a research question. Start by asking a question about your topic that you want to answer in your paper. The thesis statement should be a concise answer to this question.

Start your thesis statement with the words, “I argue that…” This conveys a strong and firm position.

A strong thesis is a direct, 1-2 sentence statement of your paper’s main argument. Good thesis statements are specific, balanced, and formed in response to an ongoing scholarly conversation.

How to write a research paper

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Writing Resources

Tips for writing an effective thesis statement.

This handout is available for download in DOCX format and PDF format .

Thesis statements are essentially the driving force and backbone of an academic essay. Without a thesis statement, your essay will lack a cohesive argument and will read more like a list of statistics, quotations or connecting ideas. Before completing your thesis statement, ask yourself:

  • Is your essay’s major claim complex? Is it insightful? Is it surprising or unexpected?
  • Does your thesis respond to a question, tension or problem?
  • Is your thesis stated clearly at the outset and does it evolve and develop throughout the paper?
  • Does your thesis statement have a clear motive?

Effective thesis statements directly and boldly articulate a complex, arguable or surprising argument (or arguments) of your own which will need to develop throughout the essay. They should be intelligent, well thought-out responses to a question or problem your essay will address.

Weak Thesis Statements Often:

Make no claim.

  • Example: This paper will examine the similarities and differences between two articles.
  • Possible Solution: Put the articles in conversation with one another and raise specific issues they agree or disagree about.

Are Obviously True or Statements of Fact

  • Example: Tourists are often out of place in other cultures.
  • Possible Solution: Make an assertion your reader can argue with.

Restate Conventional Wisdom or Clichés

  • Example: We shouldn’t judge others because it’s the inside that counts.
  • Possible Solution: Seek to complicate your thesis by anticipating counterarguments; try offering something new to the cliché.

Offer Personal Conviction as the Basis for the Argument

  • Example: Clearly, Kincaid is being one-sided.
  • Possible Solution: Maintain some distance from your subject. Do not merely assume your idea is an objective or obvious truth.

Make Overly Broad Claims

  • Example: Limerick shows her knowledge about the West.
  • Possible Solution: Convert broad, generic categories into more specific, complex assertions. Find ways to bring out the complexity of your argument.

More Questions for Constructing Strong Thesis Statements:

A strong thesis statement is often not created all at once but will rather go through stages of revision. A thesis statement in its early form is called a “working thesis.” While honing and tightening your working thesis, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to be “So what?” then you need to clarify it or connect it to some larger issue via a compelling motive.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful?”
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to fit together, one of them has to change. It’s perfectly okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary!
  • Does my thesis answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question.
  • Does my thesis statement teach my reader something they did not already know? Am I bringing a new idea or perspective to the table on the issue or problem raised? Am I happy with what my thesis statement is saying?

Points to Remember:

  • The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
  • A thesis is not the answer to a math problem; it is not supposed to be “correct.” Your thesis should be designed to persuade the reader that your point of view is valid and worthy of consideration.
  • Make sure your thesis is your own argument and not simply the argument that you think your instructor or one of your sources would approve of.
  • A thesis statement will never be perfect, because it is an attempt to encapsulate everything that will happen in your argument. Since it takes a whole paper to do that, your thesis will always lack something. Accept this and make it the best it can be regardless!

Credit: “Thesis Statements,” The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 25 October 2017, http://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements ; “Developing Strong Thesis Statements,” Purdue Online Writing Lab. 25 October 2017, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ .

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How to Write a Thesis: A Guide for Master’s Students

By Dr. David James Kritz   |  09/29/2023

how to write a thesis

Let’s face it. Researching and writing a quality thesis can be daunting for many reasons, including:

  • A lack of knowledge on where to begin the assignment process
  • What key arguments and questions to ask in relation to the thesis statement
  • How to get to the data and subject matter
  • How to cope with writer's block, a professor's expectations, and time constraints

According to Dictionary.com , a thesis is “a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections.”

Therefore, avoiding a weak thesis statement is vital when writing an applicable paper. Thesis statement examples are pivotal in understanding this position.

Currently, master’s students who select the thesis capstone within American Public University's School of Security and Global Studies intelligence master's degree program must choose a relevant subject.

Typically, these students must write a thesis statement that consists of at least one compelling sentence and at least 50 pages of content, then turn it in within 16 weeks.

I have taught graduate students, primarily from the U.S. Intelligence Community, how to conduct research for over eight years.

Based on my experience as an educator, I have 10 tips for creating good thesis statements. These tips, combined with some apt thesis statement examples, can elucidate the process.

Tip #1 for Effective Thesis Statements: Select an Appropriate Topic and Research Question

First, it is necessary to use a lengthy thinking process before developing a good thesis statement, whether it’s an expository thesis statement or an argumentative one. This process begins with many questions related to how to write a thesis statement, such as:

  • What would be an interesting topic?
  • What would be an original and interesting research question?
  • What will be the main claim, key arguments, and central idea of the thesis statement?
  • What is an appropriate research design?
  • How will I get to the data to address my central research question?

Regardless of the thesis statement or topic, all research begins with a research question.

Without the right question, the analysis, literature review, and implications might miss their mark. This question should be unique, intriguing, and beyond a mere “yes” or “no” answer.

For instance, rather than asking, “Will Country X pursue nuclear proliferation?”, it's better to pose open-ended questions like, “How does…?” or “To what extent…?” Such an approach ensures nuanced and substantive answers.

Additionally, supplementary key questions should support the main research question's depth and intent.

Tip #2: Begin Work on the Thesis Statement and Break Up the Thesis into Manageable Sections

After selecting an appropriate topic and developing a central research question for the thesis statement, it is then necessary to apply the research and writing skills you have learned throughout your degree program.

It might be necessary to refine the thesis statement after some preliminary research; after all, you want a strong thesis statement rather than a weak thesis statement.

It is also essential to break up the thesis paper into manageable sections during the writing process. This strategy will help you to overcome the most common types of mental hurdle of creating a thesis paper that can be 50 or more pages in length.

For writing a thesis statement, this way of thinking is helpful before you begin writing. Instead of attempting to write every single sentence of a thesis statement in one long stretch, you can work on one section at a time, turn it in for review and work on the next section of the thesis statement while awaiting feedback.

Tip #3: Pay Attention to Your Professor's Feedback about Your Assignment

When I give my essay assignment to my students with advice on how to write a thesis, I also explain the importance of a strong thesis statement.

I advise them to avoid becoming emotionally attached to the thesis. That emotional attachment can lead to a battle of wills and wits with the capstone course's professor over the thesis statement examples they present.

When it comes to implementing feedback, revisions to the thesis paper often need to occur. Faculty members are there to help guide you and assist you in the production of a good-quality, argumentative thesis statement that will provide new insights for the reader.

Just go with the feedback you receive from your instructor as you write a sentence, or more, and move on to complete your thesis paper more efficiently.

Tip #4: Complete an Abstract

The abstract of a thesis is vital, so it must be carefully crafted. The abstract may be the only section of a published, scholarly paper or article that someone may take the time to read, based on their time constraints and interest.

Ideally, the abstract should be 250 words or less and must contain the main point of the paper. I advise students drafting an abstract for scholarly journal editors to ensure that the abstract has these elements:

An introductory sentence

A “hook” (why the reader should care about the thesis statement or its topic and to motivate the reader to look at your paper)

The central research question to show the main point of your paper

The research design – how you collected evidence to support your arguments

The results and implications, such as the negative and positive aspects of your main topic and the broader context of your research

Tip #5: Write the Literature Review

When crafting a literature review, incorporate multiple peer-reviewed articles from academic sources like ProQuest and EBSCOHost. Opt for articles frequently cited in other works to enhance your paper's credibility.

The review examines arguments in thesis statements and their counterarguments from scholarly works. For clear discussions, organize your review thematically, showing topic synthesis and your position. This reduces confusion.

For example, if 40 articles discuss open-source intelligence and seven focus on social media, that could be a central theme.

Rather than just listing articles, create broader themes and keep synthesizing. When crafting the thesis, evaluate each paragraph's relevance to the main research question. I advise students to assess the “So what?” factor. If a paragraph isn't pertinent, it might be best to remove it.

Tip #6: Develop a Theoretical Framework within Your Thesis Statement

Theories in theses are often mishandled, reflecting a student’s unclear grasp. Academic theory goes beyond mere "I have a theory" statements and leans on robust, time-tested frameworks.

