Friday, May 11, 2012

Crafting A Great Thesis Statement/Outline

Linus Pauling -
 American Chemist, College Professor,
Winner of Two Nobel Prizes
Most universities in the United States require that a student write a thesis or essay that accounts for a large percentage of the grade that will result in the student receiving their Masters Degree or Ph.D. 

The average length of a thesis is generally 200-300+ pages. The purpose of the thesis is to establish that the student has accrued a strong belief in something related to the field in which he/she plans to enter.

For example, for a Masters of Business Administration or MBA thesis, a student could write about organizational behavior or financial management.  Along with the thesis, a thesis statement and thesis outline are required as well.  Tips for creating a good thesis statement/outline are included in this article.

A thesis statement is much like the headline of a newspaper article.  The headline of a newspaper article is written in such a way to grab the onlooker’s attention.  The newspaper publisher is hoping that the onlooker will be engaged enough with that headline that they will go from being an onlooker to becoming an interested reader.

That’s the central idea behind writing a good thesis statement and putting together an effective thesis outline. The thesis statement is usually one sentence long.   When writing a good thesis statement, think about the main idea of the entire thesis.  Try to put that thought into one sentence that would really make the thesis sound interesting.

When constructing a thesis statement, it’s important for the student to consider the overall goal or objective of the thesis that they are planning to write.  If the topic of the thesis is something that the student is truly interested in or really has a passion for, it will be much easier to choose an appropriate thesis statement.

If you need help writing a thesis statement, doing some additional research on your topic will surely benefit the overall planning of the thesis as well as the thesis statement. 

Keep in mind, too, that there are different types of theses: analytical, expository, argumentative and possibly narrative.  So, the thesis statement needs to be worded in a way that fits the type of thesis being written.

The thesis outline is a brief summary of the thesis written in a special format that makes it easy to navigate through the thesis.  For example, the thesis may be broken down into main categories and then sub-categories.  The main categories may be listed with the Roman numerals I, II, III, etc. Each sub-category will be listed as A, B, C and so forth.

In a history thesis about the effect of World War II on the economy, the thesis outline may contain the main categories of:  I. Money Spent on War Efforts and II. How The War Affected The Job Market, and so on. 

For a finance thesis about Credit Card Spending, one of the main categories might be How Charges and Fees Affect a Budget and the sub-categories might be: A. Finance charges and their costs, B. Late fees escalate into trouble and C. How annual fees are structured.

The thesis statement/outline respectively should therefore be interesting and catchy and developed in a logical order, making it easy for the reader to follow.

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