Use the chart above to make your own thesis statements. You can mix and match the different columns. Here are a variety of examples for different kinds of essays:
Cause: Why are Americans rapidly becoming more obese? Some people think that the cause of rising obesity is lack of individual self-control; however, the truth is that the growing waistlines are caused by corporations that secretly add sugar to make foods more addictive; technology which has made people less active, and more tied to their work; and portions sizes in restaurants, which have ingrained overeating into our habits.
Evaluation: Does Recycling really make a difference? Although it is true that one person's recycling may not make much of a difference, in fact, when all of us join together we can make a difference because when we all recycle: less waste goes into landfills, reusing things becomes more natural, and people get into better habits.
Explaining: How does playing a sport affect young people? Most people would say that learning how to play is the most important thing children get from a sport. In fact, children who play sports gain even more from learning about teamwork, realizing they must overcome defeat, and accepting their own place on a team.
Argument: Should parents be concerned if their children are obsessed with horror movies? Although many people scoff at the idea of movies as really influencing our behavior, in reality, parents need to be concerned about what their children are watching because children often can't tell reality from fiction, violent images desensitize us to real violence, and kids who watch violence obsessively may be exhibiting signs of deeper emotional problems.
Expository: Is there only one way to write a great thesis statement? Although this article might make you think that there is only one perfect thesis statement method, in fact, you can write good thesis statements in several different ways; however, by following the method described here you will learn an easy way to write a complex thesis idea that will not only impress your instructor but will also help you to write your essay easily.
Traditional Academic Essays In Three Parts
Part I: The Introduction
An introduction is usually the first paragraph of your academic essay. If you’re writing a long essay, you might need 2 or 3 paragraphs to introduce your topic to your reader. A good introduction does 2 things:
- Gets the reader’s attention. You can get a reader’s attention by telling a story, providing a statistic, pointing out something strange or interesting, providing and discussing an interesting quote, etc. Be interesting and find some original angle via which to engage others in your topic.
- Provides a specific and debatable thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually just one sentence long, but it might be longer—even a whole paragraph—if the essay you’re writing is long. A good thesis statement makes a debatable point, meaning a point someone might disagree with and argue against. It also serves as a roadmap for what you argue in your paper.
Part II: The Body Paragraphs
Body paragraphs help you prove your thesis and move you along a compelling trajectory from your introduction to your conclusion. If your thesis is a simple one, you might not need a lot of body paragraphs to prove it. If it’s more complicated, you’ll need more body paragraphs. An easy way to remember the parts of a body paragraph is to think of them as the MEAT of your essay:
Main Idea. The part of a topic sentence that states the main idea of the body paragraph. All of the sentences in the paragraph connect to it. Keep in mind that main ideas are…
- like labels. They appear in the first sentence of the paragraph and tell your reader what’s inside the paragraph.
- arguable. They’re not statements of fact; they’re debatable points that you prove with evidence.
- focused. Make a specific point in each paragraph and then prove that point.
Evidence.The parts of a paragraph that prove the main idea. You might include different types of evidence in different sentences. Keep in mind that different disciplines have different ideas about what counts as evidence and they adhere to different citation styles. Examples of evidence include…
- quotations and/or paraphrases from sources.
- facts, e.g. statistics or findings from studies you’ve conducted.
- narratives and/or descriptions, e.g. of your own experiences.
Analysis.The parts of a paragraph that explain the evidence. Make sure you tie the evidence you provide back to the paragraph’s main idea. In other words, discuss the evidence.
Transition.The part of a paragraph that helps you move fluidly from the last paragraph. Transitions appear in topic sentences along with main ideas, and they look both backward and forward in order to help you connect your ideas for your reader. Don’t end paragraphs with transitions; start with them.
Keep in mind that MEAT does not occur in that order. The “Transition” and the “Main Idea” often combine to form the first sentence—the topic sentence—and then paragraphs contain multiple sentences of evidence and analysis. For example, a paragraph might look like this: TM. E. E. A. E. E. A. A.
Part III: The Conclusion
A conclusion is the last paragraph of your essay, or, if you’re writing a really long essay, you might need 2 or 3 paragraphs to conclude. A conclusion typically does one of two things—or, of course, it can do both:
- Summarizes the argument. Some instructors expect you not to say anything new in your conclusion. They just want you to restate your main points. Especially if you’ve made a long and complicated argument, it’s useful to restate your main points for your reader by the time you’ve gotten to your conclusion. If you opt to do so, keep in mind that you should use different language than you used in your introduction and your body paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion shouldn’t be the same.
- Explains the significance of the argument. Some instructors want you to avoid restating your main points; they instead want you to explain your argument’s significance. In other words, they want you to answer the “so what” question by giving your reader a clearer sense of why your argument matters.
- For example, your argument might be significant to studies of a certain time period.
- Alternately, it might be significant to a certain geographical region.
- Alternately still, it might influence how your readers think about the future. You might even opt to speculate about the future and/or call your readers to action in your conclusion.
Handout by Dr. Liliana Naydan. Do not reproduce without permission.