For instance, a strategic intelligence studies thesis statement might employ national security theory or national defense theory. This theory should align with the thesis's central question.

For example, if probing how Country X uses social media for misinformation, a student might be directed to the communication theory, which aligns well with the study's main topic and question.

Tip #7: Select a Research Design

Before conducting research, students must devise a strategy to address their central question. The research design is their roadmap for data collection. This encompasses methodology, methods, and data gathering instruments like surveys or interviews. Research on humans requires IRB approval, which I advise against due to time constraints in a 16-week paper cycle. Additionally, it's vital to distinguish between “methodology” and “methods,” terms often mistakenly used interchangeably.

Methodology involves the justification of the how and why a research method was selected to address the central research question , according to Indeed. The three primary methodologies include:

  • Qualitative methodology
  • Quantitative methodology
  • Mixed methods

“Mixed methods” involves a researcher’s use of at least one research method from a qualitative methodology and another research method from a quantitative methodology, then explaining how those methods will be integrated into a study.

But if two methods from the same methodology are used in a study, that is referred to as a multi-method approach. An example of a multi-method approach would be using a comparative case study as the first qualitative research method and process tracing as the second research method.

Research methods are linked to either qualitative or quantitative methodologies. They focus on “what” a researcher selected to interpret data.

Research method types include:

  • Archival records
  • Alternative futures
  • Case studies
  • Comparative case studies
  • Content analysis
  • Correlational research
  • Descriptive research
  • Ethnography
  • Experimental research
  • Phenomenology
  • Process tracing

Tip #8: Write about Research Findings and Data

After gathering data for a thesis, analyzing its significance is crucial, with methods including coding. While qualitative methodology doesn't aim to prove anything, unlike the quantitative approach which tests hypotheses, it can discuss correlations, causation, and delve into theoretical implications in data.

Some may view qualitative research as subjective, but selecting variables in quantitative research has its subjectivity too. Ultimately, it's essential to adhere closely to the scientific method, rather than relying on opinions or claims without concrete evidence.

Tip #9: Consider How Bias Will Affect Your Thesis Statement

When writing thesis statements, it is necessary to consider how bias will affect your writing and your reader. Being 100% objective is an admirable goal, but it is impossible to avoid biases as we are human beings.

All of us have biases, including latent ones. At best, we can mitigate biases, such as using coding software, but never holistically remove bias. As researchers, we just need to be aware of biases and develop strategies to mitigate them.

Tip #10: Be Aware of the Limitations of a Study

The study's limitations section is a pivotal part of a thesis. It highlights the research's shortcomings and indicates what might be done differently.

For instance, a student may mention a 16-week time constraint or contemplate a different research design or question.

This section not only helps students recognize how to enhance their research but also guides future scholars. They can learn from prior omissions or envision alternative research avenues.

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How to Write a Good Thesis

Last Updated: March 18, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Bryce Warwick, JD and by wikiHow staff writer, Janice Tieperman . Bryce Warwick is currently the President of Warwick Strategies, an organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area offering premium, personalized private tutoring for the GMAT, LSAT and GRE. Bryce has a JD from the George Washington University Law School. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 104,927 times.

Do you have a big term paper or essay on your academic horizons? Before diving into your assignment, you’ll need a thesis: a clear, sentence-long explanation at the end of your first/introductory paragraph that defines what your paper will be analyzing, explaining, or arguing. [1] X Research source A good thesis is easy to write if you know what to include—that’s why we’re here to walk you through everything you need to know. Read on for plenty of tips, explanations, and examples to help take your thesis-writing game to the next level.

How do you write a strong thesis statement?

Step 1 Identify the type of thesis you need to write.

  • Argumentative prompt example: Technology helps students succeed in school. The prompt wants you to state whether you agree or disagree with this stance, and why.
  • Analytical prompt example: Do video games influence the thoughts and actions of teenagers? The prompt wants you to research both sides of this controversial topic and come up with an analysis.
  • Expository prompt example: Why is a calorie deficit diet plan effective for weight loss? The prompt wants you to go into detail on a specific topic.

Step 2 Transform your assignment into a research question.

  • The prompt “Genetically-modified foods provide an essential service to society” could be changed to “Do genetically-modified foods provide an essential service to society?”
  • The prompt “Many people are divided over the advantages and disadvantages of wearing masks” could be adjusted to “What are the pros and cons of wearing masks?”

Step 3 Create a succinct thesis by responding to your research question.

  • Example: GMOs provide a high volume of delicious, long-lasting food, making them an essential service to society.
  • Example: Although politicians debate the practicality of masks in a post-pandemic society, evidence suggests that regular masking helps prevent the transmission of harmful illnesses.
  • Remember—your thesis is a work in progress! You’re welcome to tweak, adjust, and completely change your thesis so it accurately represents your research.
  • If your professor or teacher assigns an essay or paper with a pre-assigned topic, you might not have to do as much research.

What makes a thesis statement good or effective?

Step 1 A good thesis statement provides a clear stance.

  • Bad thesis: Pollution is harmful.
  • Better thesis: Pollution risks harming millions of people through the spread of toxins in the air and waterways.

Step 2 A good thesis statement includes a discussable topic.

  • Bad thesis: Pineapple is a pizza topping.
  • Better thesis: Pineapple’s sweet flavor profile makes it an unsavory choice as a pizza topping.

Step 3 A good thesis statement highlights a specific thought or idea.

  • Bad thesis: Drunk driving is bad.
  • Better thesis: Alcohol impairs a person’s mental functions, making it difficult and dangerous for them to drive a vehicle.

Step 4 A good thesis statement doesn’t leave a reader asking “how” or “why.”

  • Bad thesis: Twitter is good and bad.
  • Better thesis: Twitter offers greater visibility to important issues at the risk of imparting a heavy bias.

Step 5 A good thesis statement clearly answers the question “so what?”

  • Bad thesis: The rise of technology has pros and cons.
  • Better thesis: The rise of technology improves digital literacy, but limits opportunities for in-person interactions.

Step 6 A good thesis focuses on a single subject.

  • Bad thesis: The 1970s served as a turning point for women’s rights, LGBT rights, and environmental awareness.
  • Better thesis: The 1970s launched a new era for women’s rights that has continued on into the 21st century.

Examples of Thesis Statements

Step 1 Argumentative

  • Eliminate passive verbs like “is” or “was”—they don’t paint a very clear picture for your reader.

Step 3 Expository

  • A list format works well for expository thesis statements! List out the different topics you’ll be discussing, and then dedicate different sections of your paper to each point.

Expert Q&A

  • Ask your professor or teacher for a second opinion once you’ve drafted your thesis. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

quality of thesis statement

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Restate a Thesis

  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis_or_purpose/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/writing-a-thesis
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://www.norwellschools.org/cms/lib02/MA01001453/Centricity/Domain/206/Thesis%20Statement.pdf
  • ↑ https://clas.uiowa.edu/history/teaching-and-writing-center/guides/argumentation
  • ↑ https://www.u.arizona.edu/~sung/pdf/thesis.pdf

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The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

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25 Thesis Statement Examples

thesis statement examples and definition, explained below

A thesis statement is needed in an essay or dissertation . There are multiple types of thesis statements – but generally we can divide them into expository and argumentative. An expository statement is a statement of fact (common in expository essays and process essays) while an argumentative statement is a statement of opinion (common in argumentative essays and dissertations). Below are examples of each.

Strong Thesis Statement Examples

school uniforms and dress codes, explained below

1. School Uniforms

“Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate

Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons

nature vs nurture examples and definition

2. Nature vs Nurture

“This essay will explore how both genetic inheritance and environmental factors equally contribute to shaping human behavior and personality.”

Best For: Compare and Contrast Essay

Read More: Nature vs Nurture Debate

American Dream Examples Definition

3. American Dream

“The American Dream, a symbol of opportunity and success, is increasingly elusive in today’s socio-economic landscape, revealing deeper inequalities in society.”

Best For: Persuasive Essay

Read More: What is the American Dream?

social media pros and cons

4. Social Media

“Social media has revolutionized communication and societal interactions, but it also presents significant challenges related to privacy, mental health, and misinformation.”

Best For: Expository Essay

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

types of globalization, explained below

5. Globalization

“Globalization has created a world more interconnected than ever before, yet it also amplifies economic disparities and cultural homogenization.”

Read More: Globalization Pros and Cons

urbanization example and definition

6. Urbanization

“Urbanization drives economic growth and social development, but it also poses unique challenges in sustainability and quality of life.”

