A thesis statement is a claim (a belief) you are making about the way you think the world works. For example:
- the sun rises in the morning
- cats meow when they are hungry
- sharks kill swimmers
Because a theory is a belief, it can be contested by someone with a different theory. The way to test a theory is to conduct research (gather data) to verify the claim/s.
To conduct research is to have a question that needs answering. From a thesis statement we can create a research question to test the theory. A research question is based on 'cause and effect':
- Does the sun rise every morning?
- Cause: morning
- Effect: the sun rises
- morning causes the sun to rise
- Do cats meow when they are hungry?
- Cause = hunger
- Effect = meow
- hunger causes a cat to meow
- To what degree do sharks kill swimmers?
- Cause = sharks
- Effect = kill swimmers
- sharks cause death in swimmers
A thesis statement should emerge logically from the literature in the field you are investigating (otherwise it is an assertion, a claim with little merit).
- the earth's rotation gives the effect that the sun changes its location
- hunger can cause a cat to meow
- sharks can cause death in swimmers
- three environmental factors (list them) are known to cause X
- PREP your paragraphs
- Writing a structured paragraph
- Writing a literature review
- Writing a research proposal
Minto, B (1987) The Pyramid Principle: logic in writing and thinking, Pitman Publishing: London.