Writing a Thesis and Making an Argument - AhlynewsInfo

Writing a Thesis and Making an Argument

15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay

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Have you ever watched a great film trailer and thought, “I have to see that movie!”? A good trailer gives you the basic premise of the movie , shows you the highlights, and encourages you to want to see more.

A good thesis statement will accomplish the same thing. It gives readers an idea of the most important points of an essay, shows the highlights, and makes them want to read more.

It will also help keep you, the writer, from getting lost in a convoluted and directionless argument.

Most importantly, a good thesis statement makes a statement. After all, it’s called a thesis statement for a reason!

“This is an interesting statement!” you want your reader to think. “Let’s see if this author can convince me.”

This blog post will dissect the components of a good thesis statement and give you 15 thesis statement examples that you can use to inspire your next argumentative essay .

The Thesis Statement Dissected

Before I give you a blanket list of thesis statement examples, let’s run through what makes for a good thesis statement. I’ve distilled it down to four main components.

thesis statement examples

1. A good argumentative thesis is focused and not too broad.

It’s important to stay focused! Don’t try to argue an overly broad topic in your essay, or you’re going to feel confused and unsure about your direction and purpose.

Bad ExampleDon’t write:

“Eating fast food is bad and should be avoided.”

This statement is too general and would be nearly impossible for you to defend. It leaves a lot of big questions to answer. Is all fast food bad? Why is it bad? Who should avoid it? Why should anyone care?

Good exampleDo write:

“Americans should eliminate the regular consumption of fast food because a fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.”

In this example, I’ve narrowed my argument to the health consequences related to a diet of fast food . I’ve also chosen to focus on Americans rather than everyone in the universe.

2. A good argumentative thesis is centered on a debatable topic.

Back in the ‘80s, teens loved to say “that’s debatable” about claims they didn’t agree with (such as “you should clean your room” and “you shouldn’t go to that movie”).

thesis statement examplesThis age-old, neon-colored, bangle-wearing, peg-legged wisdom holds true today—in your thesis statement.

Bad Example

Don’t write:

“There are high numbers of homeless people living in Berkeley, California.”

No one can argue for or against this statement. It’s not debatable. It’s just a fact.

An argument over this non-debatable statement would go something like this:

“There are lots of homeless people in Berkeley.”

“Yes, there sure are a bunch of them out there.”

“Yup.”

As you can see, that’s not much of an argument.

Good exampleDo write:

“Homeless people in Berkeley should be given access to services—such as regular food donations, public restrooms, and camping facilities—because it would improve life for all inhabitants of the city.”

Now that’s debatable.

Opponents could also easily argue that homeless people in Berkeley already receive adequate services (“just look at all those luxurious sidewalks!”) or perhaps that they shouldn’t be entitled to services at all (“get a job, ya lazy loafers!”).

Interested in picking up a few more tips about debating issues and perfecting the art of persuasion? Read How to Write a Persuasive Essay That’s Convincing .

3. A good argumentative thesis picks a side.

Picking a side is pretty much the whole entire point of an argumentative essay.

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Picking a side is pretty much the whole entire point of an argumentative essay. Just as you can’t root for both the Yankees and the Mets, you can’t argue both sides of a topic in your thesis statement.

Learn more about the importance of picking sides by reading the post  The Secrets of a Strong Argumentative Essay .

Bad ExampleDon’t write:

“Secondhand smoke is bad and can cause heart disease and cancer; therefore, smoking should be outlawed in public places, but outlawing smoking is unfair to smokers so maybe non-smokers can just hold their breath or wear masks around smokers instead.”

A wishy-washy statement like this will make your reader scratch his head in puzzlement. Are you for smoking laws or against them? Yankees or Mets? Mets or Yankees?

Pick a side , and stick with it!

Then stick up for it.

Good exampleDo write:

“Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking and leads to a higher prevalence of cancer and heart disease; therefore, smoking in any public place should be banned.”