Read More: Learn about Urbanization

immigration pros and cons, explained below

7. Immigration

“Immigration enriches receiving countries culturally and economically, outweighing any perceived social or economic burdens.”

Read More: Immigration Pros and Cons

cultural identity examples and definition, explained below

8. Cultural Identity

“In a globalized world, maintaining distinct cultural identities is crucial for preserving cultural diversity and fostering global understanding, despite the challenges of assimilation and homogenization.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay

Read More: Learn about Cultural Identity

technology examples and definition explained below

9. Technology

“Medical technologies in care institutions in Toronto has increased subjcetive outcomes for patients with chronic pain.”

Best For: Research Paper

capitalism examples and definition

10. Capitalism vs Socialism

“The debate between capitalism and socialism centers on balancing economic freedom and inequality, each presenting distinct approaches to resource distribution and social welfare.”

cultural heritage examples and definition

11. Cultural Heritage

“The preservation of cultural heritage is essential, not only for cultural identity but also for educating future generations, outweighing the arguments for modernization and commercialization.”

pseudoscience examples and definition, explained below

12. Pseudoscience

“Pseudoscience, characterized by a lack of empirical support, continues to influence public perception and decision-making, often at the expense of scientific credibility.”

Read More: Examples of Pseudoscience

free will examples and definition, explained below

13. Free Will

“The concept of free will is largely an illusion, with human behavior and decisions predominantly determined by biological and environmental factors.”

Read More: Do we have Free Will?

gender roles examples and definition, explained below

14. Gender Roles

“Traditional gender roles are outdated and harmful, restricting individual freedoms and perpetuating gender inequalities in modern society.”

Read More: What are Traditional Gender Roles?

work-life balance examples and definition, explained below

15. Work-Life Ballance

“The trend to online and distance work in the 2020s led to improved subjective feelings of work-life balance but simultaneously increased self-reported loneliness.”

Read More: Work-Life Balance Examples

universal healthcare pros and cons

16. Universal Healthcare

“Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right and the most effective system for ensuring health equity and societal well-being, outweighing concerns about government involvement and costs.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Universal Healthcare

raising minimum wage pros and cons

17. Minimum Wage

“The implementation of a fair minimum wage is vital for reducing economic inequality, yet it is often contentious due to its potential impact on businesses and employment rates.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

homework pros and cons

18. Homework

“The homework provided throughout this semester has enabled me to achieve greater self-reflection, identify gaps in my knowledge, and reinforce those gaps through spaced repetition.”

Best For: Reflective Essay

Read More: Reasons Homework Should be Banned

charter schools vs public schools, explained below

19. Charter Schools

“Charter schools offer alternatives to traditional public education, promising innovation and choice but also raising questions about accountability and educational equity.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Charter Schools

internet pros and cons

20. Effects of the Internet

“The Internet has drastically reshaped human communication, access to information, and societal dynamics, generally with a net positive effect on society.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of the Internet

affirmative action example and definition, explained below

21. Affirmative Action

“Affirmative action is essential for rectifying historical injustices and achieving true meritocracy in education and employment, contrary to claims of reverse discrimination.”

Best For: Essay

Read More: Affirmative Action Pros and Cons

soft skills examples and definition, explained below

22. Soft Skills

“Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are increasingly recognized as essential for success in the modern workforce, and therefore should be a strong focus at school and university level.”

Read More: Soft Skills Examples

moral panic definition examples

23. Moral Panic

“Moral panic, often fueled by media and cultural anxieties, can lead to exaggerated societal responses that sometimes overlook rational analysis and evidence.”

Read More: Moral Panic Examples

freedom of the press example and definition, explained below

24. Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of the press is critical for democracy and informed citizenship, yet it faces challenges from censorship, media bias, and the proliferation of misinformation.”

Read More: Freedom of the Press Examples

mass media examples definition

25. Mass Media

“Mass media shapes public opinion and cultural norms, but its concentration of ownership and commercial interests raise concerns about bias and the quality of information.”

Best For: Critical Analysis

Read More: Mass Media Examples

Checklist: How to use your Thesis Statement

✅ Position: If your statement is for an argumentative or persuasive essay, or a dissertation, ensure it takes a clear stance on the topic. ✅ Specificity: It addresses a specific aspect of the topic, providing focus for the essay. ✅ Conciseness: Typically, a thesis statement is one to two sentences long. It should be concise, clear, and easily identifiable. ✅ Direction: The thesis statement guides the direction of the essay, providing a roadmap for the argument, narrative, or explanation. ✅ Evidence-based: While the thesis statement itself doesn’t include evidence, it sets up an argument that can be supported with evidence in the body of the essay. ✅ Placement: Generally, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction of an essay.

Try These AI Prompts – Thesis Statement Generator!

One way to brainstorm thesis statements is to get AI to brainstorm some for you! Try this AI prompt:

💡 AI PROMPT FOR EXPOSITORY THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTUCTIONS]. I want you to create an expository thesis statement that doesn’t argue a position, but demonstrates depth of knowledge about the topic.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTRUCTIONS]. I want you to create an argumentative thesis statement that clearly takes a position on this issue.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST THESIS STATEMENT I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that remain objective.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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Officer in Scottie Scheffler case thanks the golfer but takes aim at his attorney in statement

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( WAVE /Gray News) -The officer at the center of the case against pro golfer Scottie Scheffler issued his statement after the charges against Scheffler were dismissed.

In the letter, Detective Bryan Gillis thanked Scheffler for his demeanor throughout the ordeal.

“Mr. Scheffler and I both agree that there will be no ill will over this going forward,” Gillis wrote. “Instead of giving a negative public reaction, he chose to speak with dignity, humility and respect. My family and I appreciate that.”

However, Gillis took issue with claims made by Scheffler’s high-profile attorney, Steve Romines, calling his comments them “unfortunate and disturbing.” During a press conference after the court hearing on Wednesday, Romines said Gillis was never dragged and that it was a “false arrest.”

“I’d be surprised and disappointed if Mr. Scheffler actually had any part in making those statements,” Gillis said. “To be clear, I was drug by the car, I went to the ground, and I received visible injuries to my knees and wrist. I’m going to recover from it, and it will be OK.”

During the press conference, Romines also stated the only reason why Scheffler was not suing the Louisville Metro Police Department was that the taxpayers would end up with the bill.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “And I’ve said repeatedly, the more evidence comes out, the more it shows that Scottie was a victim in all this.”

During the press conference, Romines issued a response when asked about statements made by Scheffler moments after he was read his Miranda Rights. In a video of Scheffler’s arrest, he is heard apologizing and telling the officer he didn’t know Gillis was a police officer when he tried to stop him. Scheffler also tells the officer he was afraid he was late for his tee time, so he decided to move forward and admits he should have stopped.

When asked why the statement Scheffler made in the video did not align with what Romines was saying, Romines said Scheffler was “being interrogated after the most stressful situation of his life” and that Gillis was “asking him leading questions. ... And that’s why you don’t talk to police.”

Scheffler’s own words after the hearing were of a different tone than his own attorney.

“As I stated previously, this was an unfortunate misunderstanding,” Scheffler wrote. “I hold no ill will toward Officer Gillis. I wish to put this incident behind me and move on, and I hope he will do the same. Police officers have a difficult job, and I hold them in high regard. This was a severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation.”

Scheffler also talked about the life that was lost that morning during the fatal crash, a sentiment that Gillis echoed.

“The reality is there are more important things in the world right now than a back-and-forth over this,” Gillis said. “A person lost his life that day, and a family lost a loved one. At the end of the day, I take pride in working for the people in the community to preserve their safety.”

Gillis said he would like to continue serving the community as he has for the last two decades “without the distractions caused by this series of events.”

“I wish Scottie Scheffler and his family all the best,” he said.

Gillis ended his statement with a joke about his pants that had ripped during the incident.

“To those concerned, they were indeed ruined. But Scottie, it’s all good,” he said. “I never would’ve guessed I’d have the most famous pair of pants in the country for a few weeks because of this. Take care and be safe.- Bryan.”

Copyright 2024 WAVE via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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What is the Modern Slavery Act Australia and how to comply?

