As the central organizing element of an academic paper, the thesis statement should provide a clear and concise assertion about your topic and a plan for how you will prove or discuss that assertion in the body of the paper.
When professors ask you to take a position, to analyze a text, problem or situation, they likely expect you to develop an argumentative thesis --a claim that is specific to the topic, narrow enough to substantiate in the space allotted, and which both engages and invites engagement with other scholarly arguments. Obvious, general and factual statements are not theses, and while your own perspective should drive your argument, statements of opinion or feeling are not theses either. If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could disagree with, it's possible that you are simply providing summary, rather than making an argument
Like the argumentative thesis, the organizational thesis is a way of presenting information in a concise and logical way. It may not make an argument, but it does provide an angle, a narrowed and specific approach to the material under consideration in the paper. Laboratory reports for science courses do this by concentrating on discrete problems and following a precise format. But organizational theses are common outside of science courses as well; they are useful for summarizing another scholar’s thesis, in book reviews, personal statements for post-graduate pursuits, or as a means to outline an argument.
How to Create a Thesis Statement
You can often get help from the assignment in formulating your thesis; although it seems simple, answering the professor’s question (or questions) can provide a solid structure, or at least a provisional one, for your paper. Sometimes, however, you will be asked to write a paper on a topic of your choice. You will need, in this case, to think very hard about narrowing the subject to fit the scope and length of the assignment. One way to do this is to make up a question. To begin, ask yourself, What do I find interesting, exciting, compelling about this class, text, or problem? Answer that question in a simple statement, then ask yourself some hard questions: Why is this statement significant, interesting, important? What are the implications of this statement? Do I have an angle or an edge? How will I prove my claim? By sketching out answers to these questions, a structure for your paper and your thesis may start to emerge.
A Checklist for Theis statements
Do I answer the question in the assignment?
Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose?
Is my thesis statement specific enough?
Does my thesis pass the "how and why" test?
Does my thesis pass the "so what" test?