Pick a side, and stick with it! Then stick up for it.

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4. A good thesis makes claims that will be supported later in the paper.

As I explained in the post  How to Create a Powerful Argumentative Essay Outline , your claims make up a critical part of building the roadmap to your argument.

It’s important to first include a summary of your claims in your thesis statement. During the course of your essay, you will back each of your claims with well-researched evidence .

Bad ExampleDon’t write:

“Humans should relocate to Mars.”

This statement doesn’t include any supporting claims. Why should humans move to Mars? What are the benefits of moving to a planet without oxygen or trees?

Good exampleDo write:

“It is too late to save earth; therefore, humans should immediately set a date for their relocation to Mars, where they can, with proper planning, avoid issues of famine, war, and global warming.”

This statement includes some thought-provoking claims. The reader will wonder how the author plans to defend them. (“Famine, war, and global warming can be easily avoided on Mars? Go on…”)

thesis statement examples

Looking for even more help understanding the key components of a strong thesis statement? Check out these posts:

  • How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps
  • How to Turn a Good Thesis Statement Into a Great One
  • How to Make a Thesis Statement the Easy Way (Infographic)
  • How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Now that you have a better understanding of the all things thesis statement, here are 15 more thesis statement examples to inspire your next argumentative essay.

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15 Thesis Statement Examples

Below are 15 debatable, supportable, and focused thesis statements for you to learn from. Feel free to customize them for use in your own argumentative essay.

As you read the following examples, be careful not to use these thesis statements word-for-word. I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble if your teacher did a copy/find Google maneuver on you!

#1. Vaccinations should be mandatory

Inspired by this sample essay on vaccinations .

Vaccinations against diseases such as polio, rubella, and mumps should be mandatory for all U.S. children who wish to attend school as these vaccinations are critical to the control and eradication of deadly infectious diseases.

#2. Government surveillance is harmful

Inspired by this sample essay on government surveillance .

Government surveillance programs, such as PRISM, should be banned because they invade civil liberties, lead innocent people to suffer unfair punishments, and ultimately fail to protect the citizens that they are designed to safeguard.

#3. Organ donors should be financially compensated

Inspired by this sample essay on organ donation .

Organ donors should be financially compensated to increase the supply of available organs and, at the same time, to decrease profitable, illegal organ-harvesting activities in the black market.

#4. Schools are too dependent on technology

thesis statement examples

Inspired by this sample essay on technology dependence .

Schools’ dependence on technology has caused students to lose the ability to think independently, leading to a greater prevalence of mood disorders, memory loss, and loneliness.

#5. School officials should fight cyberbullying

Inspired by this sample essay on cyberbullying .

In order to improve the online behavior of students and decrease cyberbullying-related suicide attempts, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyberbullying .

#6. The U.S. media should update the depiction of traditional families

Inspired by this sample essay on families .

The U.S. media depicts the traditional family as comprising a mother, father, and children; however, this notion of the traditional family is outdated and can be harmful to children who look to this as the gold standard.

#7. Student loans should be forgiven

Inspired by this sample essay on student loans .

Crippling student debt is stifling the growth of the U.S. economy because it inhibits graduates from being able to spend money on consumer goods and home purchases.

#8. Marijuana should be legalized

Inspired by this sample essay on legalizing marijuana .

Marijuana has numerous medical applications, such as treating symptoms of epilepsy, cancer, and glaucoma. Legalizing the use of marijuana in the United States will greatly benefit the medical sector by giving physicians the ability to prescribe this life-saving drug.

#9. Foreign aid to Africa does not work

Inspired by this sample essay on foreign aid to Africa .

Sending foreign aid to African countries is doing more harm than good because the practice has caused African countries to become vulnerable to inflation, currency fluctuations, corruption, and civil unrest.

#10. China’s one-child policy led to unintended and negative consequences

Inspired by this sample essay on China’s one-child policy .