24th April 2024

colored stones - modern slavery

Brian Kraft

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Global estimates of modern slavery are at 50 million, meaning nearly one in every 150 people in the world is in some form of forced labour or forced marriage. The International Labour Organisation estimates that in Australia there are  15,000 people  in slave-like conditions. To address this, in 2018, Australia introduced the  Modern Slavery Act  2018 ( Cth ) to combat modern slavery and human trafficking.

Here we unpack what the Modern Slavery Act Australia is, who needs to report, statement requirements, quality reporting guidance, the 2022 review that is underway, and how to comply with the Modern Slavery Act Australia.

What is the Modern Slavery Act Australia? 

The Modern Slavery Act 2018 is a law in Australia that aims to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. The law requires certain large businesses and other entities operating in Australia to report annually on the actions they have taken to address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.

The Act is intended to increase transparency and accountability in relation to modern slavery risks, and to encourage businesses to take action to address these risks and protect workers in their operations and supply chains.

The Act lists eight exploitations that are classified as modern slavery, including human trafficking, slavery, servitude, forced marriage, forced labour, debt bondage, deceptive recruitment and the worst forms of child labour, which involve slavery practices or hazardous work involving children.

Who must report to Australia’s Modern Slavery Act? 

The Act applies to entities that have an annual consolidated revenue of at least AUD$100 million and that conduct any part of their business in Australia. These entities are required to prepare a slavery statement each financial year that complies with the reporting criteria presented in the Act.

Voluntary Modern Slavery statements  

Companies who do not meet the current revenue threshold may submit a voluntary modern slavery statement. A voluntary statement is often prepared by companies or organisations that want to demonstrate their commitment to addressing modern slavery and human trafficking risks in their operations and supply chains, even if they do not meet the revenue threshold or other criteria required by the legislation. A voluntary modern slavery statement must comply with the same criteria in the Act.

Voluntary statements can be a useful tool for companies and organisations to communicate their commitment to responsible business practices and to encourage transparency and accountability in relation to modern slavery risks. They can also help to build trust with stakeholders and consumers and differentiate the company or organisation from its competitors.

Modern Slavery Act Australia – how to comply   

Under the Modern Slavery Act 2018 in Australia, entities that meet the revenue threshold and operate in Australia are required to prepare a Modern Slavery Statement (MSS) each financial year. To comply with the Act, entities must include the following information:

  • A description of the entity’s  structure, operations, and supply chains , including information about the goods and services it provides and the countries in which it operates.
  • A description of the entity’s  modern slavery risks,  including information about the specific types of slavery or trafficking that may occur in its operations or supply chains.
  • A description of the  actions the entity has taken to assess and address modern slavery risks  in its operations and supply chains, including information about the due diligence processes it has undertaken, the policies and procedures it has implemented, and the training it has provided to its employees and business partners.
  • A description of any actions the entity has taken to support the identification and protection of victims of modern slavery, and to  prevent modern slavery  from occurring in its operations and supply chains.
  • A description of the  performance indicators and targets  used to measure the effectiveness of the entity’s actions to address modern slavery risks, and a summary of the results achieved.
  • The name of the  person or persons who is/are responsible  for ensuring that the entity complies with the reporting requirements under the Act and the contact details of the person or persons.
  • A statement that the information provided in the MSS is accurate and complete to the best of the person’s knowledge and belief.

The statement must be signed off by a director of the highest governing body and submitted to the Australian government for publication on a public registry.

What is the annual Modern Slavery Act reporting deadline? 

Businesses are required to submit their modern slavery statement within six months of the end of their financial year. For instance, companies with a financial year ending on 31 December, who submitted their modern slavery statement before 30 June 2023, must submit their second-year statements before 30 June 2024. Similarly, those with a financial year ending on 30 June 2024, should submit their second-year statements by 31 December 2024.

Modern Slavery Act guidance  

Monash University  published a research report in 2022 reviewing modern slavery statements from the ASX 100, a good resource on what to do and what not to do for companies preparing or revising their statements. Breaking down disclosure strengths and weaknesses, quality of responses and areas for improvement provides well researched insights on how to improve the quality of the modern slavery statement.  

Strong statements address the following:

  • Transparent disclosure of structure and operations
  • Other reporting formality (consultation process, signatory authority, other matters)
  • Detail of suppliers’ locations
  • Detail of the risk scoping process, risk assessment framework and the potential risks identified in operations and supply chains
  • A forward-looking action plan

The Modern Slavery Act review and potential changes 

A  review  of the Modern Slavery Act was announced in 2020, with  final submissions closing end of 2022  and the review expected to be announced in 2024.

The review was seeking input on such questions as has the Modern Slavery Act had a positive impact, are reporting requirements appropriate and are additional measures required to improve compliance with Modern Slavery Act reporting obligations?

Potential changes that may be recommended include increasing the scope of the reporting requirements to cover more companies, increasing penalties for non-compliance, and providing more guidance and support for companies to help them identify and address modern slavery risks in their operations and supply chains.

Additionally, the review may consider the inclusion of mandatory independent assurance for the reporting process, and the creation of an independent commissioner for modern slavery.

We’ll be following these developments closely so sign up to our mailing list, follow our socials or connect with our Modern Slavery expert Brian Kraft .

Want to learn more about the Modern Slavery Act Australia reporting requirements or need guidance on your modern slavery statement? 

We have a team of human rights experts passionate about supporting organisations on their counter-modern slavery journeys.  If you would like to learn more about our human rights services, get support with any of the above steps, or understand how we can help you address modern slavery in your business reach out to our experts.

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Good morning and welcome to our release of first quarter 2024 performance results for FDIC-insured institutions.  

The banking industry continued to show resilience in the first quarter. Net income rebounded from the non-recurring expenses that affected earnings last quarter, asset quality metrics remained generally favorable, and the industry’s liquidity was stable. However, the industry’s net interest margin declined as competition continued to pressure rates paid on deposits and asset yields declined. 

The banking industry’s net income of $64.2 billion in the first quarter was an increase of 79.5 percent from the prior quarter, mainly due to lower expense related to the FDIC special assessment and lower goodwill writedowns.  Otherwise, net income in the first quarter would have increased 14.3 percent from the prior quarter as higher noninterest income and lower provision expenses more than offset a decline in net interest income.

Community banks reported net income of $6.3 billion, a quarterly increase of 6.1 percent, driven by better results on the sale of securities and lower noninterest and provision expenses.

The industry’s net interest margin declined by 10 basis points to 3.17 percent, below the pre-pandemic average of 3.25 percent. 1  Continued deposit competition caused funding costs to increase during the quarter while the yield on earning assets declined. The net interest margin for community banks also declined in the first quarter and remains below its pre-pandemic average.

Unrealized losses on available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities increased by $39 billion to $517 billion in the first quarter. Higher unrealized losses on residential mortgage-backed securities, resulting from higher mortgage rates in the first quarter, drove the overall increase. This is the ninth straight quarter of unusually high unrealized losses since the Federal Reserve began to raise interest rates in first quarter 2022. 

The industry’s total loans declined by $35 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the first quarter. Most of the decline was reported by the largest banks, in line with a seasonal decline in credit card loans and lower auto loan balances. The industry’s year-over-year loan growth rate of 1.7 percent, the slowest rate of annual growth since third quarter 2021, has steadily declined over the past year. The annual increase was led by credit card loans and CRE loans. Loan growth at community banks was more robust, increasing 0.9 percent from the prior quarter and 7.1 percent from the prior year, led by CRE and residential mortgage loans.

Asset quality metrics were generally favorable with the exception of material deterioration in CRE and credit card portfolios. 2  The industry’s noncurrent rate increased five basis points from the prior quarter to 0.91 percent, a level still well below the pre-pandemic average noncurrent rate of 1.28 percent. 3

The increase in noncurrent loan balances continued among non-owner occupied CRE loans, driven by office loans at the largest banks, those with assets greater than $250 billion. The next tier of banks, those with total assets between $10 billion and $250 billion in assets, is also showing some stress in non-owner occupied CRE loans. Weak demand for office space is softening property values, and higher interest rates are affecting the credit quality and refinancing ability of office and other types of CRE loans. As a result, the noncurrent rate for non-owner occupied CRE loans is now at its highest level since fourth quarter 2013. 

Driven by write-downs on credit cards, the industry’s quarterly net charge-off rate remained at 0.65 percent for the second straight quarter, 24 basis points higher than the prior year’s rate. The current net charge-off rate is 17 basis points higher than the pre-pandemic average. The credit card net charge-off rate was the highest rate since third quarter 2011. 

