Thesis Statements

Overview

One of the first tasks you need to perform when preparing to write a new paper is deciding what kind of argument you want to make. Even if the piece you are writing is explanatory or exploratory rather than making some kind of proposal or arguing about the cause of a thing, your project needs to have some kind of point that it is making. You need to give your reader a reason to read your writing and to care about your topic. Often the way we identify this essential point is by writing a working thesis statement, which may go on to serve as the primary claim of your paper (note that thesis, claim, main point and argument are used synonymously in this handout)but will also serve as your motivation to write the paper.

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Writing an Introduction to an Argument-Driven Essay

Writing an introduction should come near the end of the composition process, because it is difficult to introduce something well until you know exactly what it will be and how it will appear in its final form. When done at the right time, however, introductions are not difficult to craft effectively. One way to do so is to address your topic immediately, establish, common ground with your intended readership, point out a motivation or need for your argument and then state your principal claim. Introductions to academic essays frequently adhere to such a formula, which can be summarized as: Common Ground -> Problem Statement + Context -> Thesis Statement.

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