Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to legal counsel who is presenting an argument that is opening. It is in addition crucial to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or perhaps not guilty, and just how the lawyer intends to convince you. Readers of academic essays are just like jury members: before they usually have read too far, they want to understand what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. The reader should think, “This essay is going to try to convince me of something after reading your thesis statement. I’m not convinced yet, but I am interested to see how I may be.”
An thesis that is effective be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” A thesis is not an interest; nor is it a fact; neither is it an impression. “known reasons for the fall of communism” is a topic. “Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” is an undeniable fact known by educated people. “The fall of communism is the better thing that ever happened in Europe” is an opinion. (Superlatives like “the best” almost always result in trouble. You will never weigh every “thing” that ever happened in Europe. And how about the fall of Hitler? Could not that be “the best thing”?)
A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, also it should “telegraph” the method that you want to argue—that is, what support that is particular your claim is certainly going where in your essay.
Steps in Constructing a Thesis
First, analyze your sources that are primary. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a true point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications associated with the author’s argument? Figuring out the why to a single or maybe more of these questions, or even to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a thesis that is working. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, by way of example, many metaphors that are different such-and-such a poem—which just isn’t a thesis.)