China’s one-child policy was intended to help control population growth; however, it led to unintended and negative consequences, such as a diminishing labor force, an aging population, the neglect of basic human rights, and an unbalanced gender population.

#11. Advertising to children is beneficial to the economy

thesis statement examples

Inspired by this sample essay on advertising to children .

Though some argue that advertising to children is harmful, it is actually a positive marketing technique that spurs economic growth.

#12. Most teen celebrities should not be role models for children

Inspired by this sample essay on teen celebrities as role models .

Teen celebrities often engage in inappropriate and sometimes illegal activities and thus should not be considered role models for children.

#13. The current welfare system promotes dependency

Inspired by this sample essay about the abuse of welfare .

The welfare system was designed to assist those in need; however, the current system does more harm than good by promoting government dependency.

Stuck On Your Essay?
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#14. Schools should start at a later time of day

Inspired by this sample essay about school start times .

Beginning the school day at a later time would stabilize students’ sleep patterns, improve students’ moods, and increase students’ academic success.

#15. Schools should distribute birth control to teens

Inspired by this sample essay about birth control distribution in schools .

Though some argue that distributing condoms to teens means that schools are encouraging sexual behavior, schools should distribute birth control to reduce teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Now…Turn Your Thesis Statement Into an Essay

Any one of these thesis statement examples will get you started on the road to writing an awesome argumentative essay, but if none of these thesis statements or topics are working for you, try one of these:

  • 70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight
  • 30 Argumentative Essay Ideas That Will Pick a Good Fight

Have a topic and thesis but need to put all of your ideas into essay format ? Try prewriting ,  outlining , or using a graphic organizer to help organize information.

Once your essay is finished, feel free to send it to a  Kibin editor , who can check for grammar errors, sentence structure issues, and of course, the strength of your thesis.

Good luck with your essay!

Stuck On Your Essay?
Try the Thesis Statement Builder
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Psst… 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .

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How to Write a Thesis Statement

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 . . .”

OR

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.

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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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History

Writing a Thesis and Making an Argument

Almost every assignment you complete for a history course will ask you to make an argument. Your instructors will often call this your “thesis” — your position on a subject.

What is an Argument?

An argument takes a stand on an issue. It seeks to persuade an audience of a point of view in much the same way that a lawyer argues a case in a court of law. It is NOT a description or a summary.

  • This is an argument: “This paper argues that the movie JFK is inaccurate in its portrayal of President Kennedy.”
  • This is not an argument: “In this paper, I will describe the portrayal of President Kennedy that is shown in the movie JFK.”
What is a Thesis?

A thesis statement is a sentence in which you state an argument about a topic and then describe, briefly, how you will prove your argument.

  • This is an argument, but not yet a thesis: “The movie ‘JFK’ inaccurately portrays President Kennedy.”
  • This is a thesis: “The movie ‘JFK’ inaccurately portrays President Kennedy because of the way it ignores Kennedy’s youth, his relationship with his father, and the findings of the Warren Commission.”

A thesis makes a specific statement to the reader about what you will be trying to argue. Your thesis can be a few sentences long, but should not be longer than a paragraph. Do not begin to state evidence or use examples in your thesis paragraph.

A Thesis Helps You and Your Reader

Your blueprint for writing:

  • Helps you determine your focus and clarify your ideas.
  • Provides a “hook” on which you can “hang” your topic sentences.
  • Can (and should) be revised as you further refine your evidence and arguments. New evidence often requires you to change your thesis.
  • Gives your paper a unified structure and point.

