The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.

  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.

  • Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper.

  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.

  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you're in doubt whether you need one.