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Academic Challenge - How to write a kick a$$ thesis statement

Updated on June 2, 2011

Better academic papers

So you've got writer's block. But that term paper is due tomorrow. No seriously, it is due in a few hours, but you will turn it in late tomorrow and take the hit for points taken off. You can't afford to lose points, you are barely passing this course. You must be wondering: how did I get into this mess, why am I always late, and why can't I just find a thesis statement and write the paper?

Help is on the way. You have all of the tools you need to write that term paper, you just don't know it yet. There are some tips, tricks and secrets to writing a kick-a$$ term paper, you just need some strategy and a little Yankee ingenuity.

Let's start with giving you a little credit. If you can read and you can write, you can develop a suitable term paper. Even if you have learning disabilities or writing challenges, you are still going to be able to write a term paper effectively. How do I know this (I don't even know you)? Well, can you talk? If you can talk, you can write. If you can write you can be taught to write better. And if you can be taught to improve your writing, you are well on your way to finishing this assingment on time, creating the next one on time, and getting better grades going forward.

So, how do you get a killer thesis statement anyway? Not so fast. You need to understand what the thesis statement is and what purpose it really serves. The thesis statement is arguably the most important sentence in the entire paper. Some feel the conclusion is the most important part of the paper, others believe the abstract tells the point of the paper. Wrong-o. The thesis tells the point of the paper, period. The thesis statement is the road map for the paper, forget that it is the entire road itself. How do you know where you are going without a map, or without a road? Well, the short answer is, you don't have a clue without a roadmap or a road.

Imagine you are on a trip. You are so excited, it is going to be so much fun. Wait, where are you going? Just anywhere, you say? Well, then will you be satisfied to just drive around the block in circles, or do you really want to get out and enjoy a satisfying adventure? It is certainly up to you.

The thesis statement tells the reader that you are talking about "x" not "y," this and not that, this specifically and not that in general. For example, the thesis statement of "Women in the Civil War" may have some meaning, but is too broad to be much good to anyone, especially your professor, teacher or instructor. Women of the Civil War, hmm, let's see: women who lived during the Civil War times, or died during that time, or owned land, or worked behind the lines, or were nurses, or were children growing up during that time, or were slaves or whatever are the parameters - they are not outlined so no one knows which women it is referring to at this point. Yes, finding a good thesis statement is a lot like playing "Jeapordy," it has to be framed with a definite question in mind.

So back to our example of the women of the Civil War, let's narrow this to the women of color in the Civil War, such as slaves. Did they support one side or the other? Did the soldiers treat them differently depending on which side they fought on? Yes and Yes. This could be a decent thesis statement if re-written like this: The women of the Civil War who were slaves contributed to the war effort by supporting the North.

Okay, can this be more specific? The northern soldiers in the Civil War were from Union states, and the southern soldiers were Confederates. Let's add this distinction to the thesis statement so far, so that the reader is crystal clear of our intentions. The women of the Civil War who were slaves contributed to the war effort by supporting the North and Union soldiers with information on the strategies and whereabouts of the Confederate soldiers which saved many lives in countless battles during that war.

This so much better, we are on a roll right now. We are coming to the best bit, but not yet. You can add to the women to tell that they were African American, this makes it clear of their position and it can be added that if they were caught by the South, they would be sold again into slavery, even if they were previously free. Let's add this also. The African American women who were slaves during the Civil War, contributed to the war effort by supporting the North and Union soldiers by offering secret information they discovered regarding the strategies and whereabouts of the Confederate soldiers, and this information in the hands of the Union worked to save many lives in countless battles during that war.

Awesome! I really know where this thesis statement is going. I bolded out the changes so you could see what was moved around in the sentence. By the way, this IS one long sentence, but that is okay. In looking at the thesis statement, the roadmap is clear, but it is missing one important element. This is the "who cares" element. Every thesis statement is answering this question: Who cares? When you write a thesis statement, your instructor will tell you if it needs to be put in the form of a question or not. If it does, then formulate it as you would on a game show requiring a question, make it fun. Here is our thesis statement as a question, and answering the "who cares" question as well.

Research shows that the African American women who were slaves during the Civil War, contributed to the war effort by supporting the North and Union soldiers by offering secret information they discovered regarding the strategies and whereabouts of the Confederate soldiers, but did this information in the hands of the Union work to save many lives in countless battles during that war?

I underlined and bolded out the changes for you to see. We added the "Research shows" but you could have said, "studies show" or "eyewitness accounts showed" just as easily IF you could find this information on the web to support your claims. Well, who cares? It is an interesting topic, so maybe it did make a difference that these women did help the soldiers. Let's add the last bit right now. See if you can find it.

Research shows that the African American women (of all ages) who were slaves during the Civil War, contributed to the war effort by supporting the North and Union soldiers (who supported them by honoring their free status and refusing to re-sell them back into slavery if captured) when the women routinely offered the secret information they discovered regarding the strategies and whereabouts of the Confederate soldiers, and this information in the hands of the Union worked to save many lives in countless battles during that war.

Bravo! I have to say, this is a comprehensive thesis statement, I know exactly where you are going to go with this one. You can now research regarding these key words included in the sentence to find resources for your paper: Tags - slavery, African American, women, Union soldiers, strategy, freed slaves, Confederate soldiers, secret information, slaves helping Union soldiers, Confederates reselling slaves back into slavery, underground railroad and runaway slaves.

I hope this example helps you the next time you need to find a thesis statement fast. You see, there is no need for writer's block. About the talking reference, if you have ever told a joke to friends, you are actually setting up a thesis statement. You are getting their attention by telling part of the story, using persuasion to keep their attention with something funny or incredible, then socking it to them with a hilarous punch line. Voila, you have just also spoken a type of thesis statement. At the end of the story, you get the "why did that happen," or our famous "who cares" and the audience of your friends will be hanging on every word until you get to the punch line. Your professor/teacher/instructor will be hanging on every last word too of your well written term paper, since the thesis statement is so solid, so perfect, so wonderful to behold (well, I am getting carried away here).

Remember, there is no such thing as "writer's block." If you can think, talk or dream, you can write on any topic, so just sit down, calm down and start writing down ideas for that next great thesis statement.

Comments

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    • chileandivan profile imageAUTHOR

      chileandivan 

      3 years ago

      Hey thanks, sorry for late reply.

    • managementpaper profile image

      Abhishek Lal 

      3 years ago

      Nice post! Keep Writing Thanks!

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