Domestic deposits increased for a second consecutive quarter, this quarter by $191 billion, driven by growth in transaction accounts. The shift away from noninterest-bearing deposits toward interest-bearing deposits continued, as interest-bearing deposits increased 1.7 percent quarter over quarter and noninterest-bearing deposits declined for the eighth consecutive quarter. Estimated uninsured deposits increased $63 billion in the quarter, representing the first reported increase since fourth quarter 2021.

The number of banks on the Problem Bank List, those with a CAMELS composite rating of “4” or “5,” increased from 52 in fourth quarter 2023 to 63 in first quarter 2024. The number of problem banks represented 1.4 percent of total banks, which was within the normal range for non-crisis periods of one to two percent of all banks.  Total assets held by problem banks increased $15.8 billion to $82.1 billion during the quarter. 

The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) balance was $125.3 billion on March 31, up $3.5 billion from the end of the fourth quarter. Insured deposits increased by 1.1 percent, about half of typical growth in the first quarter. The reserve ratio, or the fund balance relative to insured deposits, increased by two basis points to 1.17 percent. The reserve ratio currently remains on track to reach the 1.35 percent minimum reserve ratio by the statutory deadline of September 30, 2028.

In conclusion, the banking industry continued to show resilience in the first quarter. However, the banking industry still faces significant downside risks from the continued effects of inflation, volatility in market interest rates, and geopolitical uncertainty. These issues could cause credit quality, earnings, and liquidity challenges for the industry. In addition, deterioration in certain loan portfolios, particularly office properties and credit card loans, continues to warrant monitoring. These issues, together with funding and margin pressures, will remain matters of ongoing supervisory attention by the FDIC. 

I am happy to take your questions.

Quarterly Net Income

Our first chart shows that the banking industry reported quarterly net income of $64.2 billion, an increase of $28.4 billion, or 79.5 percent, from the prior quarter. A large decline in noninterest expense, primarily due to lower expense related to the FDIC special assessment and lower goodwill writedowns, coupled with higher noninterest income and lower provision expenses, contributed to the increase in quarterly net income. 4

Community bank quarterly net income increased 6.1 percent from the prior quarter to $6.3 billion, driven by better results on the sale of securities and lower noninterest and provision expenses.

Quarter-Over-Quarter Change

Our next chart shows the breakdown of the changes in industry net income quarter over quarter. The main driver of the industry’s $28.4 billion increase in net income was noninterest expense, which fell by $22.5 billion, or 13.3 percent, quarter over quarter. Noninterest income increased by $10.3 billion during the quarter. An increase in trading revenue and “all other noninterest income” contributed to the quarterly increase in noninterest income.

Much of the change in quarter-over-quarter net income was from an estimated $12 billion reduction in the FDIC special assessment expense and $8.5 billion in goodwill write-downs by two large banks in fourth quarter 2023. Excluding these expenses, net income would have still increased $8.6 billion, or 14.3 percent, from the prior quarter on stronger noninterest income and lower provision expenses.

Quarterly Credit Loss Provisions

The next chart shows that the industry’s provision expense was $20.6 billion in the first quarter, down $4.3 billion from the fourth quarter. Despite the quarter over-quarter-decline, provision expenses have been higher than the pre-pandemic average for the past seven quarters. 

Quarterly Net Interest Margin

The next chart shows the average net interest margin for the industry and the five asset size groups on which the QBP reports. The industry’s net interest margin fell 10 basis points from last quarter to 3.17 percent, below the pre-pandemic average of 3.25 percent, as funding costs continued to increase while earning asset yields declined in line with seasonal declines in credit card lending. All asset-size groups reported a quarter-over-quarter decline in their net interest margins.

The community bank net interest margin of 3.23 percent also declined during the quarter, down 12 basis points from the prior quarter.  

Quarterly Change in Loan Yields and Deposit Costs

The next chart shows the quarter-over-quarter change in the industry’s average yield on loans and average cost of deposits, which helps to explain the industry’s decline in net interest margin this quarter. During the quarter, deposit costs increased 6 basis points while loan yields declined 5 basis points. Loan yields were affected by a seasonal decline in credit card lending.

Loans and Securities > 3 Years as a Percent of Total Assets

The next chart shows that the banking industry’s share of longer-term loans and securities fell for the fifth consecutive quarter to 36.1 percent after peaking at 39.7 percent in fourth quarter 2022. The industry’s share of longer-term assets is still above the pre-pandemic average of 35.0 percent.

Community banks’ share of longer-term loans and securities was 49.6 percent in first quarter 2024, down from 51.0 percent last quarter and a peak of 54.7 percent in fourth quarter 2022.

Unrealized Gains (Losses) on Investment Securities

Our next chart shows the level of unrealized losses on held-to-maturity and available-for-sale securities portfolios. Total unrealized losses of $516.5 billion were $38.9 billion higher than the previous quarter. Higher unrealized losses on residential mortgage-backed securities drove the increase, as mortgage rates increased in the first quarter, putting downward pressure on the prices of such investments.

Quarterly Change in Loan Balances

The next chart shows the change in loan balances on a quarterly and annual basis. The industry reported a decline in total loans of $34.8 billion, or 0.3 percent, in the first quarter. Most of the decline was from the largest banks, and the quarterly decline was primarily caused by a seasonal decline in credit card loans as well as a decline in auto loans. 

The industry’s annual rate of loan growth continued to decline in the first quarter. Loan balances increased 1.7 percent from the prior year, the slowest rate of annual loan growth since third quarter 2021. The annual increase was led by credit card loans and CRE loans. 

Loan growth at community banks has been more robust, increasing 0.9 percent from the prior quarter and 7.1 percent from the prior year. Growth in CRE loans and 1-4 family residential mortgage loan balances drove both the quarterly and annual increases in loan and lease balances.

Noncurrent Loan Rate and Quarterly Net Charge-Off Rate

Our next chart shows asset quality metrics for the industry remained generally favorable despite material deterioration in non-owner occupied CRE and credit card portfolios. The noncurrent rate increased five basis points from the prior quarter to 0.91 percent, a level still well below the pre-pandemic average noncurrent rate of 1.28 percent. The quarterly increase was led by C&I loans and non-owner-occupied CRE loans. The noncurrent rate for non-owner occupied CRE loans of 1.59 percent is now at its highest level since fourth quarter 2013, driven by office portfolios at the largest banks.

The quarterly net charge-off rate of 0.65 percent was flat from the fourth quarter but 24 basis points higher than first quarter 2023. This rate is now 17 basis points higher than the pre-pandemic average net charge-off rate. Credit cards drove the annual increase in net charge-off balances. The credit card net charge-off rate was 4.70 percent in the first quarter, 122 basis points higher than its pre-pandemic average and the highest rate since third quarter 2011.  

Bank Non-Owner Occupied, Nonfarm Nonresidential Loan Past-Due and Nonaccrual Rates by Asset Size

Looking more closely at CRE portfolios, the upward trend in past due and nonaccrual non-owner-occupied property loans continued in the first quarter. The industry’s volume of past due and nonaccrual (PDNA) non-owner occupied CRE loans increased by $1.8 billion, or 9.0 percent, quarter over quarter. As seen in this chart, deterioration is concentrated in the largest banks, which reported a PDNA rate of 4.48 percent, well above their pre-pandemic average rate of 0.59 percent. The next tier of banks, those with between $10 billion and $250 billion in assets, is also showing some stress in non-owner-occupied property loans. This cohort’s PDNA rate was 1.47 percent in the first quarter, up from 1.35 percent in the fourth quarter and above its pre-pandemic rate of 0.66 percent. 

Reserve Coverage Ratio

The next chart shows that the noncurrent loan balances grew at a faster pace than the allowance for credit losses, resulting in a decline in the reserve coverage ratio. The ratio of the allowance for credit losses to noncurrent loans fell from 203.3 percent in the fourth quarter to 192.8 percent this quarter. This is still a much higher coverage ratio than the pre-pandemic average.

The reserve coverage ratio at community banks was 209.6 percent.

Quarterly Change in Asset Funding

Next chart shows that domestic deposits increased for a second consecutive quarter, rising $190.7 billion, or 1.1 percent, during the first quarter. Uninsured deposits increased $63.3 billion, or 0.9 percent, the first reported quarterly increase since fourth quarter 2021.

