How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step

A thesis statement is an essential element of an essay or research paper. A clearly defined thesis statement elaborates on the stand of the writer and also gives direction to the paper. Research objectives usually justify the relevance of the research study. For this reason, a guide on how to write a thesis statement step by step is essential.

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A thesis statement is a brief statement with a writer’s opinion on the topic of discussion. The statement introduces the reader to what the paper is about. Consequently, the statement becomes the central part of the essay. Read on to find out how to write a thesis statement step by step.

The Basic Outline of a Paper

A paper or an essay contains four main parts: the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and the bibliography. The thesis statement appears in the introductory part of the article. A catchy introduction perfectly introduces a thesis statement. So, how do you write a good introduction? Read on to find out.


  1. General information on the topic: The introduction of a paper acts as a hook. A good introduction needs to grab the attention of the reader and make them more interested in reading your work. The introduction should give general information on the topic at hand and finally narrow down to the thesis statement.
  2. The thesis statement: A strong thesis statement is the heart of any paper. The statement indicates the writer’s opinion on the matter of discussion. Therefore, the whole essay or paper expounds on the view of the writer.

The body of the paper or essay:

The body of the essay is the main part of the paper. Here, the writer gives a detailed explanation of the topic of discussion. Pieces of supporting evidence are vital for backing up the claims or opinions of the researcher. The proofs could be in the form of statistics, facts, existing literature, or personal research. For a short essay or paper, the body should contain at least three well-put paragraphs. 


At the end of the paper, a writer should summarize the main ideas discussed within the body of the paper. The conclusion reinstates the thesis statement. The writer could also opt to give recommendations on how to improve the occurrence of events discussed in the paper. The commonly used word phrase that introduces a concluding paragraph is, ‘In conclusion…’


At the very end of the essay or report, the writer should denote the sources of information provided in the essay. Bibliography also refers to references. 

What Is a Thesis Statement in an Essay?

A final research paper or essay must have a thesis statement. It declares the main idea discussed throughout the paper. In an essay, the thesis is usually in the form of a statement, giving rise to the thesis statement. Therefore, a thesis statement in an essay becomes the central point of the paper. However, it is important to note that a thesis document is not a statement. The document is the whole report of the research study, submitted at the end of the study.

How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step

Thesis Statement Definition

A thesis statement in an essay paper or a report is a statement that reflects the main idea of the paper. The statement is always the central message of the essay. Furthermore, the statement captures the stand of the researcher or writer. The thesis statement combines the topic of the paper and the opinion of the writer.

Types of Thesis Statements

Based on the type of essay you are writing, there are three different types of thesis statements. They include:

  • Explanatory thesis statement

An explanatory thesis statement is also known as an expository thesis statement. The statement describes information on the topic of study. The paper usually relays descriptive information on the results of the study topic.

  • Argumentative thesis statement

An argumentative thesis statement gives a clear statement of the writer’s opinion on an arguable topic. In argumentative thesis statements, the statement is usually controversial as the reader might be having a different opinion from that of the writer. Subsequently, the body of the essay will try to persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s opinion.

  • Analytical thesis statement

The thesis statement of an analytical paper backs up the analysis of the topic of discussion. Analysis papers discuss how and why phenomena or events occur. The papers discuss the various dimensions of the 5Ws questions. They tackle questions on what? Who? Why? Where and when?

How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step

Many students are usually required to write thesis statements in their essay papers. However, most of them do not get guidance on the steps of writing the statements. Hence, this article gives a guide on how to write a thesis statement for beginners. Read on to find out how to write a thesis statement step by step.

How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step

  1. Choose a study topic

Before deciding what thesis you want to construct. You must decide on the item you wish to research. The topic is like the head of the paper, while the rest of the paper is like the body. There cannot be a body without a head controlling the functions of the body. Within the field of study, choose a study topic that you are comfortable working on. A complex study topic might get you stuck in the course of your study.

  1. Define the purpose of your research

The purpose statement is a statement that gives your paper an overall direction. It reflects on what you hope at achieving at the end of the study. The purpose statement gives the sole goal of the investigations. Therefore, with a head and a body, the statement becomes the backbone of the paper. The purpose of the study is what drives the researcher towards completing the study and achieving the desired results.  

  1. Formulate research questions

After understanding the purpose of your study, you will have to formulate study questions that will guide the research work. A research question is a question that a research study aims at answering. Using your research topic, formulate a list of research questions within your area of interest. Ensure that your questions are realistic. It would be pointless to form a question with no possible answers.

  1. Conduct research on the questions presented

The central part of the paper is the research work. Conducting the actual study will help you in answering the study questions presented. A comprehensive study will satisfy your urge to find the answers to the issues presented. Use efficient and reliable methodologies to investigate on your area of interest. More so, efficient data collecting methods will come in handy when conducting the investigations.

  1. Analyze the results of your investigations

Conducting a comprehensive study will give you the correct answers to your questions. Effective methods of collecting data will aid in answering the questions. After the data collection procedures, a researcher will need to analyze the findings of the research. The finding should reinstate the initial purpose of the study.

  1. Based on the results, formulate the thesis statement

At this point, the researcher is now ready to formulate the ultimate thesis statement. The thesis statement is essential in writing the paper. The researcher already has detailed information on the study topic based on the findings of the investigations. This way, it is easier to assert a stand on the study topic. Keep in mind that thesis statements make a firm stand about a topic and predict how the topic will develop.

