Marks of a Good Thesis Statement: Get It at the Start, be Specific and Take a Stand

When writing an essay, you may want to  inject a preview of what you are trying to say early on in your piece.   The “preview”  is called the thesis statement.  The thesis statement in one or two sentences is a “preview” of your message. After reading your thesis statement, your reader is encouraged to read further.

               With the “preview” concept in mind, there must be three attributes that would make a good thesis statement. First,  it should be at the start of the essay. Second, a good thesis statement should be concise and specific to enable  you to limit the scope of  your work.  A topic like “National Basketball Association” is too broad.   You may want to narrow the topic down to “Who is the greatest NBA player of all time?”  (Notice that this statement tries to answer a question.)  Third, a good thesis statement must make you take a stand.  A good thesis statement must express an argument where  you takes a position and invites  your readers to a discussion.  The question above  is good because it challenges you to take a stand.  Now,  you have to state categorically who  you believe is the greatest NBA player.


Mark of a Good Thesis Statement

                   The third attribute should pose a challenge for you.   You must make sure that  you are not just making a factual statement nor expressing an opinion without any basis.  Thus, sentences like “With 38,387 points, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the all-time NBA scoring leader”  is not a good thesis statement because  it is merely a statement of fact.  On the other hand, a statement like “Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the all-time greatest NBA player” may be better — but still not quite.  The statement is basically your own opinion.   It wouldn’t give the thesis help at all in representing the information that you’ve researched. You can still refine it to a sentence like “With six championships and six league Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards and top-scoring honors under his belt, Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the greatest all-time NBA player.” Now, that is a good thesis statement. It is specific and concise.  It  compels you to take a stand.  And with research,   your thesis statement definitely is not just a statement of fact or an expression of opinion.

                   With a good thesis statement,  you can now begin to cite more research on why  you believe Kareem Abdul Jabbar is the greatest NBA player.  Take note, however:   your work  won’t be that easy.   You still have to prove that the other players like Michael Jordan., Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, etc. do not deserve to be called as the “greatest NBA  player.”    You’ve invited your readers to a good discussion.

                   Get it at the start (somewhere in the  first paragraph).  Be specific  so as to enable you to cover just the topics you intend to write about.  Most importantly, take a stand, based on research that you have done.   All these will make your thesis statement an interesting  “preview.”  Your readers then will want to read your essay until the very end,