Banks continue to shift away from noninterest-bearing deposits toward interest-bearing deposits. Noninterest-bearing deposits declined for the eighth consecutive quarter, while interest-bearing deposits increased 1.7 percent. After seven consecutive quarters of increases, brokered deposits declined $10.2 billion (0.8 percent) from the prior quarter.

Nondeposit liabilities rose by $84 billion from the prior quarter, driven by an increase in fed funds purchased and repurchase agreements. 

Number and Assets of Banks on the "Problem Bank List"

Chart 13 shows the number and total assets of banks on the FDIC’s “Problem Bank List.” Banks on this list have a CAMELS composite rating of “4” or “5” due to financial, operational, or managerial weaknesses, or a combination of such issues. The number of banks on the list increased from 52 in fourth quarter 2023 to 63 in first quarter 2024. Total assets held by problem banks increased $15.8 billion to $82.1 billion. The number of problem banks represent 1.4 percent of total banks, which is within the normal range for non-crisis periods of one to two percent of all banks.  No banks failed during the first quarter. 

DIF Reserve Ratio and Balance

Our final chart shows that the DIF balance was $125.3 billion on March 31, 2024, up $3.5 billion from the fourth quarter. Assessment revenue was the primary driver of the increase in the fund. 

The net change in the DIF balance does not include the cost of protecting uninsured depositors pursuant to the systemic risk determination made for the two bank failures that occurred in March 2023, as the FDIC is required by statute to recover those losses through a special assessment. As of March 31, 2024, the total loss estimate for Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank was $22.5 billion, of which $19.2 billion is attributable to the protection of uninsured depositors pursuant to the systemic risk determination and will be recovered through the special assessment. As with all receiverships, loss estimates will be periodically adjusted as the FDIC as receiver of failed banks sells assets, satisfies liabilities, and incurs receivership expenses.

Insured deposits increased by 1.1 percent during the first quarter, and year-over-year insured deposit growth was 2.5 percent. The reserve ratio increased by two basis points in the first quarter to 1.17 percent and was 6 basis points higher than a year ago.

The FDIC adopted a DIF Restoration Plan on September 15, 2020, to return the reserve ratio to the statutory minimum of 1.35 percent by September 30, 2028, as required by law. Based on FDIC projections, the reserve ratio remains on track to reach 1.35 percent by the statutory deadline. The FDIC will continue to monitor factors affecting the reserve ratio, including but not limited to, insured deposit growth and potential losses due to bank failures and related reserves.

In conclusion, the banking industry continued to show resilience in the first quarter, as net income rebounded, asset quality metrics remained generally favorable, and the industry’s liquidity was stable. 

However, ongoing economic and geopolitical uncertainty, continuing inflationary pressures, volatility in market interest rates, and emerging risks in some bank loan portfolios pose significant downside risks to the banking industry.  These issues, together with funding and margin pressures, will be matters of close supervisory attention by the FDIC in 2024.   

The “pre-pandemic average” is calculated as the average from first quarter 2015 through fourth quarter 2019.

In this statement, the term “commercial real estate loans,” or CRE loans, is used to describe nonfarm, nonresidential loans.

Noncurrent loans are those that are 90 or more days past due or are on nonaccrual status.

In November 2023, the FDIC finalized a special assessment to recover the loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) attributable to the protection of uninsured depositors pursuant to the systemic risk determination announced on March 12, 2023, following the closures of two large banks.

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FACT SHEET: Biden- ⁠ Harris Administration Announces New Principles for High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon   Markets

Since Day One, President Biden has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, including by securing the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever climate investment, and taking executive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions across every sector of the economy. The President’s Investing in America agenda has already catalyzed more than $860 billion in business investments through smart, public incentives in industries of the future like electric vehicles (EVs), clean energy, and semiconductors. With support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act, these investments are creating new American jobs in manufacturing and clean energy and helping communities that have been left behind make a comeback.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to taking ambitious action to drive the investments needed to achieve our nation’s historic climate goals – cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. President Biden firmly believes that these investments must create economic opportunities across America’s diverse businesses – ranging from farms in rural communities, to innovative technology companies, to historically- underserved entrepreneurs.

As part of this commitment, the Biden-Harris Administration is today releasing a Joint Statement of Policy and new Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCMs) that codify the U.S. government’s approach to advance high-integrity VCMs. The principles and statement, co-signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, represent the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing the responsible development of VCMs, with clear incentives and guardrails in place to ensure that this market drives ambitious and credible climate action and generates economic opportunity.

The President’s Investing in America agenda has crowded in a historic surge of private capital to take advantage of the generational investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. High-integrity VCMs have the power to further crowd in private capital and reliably fund diverse organizations at home and abroad –whether climate technology companies, small businesses, farmers, or entrepreneurs –that are developing and deploying projects to reduce carbon emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, further steps are needed to strengthen this market and enable VCMs to deliver on their potential. Observers have found evidence that several popular crediting methodologies do not reliably produce the decarbonization outcomes they claim. In too many instances, credits do not live up to the high standards necessary for market participants to transact transparently and with certainty that credit purchases will deliver verifiable decarbonization. As a result, additional action is needed to rectify challenges that have emerged, restore confidence to the market, and ensure that VCMs live up to their potential to drive climate ambition and deliver on their decarbonization promise. This includes: establishing robust standards for carbon credit supply and demand; improving market functioning; ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all participants and advancing environmental justice, including fair distribution of revenue; and instilling market confidence.

The Administration’s Principles for Responsible Participation announced today deliver on this need for action to help VCMs achieve their potential. These principles include:

  • Carbon credits and the activities that generate them should meet credible atmospheric integrity standards and represent real decarbonization.
  • Credit-generating activities should avoid environmental and social harm and should, where applicable, support co-benefits and transparent and inclusive benefits-sharing.
  • Corporate buyers that use credits should prioritize measurable emissions reductions within their own value chains.
  • Credit users should publicly disclose the nature of purchased and retired credits.
  • Public claims by credit users should accurately reflect the climate impact of retired credits and should only rely on credits that meet high integrity standards.
  • Market participants should contribute to efforts that improve market integrity.
  • Policymakers and market participants should facilitate efficient market participation and seek to lower transaction costs.

The Role of High-Quality Voluntary Carbon Markets in Addressing Climate Change President Biden, through his executive actions and his legislative agenda, has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history. Today’s release of the Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets furthers the President’s commitment to restoring America’s climate leadership at home and abroad by recognizing the role that high- quality VCMs can play in amplifying climate action alongside, not in place of, other ambitious actions underway.

High-integrity, well-functioning VCMs can accelerate decarbonization in several ways. VCMs can deliver steady, reliable revenue streams to a range of decarbonization projects, programs, and practices, including nature-based solutions and innovative climate technologies that scale up carbon removal. VCMs can also deliver important co-benefits both here at home and abroad, including supporting economic development, sustaining livelihoods of Tribal Nations, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, and conserving land and water resources and biodiversity. Credit-generating activities should also put in place safeguards to identify and avoid potential adverse impacts and advance environmental justice.

To deliver on these benefits, VCMs must consistently deliver high-integrity carbon credits that represent real, additional, lasting, unique, and independently verified emissions reductions or removals. Put simply, stakeholders must be certain that one credit truly represents one tonne of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent) reduced or removed from the atmosphere, beyond what would have otherwise occurred. In addition, there must be a high level of “demand integrity” in these markets. Credit buyers should support their purchases with credible, scientifically sound claims regarding their use of credits. Purchasers and users should prioritize measurable and feasible emissions reductions within their own value chains and should not prioritize credit price and quantity at the expense of quality or engage in “greenwashing” that undercuts the decarbonization impact of VCMs. The use of credits should complement, not replace, measurable within-value-chain emissions reductions.

VCMs have reached an inflection point. The Biden-Harris Administration believes that VCMs can drive significant progress toward our climate goals if action is taken to support robust markets undergirded by high-integrity supply and demand. With these high standards in place, corporate buyers and others will be able to channel significant, necessary financial resources to combat climate change through VCMs. A need has emerged for leadership to guide the development of VCMs toward high-quality and high-efficacy decarbonization actions. The Biden-Harris Administration is stepping up to meet that need.