What is the Importance of a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement relays the central message of the paper in one or two sentences. The main aim of the thesis statement is to give the stand of the writer of the paper. Moreover, the statement helps the writer to focus on the primary plan. Besides, it also guides the reader on the main idea of the paper.

How Do You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

It is essential to take note of the characteristics of a thesis statement to construct a good thesis statement. Below are the aspects of a good thesis statement.

  1. The statement should appear early in the essay, usually at the introductory part of your essay or paper
  2. Ensure that it appears at the end of the first (for shorter essays) or the second paragraph (for more extended essays)
  3. The statement should be reasonable
  4. Ensure that the statement is concise and specific
  5. The statement should be as clear as possible to avoid ambiguity. A clear statement makes it easier for the target audience to comprehend the discussion
  6. A good thesis statement should be arguable or debatable
  7. A strong thesis statement reveals the position of the writer concerning the topic (assertive)
  8. The statement should not be in the form of a question

How to Write a Thesis Statement Step by Step

Thesis Statement Outline

Having learned on the aspects of writing a good thesis statement, you should be able to differentiate between a strong thesis statement and a weak one. As much as one might know the basics of writing a good thesis statement, it might not be surprising that they may write a weak one.

There is no exact thesis statement formula. However, there are basic ‘rules’ that act as thesis statement formulas. The guide on how to write a thesis statement step by step goes hand in hand with these ‘rules.’ Study the following thesis statement examples for research papers to differentiate strong statements from weak ones.

1. A strong thesis statement makes a firm stand on the study topic

The thesis statements should assert the position of the researcher. Therefore, the writer of the paper must make a clear stand on the subject. A weak thesis statement makes a general observation of the study topic. A strong one, however, makes a specific observation of the issue. 

Study the examples below to differentiate between a strong and a weak topic based on the stands.

Example 1

There are some advantages and disadvantages of devolved governance.

Example 2

As much as devolution has promoted the opening up of marginalized areas in the country, it has more disadvantages than the advantages.

The above informative thesis statement examples relay the same message. However, case 1 is a weak thesis statement compared to the second example. First, there is no clear stand on the topic of discussion. Secondly, the phrase advantages and disadvantages are vague and quite general. On the other hand, case 2 makes a clear stand on the arguments of the writer. For this reason, the second case is a strong thesis statement. The statement is more specific than the first one.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies the discussion

A strong thesis statement should justify the point put across by the discussion. For instance, if you are writing on the impacts of devolved governance on the economy of a country, i.e., Kenya, the following statements could do.

Example 1

Devolution has positive impacts on the economy of Kenya.

Example 2

While most Kenyan citizens would view devolution as a threat to the current economy, small scale traders like myself, believe that devolution will significantly boost Kenya’s economy.

These two examples relay the message that devolution will positively impact the economy of Kenya. However, the delivery of the word is very different. Example 1 is merely an observation. It does not strongly justify the discussion posed by the topic.

The second example is a strong thesis because it shows how the writer’s experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. The statement indicates that the topic of discussion is controversial. Consequently, the reader will be interested in reading how you will support your claim. A strong thesis statement gives the reader an arguable platform.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea

A strong thesis statement should relay one main idea. However, in case the discussion has to communicate two concepts, the two must relate. For example, if you are writing on the various means in which the government could educate the citizens, you could use the following statements:

Example 1

The government needs to exploit the potential of the internet in educating citizens on important issues and also involve other media such as televisions and radios.

Example 2

Since most citizens can access the internet, the government can make use of all forms of digital communications communication in educating citizens on important matters.

The second thesis statement is more reliable than the first thesis statement. Even though there are two ideas, these ideas should smoothly integrate into one main thought.

4. A strong thesis statement is specific

The specificity of a thesis statement is essential in writing a good thesis statement.  A strong thesis statement specifies the main idea of the paper. If you are writing an essay on the causes and effects of hunger in a certain country, you could study the thesis statement examples below.

Example 1

There are several causes and effects of hunger in XYZ.

Example 2

There is the persistence of hunger in area XYZ because the infertile soils in the area make productivity hard to achieve.

Difference between a Purpose Statement and a Thesis Statement

  • A thesis statement is a statement that makes an assertion about the topic of discussion and foresees how the subject of debate develops. On the other hand, a purpose statement declares the scope, the purpose, and direction of the essay or paper. In other words, the purpose statement prepares the reader for the area of focus.
  • A thesis statement typically appears at the end of the introductory paragraph. However, a purpose statement may be in several sentences or even an entire section.
  • A thesis statement is usually narrow and specific, making a clear statement on the stand of the writer. Conversely, a purpose statement is accurate in elaborating on the requirements of the assignment. The thesis statement is unique to the opinion of the writer, while the purpose statement could be the same within a group of researchers.

Can a Thesis Statement Be a Question?

A thesis statement is a statement that relays the opinion of a writer.  Therefore, a thesis statement cannot be in the form of a question. It is a final judgment of the writer, based on their findings on the issue.

Can a Thesis Statement be a Fact?

A thesis statement in a paper cannot convey a fact. Remember, the statement communicates the findings of the writer on the topic of discussion. Consequently, the statement should relay the stand of the researcher.

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In conclusion, writing a thesis statement becomes an easy task with the right guidelines. The above guide on how to write a thesis statement step by step will come in handy when writing an essay. Therefore, make good use of the guide to contract ultimate thesis statements.

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