Your reader’s blueprint for reading:

  • Serves as a “map” to follow through your paper.
  • Keeps the reader focused on your argument.
  • Signals to the reader your main points.
  • Engages the reader in your argument.
Tips for Writing a Good Thesis
  • Find a Focus: Choose a thesis that explores an aspect of your topic that is important to you, or that allows you to say something new about your topic. For example, if your paper topic asks you to analyze women’s domestic labor during the early nineteenth century, you might decide to focus on the products they made from scratch at home.
  • Look for Pattern: After determining a general focus, go back and look more closely at your evidence. As you re-examine your evidence and identify patterns, you will develop your argument and some conclusions. For example, you might find that as industrialization increased, women made fewer textiles at home, but retained their butter and soap making tasks.
Strategies for Developing a Thesis Statement

Idea 1. If your paper assignment asks you to answer a specific question, turn the question into an assertion and give reasons for your opinion.

Assignment: How did domestic labor change between 1820 and 1860? Why were the changes in their work important for the growth of the United States?

Beginning thesis: Between 1820 and 1860 women’s domestic labor changed as women stopped producing home-made fabric, although they continued to sew their families’ clothes, as well as to produce butter and soap. With the cash women earned from the sale of their butter and soap they purchased ready-made cloth, which in turn, helped increase industrial production in the United States before the Civil War.

Idea 2. Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main Idea: Women’s labor in their homes during the first half of the nineteenth century contributed to the growth of the national economy.

Idea 3. Spend time “mulling over” your topic. Make a list of the ideas you want to include in the essay, then think about how to group them under several different headings. Often, you will see an organizational plan emerge from the sorting process.

Idea 4.Use a formula to develop a working thesis statement (which you will need to revise later). Here are a few examples:

  1. Although most readers of ______ have argued that ______, closer examination shows that ______.
  2.  ______ uses ______ and ______ to prove that ______.
  3. Phenomenon X is a result of the combination of ______, ______, and ______.

These formulas share two characteristics all thesis statements should have: they state an argument and they reveal how you will make that argument. They are not specific enough, however, and require more work.

Refine

As you work on your essay, your ideas will change and so will your thesis. Here are examples of weak and strong thesis statements.

  • Unspecific thesis: “Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong leader as First Lady.”  This thesis lacks an argument. Why was Eleanor Roosevelt a strong leader?
  • Specific thesis: “Eleanor Roosevelt recreated the role of the First Lady by her active political leadership in the Democratic Party, by lobbying for national legislation, and by fostering women’s leadership in the Democratic Party.”  The second thesis has an argument: Eleanor Roosevelt “recreated” the position of First Lady, and a three-part structure with which to demonstrate just how she remade the job.
  • Unspecific thesis: “At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced difficulty when they attempted to enter the legal profession.”  No historian could argue with this general statement and uninteresting thesis.
  • Specific thesis: “At the end of the nineteenth century French women lawyers experienced misogynist attacks from male lawyers when they attempted to enter the legal profession because male lawyers wanted to keep women out of judgeships.”  This thesis statement asserts that French male lawyers attacked French women lawyers because they feared women as judges, an intriguing and controversial point.
Making an Argument– Every Thesis Deserves Its Day in Court

You are the best (and only!) advocate for your thesis. Your thesis is defenseless without you to prove that its argument holds up under scrutiny. The jury (i.e., your reader) will expect you, as a good lawyer, to provide evidence to prove your thesis. To prove thesis statements on historical topics, what evidence can an able young lawyer use?

  • Primary sources: letters, diaries, government documents, an organization’s meeting minutes, newspapers.
  • Secondary sources: articles and books from your class that explain and interpret the historical event or person you are writing about, lecture notes, films or documentaries.

How can you use this evidence?

  • Make sure the examples you select from your available evidence address your thesis.
  • Use evidence that your reader will believe is credible. This means sifting and sorting your sources, looking for the clearest and fairest. Be sure to identify the biases and shortcomings of each piece of evidence for your reader.
  • Use evidence to avoid generalizations. If you assert that all women have been oppressed, what evidence can you use to support this? Using evidence works to check over-general statements.
  • Use evidence to address an opposing point of view. How do your sources give examples that refute another historian’s interpretation?

Remember — if in doubt, talk to your instructor.
Thanks to the web page of the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Writing Center for information used in this handout. See http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ for further information.

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