Biden-Harris Administration Actions to Develop Voluntary Carbon Markets

These newly released principles build on existing and ongoing efforts across the Biden-Harris Administration to encourage the development of high-integrity voluntary carbon markets and to put in place the necessary incentives and guardrails for this market to reach its potential. These include:

  • Creating New Climate Opportunities for America’s Farmers and Forest Landowners. Today, The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register asking for public input relating to the protocols used in VCMs. This RFI is USDA’s next step in implementing the Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Program as part of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. In February 2024, USDA announced its intent to establish the program, which will help lower barriers to market participation and enable farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners to participate in voluntary carbon markets by helping to identify high-integrity protocols for carbon credit generation that are designed to ensure consistency, effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency. The program will connect farmers, ranchers and private landowners with resources on trusted third-party verifiers and technical assistance providers. This announcement followed a previous report by the USDA, The General Assessment of the Role of Agriculture and Forestry in the U.S. Carbon Markets , which described how voluntary carbon markets can serve as an opportunity for farmers and forest landowners to reduce emissions. In addition to USDA AMS’s work to implement the Growing Climate Solutions Act, USDA’s Forest Service recently announced $145 million inawards under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to underserved and small- acreage forest landowners to address climate change, while also supporting rural economies and maintaining land ownership for future generations through participation in VCMs.
  • Conducting First-of-its-kind Credit Purchases. Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the semifinalists for its $35 million Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize whereby DOE will purchase carbon removal credits directly from sellers on a competitive basis. The Prize will support technologies that remove carbon emissions directly from the atmosphere, including direct air capture with storage, biomass with carbon removal and storage, enhanced weathering and mineralization, and planned or managed carbon sinks. These prizes support technology advancement for decarbonization with a focus on incorporating environmental justice, community benefits planning and engagement, equity, and workforce development. To complement this effort, the Department of Energy also issued a notice of intent for a Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Challenge, which proposes to create a public leaderboard for voluntary carbon removal purchases while helping to connect buyers and sellers.
  • Advancing Innovation in Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Technology. Aside from direct support for voluntary carbon markets, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in programs that will accelerate the development and deployment of critical carbon removal technologies that will help us reach net zero. For example, DOE’s Carbon Negative Shot pilot program provides $100 million in grants for small projects that demonstrate and scale solutions like biomass carbon removal and storage and small mineralization pilots, complementing other funding programs for small marine CDR and direct air capture pilots. DOE’s Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program invests up to $3.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in demonstration projects that aim to help direct air capture technology achieve commercial viability at scale while delivering community benefits. Coupled with DOE funding to advance monitoring, measurement, reporting, and verification technology and protocols and Department of the Treasury implementation of the expanded 45Q tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. is making comprehensive investments in CDR that will enable more supply of high- quality carbon credits in the future.
  • Leading International Standards Setting. Several U.S. departments and agencies help lead the United States’ participation in international standard-setting efforts that help shape the quality of activities and credits that often find a home in VCMs. The Department of Transportation and Department of State co-lead the United States’ participation in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a global effort to reduce aviation-related emissions. The Department of State works bilaterally and with international partners and stakeholders to recognize and promote best practice in carbon credit market standard-setting—for example, developing the G7’s Principles for High-Integrity Carbon Markets and leading the United States’ engagement on designing the Paris Agreement’s Article 6.4 Crediting Mechanism . The U.S. government has also supported a number of initiatives housed at the World Bank that support the development of standards for jurisdictional crediting programs, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the Initiative for Sustainable ForestLandscapes, and the United States is the first contributor to the new SCALE trust fund.
  • Supporting International Market Development. The U.S. government is engaged in a number of efforts to support the development of high-integrity VCMs in international markets, including in developing countries, and to provide technical and financial assistance to credit-generating projects and programs in those countries. The State Department helped found and continues to coordinate the U.S. government’s participation in the LEAF Coalition , the largest public-private VCM effort, which uses jurisdictional-scale approaches to help end tropical deforestation. The State Department is also a founding partner and coordinates U.S. government participation in the Energy Transition Accelerator, which is focused on sector-wide approaches to accelerate just energy transitions in developing markets. USAID also has a number of programs that offer financial aid and technical assistance to projects and programs seeking to generate carbon credits in developing markets, ensuring projects are held to the highest standards of transparency, integrity, reliability, safety, and results and that they fairly benefit Indigenous Peoples and local communities. This work includes the Acorn Carbon Fund, which mobilizes $100 million to unlock access to carbon markets and build the climate resilience of smallholder farmers, and supporting high-integrity carbon market development in a number of developing countries. In addition, the Department of the Treasury is working with international partners, bilaterally and in multilateral forums like the G20 Finance Track, to promote high-integrity VCMs globally. This includes initiating the first multilateral finance ministry discussion about the role of VCMs as part of last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
  • Providing Clear Guidance to Financial Institutions Supporting the Transition to Net Zero. In September 2023, the Department of the Treasury released its Principles for Net- Zero Financing and Investment to support the development and execution of robust net- zero commitments and transition plans. Later this year, Treasury will host a dialogue on accelerating the deployment of transition finance and a forum on further improving market integrity in VCMs.
  • Enhancing Measuring, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MMRV) The Biden-Harris Administration is also undertaking a whole-of-government effort to enhance our ability to measure and monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a critical function underpinning the scientific integrity and atmospheric impact of credited activities. In November 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System , which seeks to enhance coordination and integration of GHG measurement, modeling, and data efforts to provide actionable GHG information. As part of implementation of the National Strategy, federal departments and agencies such as DOE, USDA, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are engaging in collaborative efforts to develop, test, and deploy technologies and other capabilities to measure, monitor, and better understand GHG emissions.
  • Advancing Market Integrity and Protecting Against Fraud and Abuse. U.S. regulatory agencies are helping to build high-integrity VCMs by promoting the integrity of these markets. For example, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed new guidance at COP28 to outline factors that derivatives exchanges may consider when listing voluntary carbon credit derivative contracts to promote the integrity, transparency, and liquidity of these developing markets. Earlier in 2023, the CFTC issued a whistleblower alert to inform the American public of how to identify and report potential Commodity Exchange Act violations connected to fraud and manipulation in voluntary carbon credit spot markets and the related derivative markets. The CFTC also stood up a new Environmental Fraud Task Force to address fraudulent activity and bad actors in these carbon markets. Internationally, the CFTC has also promoted the integrity of the VCMs by Co-Chairing the Carbon Markets Workstream of the International Organization of Securities Commission’s Sustainable Finance Task Force, which recently published a consultation on 21 good practices for regulatory authorities to consider in structuring sound, well-functioning VCMs.
  • Taking a Whole-of-Government Approach to Coordinate Action. To coordinate the above actions and others across the Administration, the White House has stood up an interagency Task Force on Voluntary Carbon Markets. This group, comprising officials from across federal agencies and offices, will ensure there is a coordinated, government- wide approach to address the challenges and opportunities in this market and support the development of high-integrity VCMs.

The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that the future of VCMs and their ability to effectively address climate change depends on a well-functioning market that links a supply of high-integrity credits to high-integrity demand from credible buyers. Today’s new statement and principles underscore a commitment to ensuring that VCMs fulfill their intended purpose to drive private capital toward innovative technological and nature-based solutions, preserve and protect natural ecosystems and lands, and support the United States and our international partners in our collective efforts to meet our ambitious climate goals.

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Why Google is (probably) stuck giving out AI answers that may or may not be right

quality of thesis statement

Peter Kafka , Chief Correspondent covering media and technology

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  • Google is giving users bad AI-generated answers . Again.
  • In February, when this happened before, Google shelved the faulty AI product behind the results.
  • But this time feels different — Google has basically committed to this idea as the future of the company.

Insider Today

Step 1: Google rolls out a new AI-powered product.

Step 2: Users quickly find the product's flaws and point them out with social-media posts, which become news stories.

Step 3: Google admits that its new AI-powered product is fundamentally flawed and puts it on ice.

Yup, we've seen this drill before. Back in February, Google was shamed into shelving an image-generating feature for its AI chatbot .

Now we are two steps into the same process: Google is widely rolling out its AI Overview feature , which replaces its usual answer to search queries — a list of links to sites where you might find the actual answer you want — with an AI-generated answer that tries to summarize the content on those sites. And people are finding examples of Google generating answers that are wrong and sometimes comically bad.

Which is why my colleague Katie Notopoulos constructed and then ate a pizza made with glue . (Bless you, Katie! This is truly heroic stuff, and I hope you spend your hazard pay wisely. (We do get hazard pay, right?))

So here's the two-trillion-dollar question: Is Google going to have to backtrack on this one, too?

No, says Google, which argues that the dumb answers it has been generating are few and far between. And that most people don't know or care about search answers that tell people how many rocks to eat . Or that you should stare into the sun for five to 15 minutes — unless you have darker skin, in which case you can go for twice as long.

