5 steps for writing a top-notch thesis statement

We here at Skim AI know how to say a lot with few words and that’s the goal of every thesis statement. But it’s not easy. Seriously...how do you break down the main idea of a five to six-page research paper into one sentence? Well, we’ve broken down that whole process into five easy steps just for you.

Before we jump in, it’s helpful to know that the thesis statement wasn’t designed to make your life harder. Learning how to craft a solid thesis will actually make writing the rest of your paper easier. Here’s how:

  • The thesis focuses your paper to help you avoid rambling and rabbit trails
  • It presents the topic and your position on the topic clearly
  • Having a solid thesis makes researching your topic easier

Now, let’s dive into how to write one that’ll take your paper from mediocre to exceptional.


1. Choose a topic you’re passionate about

There’s nothing worse than having to write a paper on a subject that’s of no interest to you. Even if it’s a hot topic trending in the news and on social media. If you don’t care, pick something else. The best topic is one that you’re both passionate about and familiar with. It’ll make writing your paper more enjoyable.

2. Turn your topic into a question

Once you’ve chosen a topic you’re interested in, turn it into a question. For example, let’s say “Climate Change” is your subject. A simple thesis question could be “How does climate change affect our health?” or “How does climate change affect minorities?”

3. Come up with as many answers to that question as you can think of

If you chose “How does climate change affect our health?” you must now answer that question. Remember, a proper thesis statement is comprised of a question and THREE answers. But don’t limit yourself to just three in this stage. Brainstorm as many answers as possible even if they seem silly. The best ideas can come from the strangest of places.


Examples: Climate change causes high temperatures leading to an increase of heat strokes and death. Climate change prevents plants from thriving leading to famines and starvation around the world. Climate change causes a rise in infectious disease due to high temperatures and heavy rains. Climate change causes wildfires which leads to loss of life, and long-term respiratory problems. Climate change causes mental health problems like depression and anxiety.


4. Out of those answers, choose three that resonate with you most

This is the most important stage in developing your thesis statement. You’ll spend the rest of your paper arguing these three answers, so select three you feel the most comfortable defending. This goes back to point number 1. Nothing will take the wind out of your sails faster than writing without conviction.


Lastly, rework those answers so that they’re direct and clearly state your view. To do this, avoid using words like “could”, “might”, “probably”, “maybe” or “possibly”. They’ll cast doubt on your argument in the mind of your reader.

5. Contrast your view with the majority view for added impact

This final step only applies to those whose view on their chosen topic differs from the majority view. Don’t shy away from this. Use it to your advantage. Contrasting your unique view with the common one will add intensity and impact to your paper. To achieve this, insert quick transitional phrases as seen below:


How does climate change affect our health? Although some would argue that the effects of climate change are external, in reality, climate change is linked to troubling health concerns like respiratory problems, mental health issues, and the rise of infectious diseases around the world due to increased temperatures and heavy rains.


This is a simple yet solid example of a thesis statement. It states the writer’s view clearly, contrasts it from the majority view for emphasis, and lets the reader know what to expect in the rest of the paper. But even better, it lets the writer know exactly what to research and the order in which to lay out their argument.


You’re ready to start writing.

The thesis statement is your roadmap—a guide through the rest of your paper that’ll help you avoid wrong turns, pot-holes, and ending up stranded on the side of the road. Following these steps will help you produce stronger research papers and help you avoid the stress and frustration so often associated with them.


Want more help with your writing? Check out how Skim AI can help you with your research.

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