How to formulate a thesis

Writing Tutorial

How to formulate a thesis

Intro

A thesis is defined by Merriam- Webster dictionary as “a position or proposition that a person (such as a candidate for scholastic honors) advances and offers to maintain by argument.” Simply put, a thesis is a statement you make that the one who made said statement will aim to prove. A thesis is arguably the most important part of any research paper or argumentative essay. It will provide the structure and purpose for your paper. The difference between any statement that can be proven and a thesis is that a thesis must be an opinion that can be argued for. This tutorial will show you the basics of how to formulate a great basic thesis for your academic endeavors!

Sample Problem

Let’s say you are taking an exam, like the SAT, where you must write an argumentative essay, and you must do so quickly, as it is a timed affair. Let’s also say that they give you this prompt to form your argumentative essay (and this prompt is a bit silly, so bare with me):
” You are a young entrepreneur in the gummy bear industry, and you work for a large company called “Gummy Yummy”. Due to recent disdain by the public for the color green after the recent Hulk movie failed to meet fans’ expectations, your company is losing money in sales on green gummy bears. Desperate, your boss is thinking of halting production of the green gummy bears altogether, but they have been quite profitable in the past, so he asks you for your opinion first. Please write a thesis and argumentative essay to explain why green gummy bears should or should not be discontinued, and how the company can recover from the loss of sales.”

Solution

First things first, figure out what the question is asking you to do- make sure you carefully read ALL of the question before you do anything else. Here is the spark notes version: You need to 1) decide whether it would be easier for you to argue for or against continuing production of green gummy bears, 2) figure out 2-3 points you could argue to support you decision, 3) organize that information into a thesis statement (not more than one sentence), and 4) structure your essay the way you structured you thesis.

For this example, you could argue either way, and your essay could be really great- that part isn’t so important. What is important is that you demonstrate some points to back it up immediately in the thesis statement. So, if one were to argue for continuing production, your supportive claims could be things as simple as ” it is more cost effective to continue production as opposed to discontinuing production”, or ” the tank in sales could be rectified by alternative advertising techniques”, or ” the green gummy bears are a part of the company tradition and identity, and discontinuing production would upset loyal customers”. These are very general and unrefined supportive claims, but they get the general idea across. For your thesis statement, you will need to condense these statements dramatically so that you can elaborate on them later. A thesis will start with the argument you are supporting in impersonal language: “The discontinuation of green gummy bears would be detrimental to the company due to…” OR “Green gummy bears should continue to be produced by the Gummy Yummy corporation in order to…”. Something along those lines. You will then add your super condensed supportive claims. At this juncture, it should look something like this: “The discontinuation of green gummy bears would be detrimental to the Gummy Yummy company due to the loss of loyal customers accustomed to the traditional gummy bear mix, it is more costly to transition production from green gummy bears to other colors, and it would be more cost effective to change advertisement strategies.” This has just made your argument, given some supportive points to back-up your claim, and those claims will be the three body paragraphs of your essay. You will take the first claim, “loss of loyal customers accustomed to the traditional gummy bear mix”, and use your first body paragraph explaining it. You will then go and take your second supportive claim, “it is more costly to transition production from green gummy bears to other colors” and use your second paragraph to support that claim. You will do the same with your third claim, write a conclusion, and BOOM! You have a well-structure, coherent essay with a solid thesis.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me, and I hope this helps!

Best Wishes,

Elisa



About The Author

Music Expert, Music Theory Tutor, Flute Expert, Sp
Hello! My name is Elisa Alfonso, and I hope I can help! I graduated from East Carolina University Summa Cum Laude with two Bachelor Degrees in December 2016; BA Hispanic Studies and BM Music Performance (Flute). During my undergraduate career, I had extensive research and writing experience, includi...
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