Google also says it's swatting down Bad Answers as they crop up. Particularly ones where someone smart enough to use a phone but stupid enough to follow those answers could harm themselves.

Here's the formal version of that answer, via Google comms person Lara Levin:

Related stories

"The vast majority of AI Overviews provide high quality information, with links to dig deeper on the web. Many of the examples we've seen have been uncommon queries, and we've also seen examples that were doctored or that we couldn't reproduce. We conducted extensive testing before launching this new experience, and as with other features we've launched in Search, we appreciate the feedback. We're taking swift action where appropriate under our content policies, and using these examples to develop broader improvements to our systems, some of which have already started to roll out."

But like I've said. We've seen a version of this story before. What happens if people keep finding Bad Answers on Google and Google can't whac-a-mole them fast enough? And, crucially, what if regular people, people who don't spend time reading or talking about tech news, start to hear about Google's Bad And Potentially Dangerous Answers?

Because that would be a really, really big problem. Google does a lot of different things, but the reason it's worth more than $2 trillion is still its two core products: search, and the ads that it generates alongside search results. And if people — normal people — lose confidence in Google as a search/answer machine …

Well, that would be a real problem.

Privately, Googlers are doubling down on the notion that these Bad Answers really are fringe problems. And that, unlike with its "woke Google" problem from a few months ago — where there really was a problem with the model Google was using to create images — that's not the case here. Google never gets things 100% correct (they say even more quietly) because, in the end, it's still just relying on what people publish on the internet. It's just that some people are paying a lot more attention right now because there's a new thing to pay attention to.

I'm willing to believe that answer: I've been seeing Google's AI answers in my search results for about a month , and they're generally fine.

But not every time .

And the thing that's very different between the old Google results and the new ones is the responsibility and authority Google is shouldering. In the past, Google was telling you somebody else could answer your question. Now Google is answering your question.

It's the difference between me handing you a map and me giving you directions that will send your car barreling over a cliff.

You could argue, as my 15-year-old son does (we are weird people so we talk about this stuff at home), that Google shouldn't be replacing its perfectly fine old-timey search results with AI-generated answers. If people wanted AI-generated answers, they'd go to ChatGPT, right?

But of course, people going to ChatGPT is what Google is worried about. Which is why it's making this major pivot — to disrupt itself before ChatGPT or other AI engines do.

You can argue that it's moving too fast, or too sloppily, or whatever. But it's hard to imagine Google walking this one back now.

On February 28, Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, joined 31 other media groups and filed a $2.3 billion suit against Google in Dutch court, alleging losses suffered due to the company's advertising practices.

Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, has a global deal to allow OpenAI to train its models on its media brands' reporting.

Watch: What is ChatGPT, and should we be afraid of AI chatbots?

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  1. English 1AS Workshop: Thesis Statements & Support

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  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Placement of the thesis statement. Step 1: Start with a question. Step 2: Write your initial answer. Step 3: Develop your answer. Step 4: Refine your thesis statement. Types of thesis statements. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

  2. Developing a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper. Is generally located near the end ...

  3. Thesis Statements

    A thesis statement: tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself.

  4. Developing A Thesis

    Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction.

  5. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

    Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing. Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and ...

  6. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  7. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One 1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

  8. What Is a Thesis?

    A thesis statement is a very common component of an essay, particularly in the humanities. It usually comprises 1 or 2 sentences in the introduction of your essay, and should clearly and concisely summarize the central points of your academic essay. A thesis is a long-form piece of academic writing, often taking more than a full semester to ...

  9. 2.5 Writing Thesis Statements

    Working Thesis Statements. A strong thesis statement must have the following qualities: It must be arguable. A thesis statement must state a point of view or judgment about a topic. An established fact is not considered arguable. It must be supportable. The thesis statement must contain a point of view that can be supported with evidence ...

  10. Academic Guides: Writing a Paper: Thesis Statements

    The thesis statement is the brief articulation of your paper's central argument and purpose. You might hear it referred to as simply a "thesis." Every scholarly paper should have a thesis statement, and strong thesis statements are concise, specific, and arguable. Concise means the thesis is short: perhaps one or two sentences for a shorter paper.

  11. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  12. What is a thesis

    A thesis is an in-depth research study that identifies a particular topic of inquiry and presents a clear argument or perspective about that topic using evidence and logic. Writing a thesis showcases your ability of critical thinking, gathering evidence, and making a compelling argument. Integral to these competencies is thorough research ...

  13. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

    Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences. Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone ...

  14. 9.1 Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement

    Weak thesis statement: The life of Abraham Lincoln was long and challenging. Exercise 2. Read the following thesis statements. On a separate piece of paper, identify each as weak or strong. For those that are weak, list the reasons why. Then revise the weak statements so that they conform to the requirements of a strong thesis.

  15. How to write a thesis statement for a research paper

    1. Start with a question. A good thesis statement should be an answer to a research question. Start by asking a question about your topic that you want to address in your paper. This will help you focus your research and give your paper direction. The thesis statement should be a concise answer to this question.

  16. Tips for Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

    Thesis statements are essentially the driving force and backbone of an academic essay. Without a thesis statement, your essay will lack a cohesive argument and will read more like a list of statistics, quotations or connecting ideas. Before completing your thesis statement, ask yourself:

  17. How to Write a Thesis: A Guide for Master's Students

    Tip #2: Begin Work on the Thesis Statement and Break Up the Thesis into Manageable Sections. After selecting an appropriate topic and developing a central research question for the thesis statement, it is then necessary to apply the research and writing skills you have learned throughout your degree program.

  18. How to Write a Good Thesis: Tips, Suggestions, and Examples

    Look for common themes and connections that seem to pop up. Then, draft a working thesis based on the facts, themes, and evidence that you discover during your research. [4] Example: GMOs provide a high volume of delicious, long-lasting food, making them an essential service to society.

  19. Strong Thesis Statements

    This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

  20. 25 Thesis Statement Examples (2024)

    Strong Thesis Statement Examples. 1. School Uniforms. "Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.". Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate. Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons.

  21. 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

    What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute. An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic. Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's ...

  22. Governor Cooper Announces Ross Stores to Build New Distribution Center

    Retailer, Ross Stores, Inc. ("Ross") will create 852 jobs in Randolph County, Governor Cooper announced today. The company will invest $450 million to build a Southeastern region distribution center in the City of Randleman. "We are delighted to welcome Ross Stores to Randolph County," said Governor Cooper. "Nationally recognized brands like Ross will appreciate the quality of life ...

  23. Biden-Harris Administration Releases Joint Policy Statement and

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi announced the publication of a Joint Statement of Policy and new Principles for ...

  24. Officer in Scottie Scheffler case thanks the golfer but takes aim ...

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( WAVE /Gray News) -The officer at the center of the case against pro golfer Scottie Scheffler issued his statement after the charges against Scheffler were dismissed. In the ...

  25. What is the Modern Slavery Act Australia and how to comply?

    Monash University published a research report in 2022 reviewing modern slavery statements from the ASX 100, a good resource on what to do and what not to do for companies preparing or revising their statements. Breaking down disclosure strengths and weaknesses, quality of responses and areas for improvement provides well researched insights on ...

  26. Federal Register :: Statement of Organization, Functions, and

    I. Introduction. Part D, Chapter D-B, (Food and Drug Administration), the Statement of Organization, Functions and Delegations of Authority for the Department of Health and Human Services ( 35 FR 3685, February 25, 1970, 60 FR 56606, November 9, 1995, 64 FR 36361, July 6, 1999, 72 FR 50112, August 30, 2007, 74 FR 41713, August 18, 2009, 76 FR ...

  27. FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile First Quarter 2024

    The banking industry's net income of $64.2 billion in the first quarter was an increase of 79.5 percent from the prior quarter, mainly due to lower expense related to the FDIC special assessment and lower goodwill writedowns. Otherwise, net income in the first quarter would have increased 14.3 percent from the prior quarter as higher ...

  28. FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Principles for

    A need has emerged for leadership to guide the development of VCMs toward high-quality and high-efficacy decarbonization actions. The Biden-Harris Administration is stepping up to meet that need.

  29. Will Google Have to Roll Back Its AI Answers?

    "The vast majority of AI Overviews provide high quality information, with links to dig deeper on the web. Many of the examples we've seen have been uncommon queries, and we've also seen examples ...