Thesis statements | BSCTC

Thesis statements

A working thesis statement is a brief statement of your topic and your opinion on it. An effective thesis statement has three essential features. It will 

identify a specific, narrow topic

present a clear opinion on the topic.

establish a tone appropriate to the topic, purpose, and audience. 

The thesis is your specific opinion that will drive your paper. It will need to be your opinion (claim), and the whole paper will be finding support to back up the claim.  

A well-written thesis statement will prevent confusion by clarifying for readers your paper’s central idea. 

Ineffective thesis statements 

Basements are places to store possessions. (This topic lacks an opinion; it merely states a fact.)

Hens make weird pets. (This narrowed topic contains an opinion, but it is vague, is stated too informally, and fails to qualify its criticism for readers who admire hens.) 

Effective thesis statement 

To decrease the heavy costs, including that of loss of lives, more awareness needs to be raised about the high number of copper thefts across the nation and here in Appalachia, and those convicted should face heftier punishment.

Implied thesis statement

You may choose to omit a thesis statement if you build meaning implicitly through examples, details, and/or descriptions, leaving it to the readers to formulate the meaning.  This method usually works best for personal descriptive or narrative papers. For most writing, the thesis will help both you and your audience follow the organization and understand the development of ideas.


Perrin, Robert. The Beacon Handbook. 4th ed. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.