An effective essay thesis works like a science experiment’s hypothesis and proposes the intended outcome of
a test. Writing a thesis statement should propose what you intend to discover by writing; however, you have to
draft and study a good deal before you can form a position on a topic.
Once you are ready to write a thesis statement—that is, once you pick a topic and prewrite—determine what
interests you most or what perplexes you most about the topic.
Consider this hypothetical topic: Discuss the dangers of the modern battlefield.
1. Start with an idea about your topic.
2. Narrow your focus. At this point, you should have some ideas about the dangers of the modern
battlefield. You have done the necessary research. You have brainstormed. You landed on IEDs as
your focal point. Take this a step further and hone in on a specific aspect of why IEDs are dangerous.
o IED attacks can be executed remotely.
3. Okay, you have narrowed the idea into something that relates to the topic, and you have determined
why IEDs are dangerous. How do you feel? Take a stand or ask a question. What do you really want to
say about the fact that IED attacks can be executed remotely?
o More focus should be put on IED removal.
4. This statement incites discussion and garners your reader’s attention, which is important when writing a
thesis, but this statement is still vague and undeveloped. Explain what you mean by “More focus”; refer
back to your research and prewriting for ideas.
o All Marines should receive IED removal training so they are more prepared for the
dangers of modern combat.
5. This statement does a number of things right. It approaches the topic from a unique perspective. It
tackles one idea. Also, it states why this approach would benefit Marines. One thing is missing though.
This does not mention how the training would work. Keep in mind, that your thesis should be the hardest
the working sentence in your entire essay.
o All Marines should be required to complete a comprehensive IED removal training
course before they deploy to mitigate the unseen dangers inherent on the modern
6. This thesis statement offers a place and time for the training (i.e., before deployment). Also, it refers
back to your topic “Dangers of the modern battlefield.” This may seem complete, but you may want to
revise your thesis more as you go. New ideas will come to you as you write, and your thesis statement
must reflect any major changes.
CDET WRITING CENTER
Thesis Statement Development Tips
1. Start with an idea. 4. Refer back to research.
2. Narrow your focus. 5. Be specific.
3. Take a position. 6. Revise.
Since a thesis statement is the crux of your paper, it must be precise, and it must speak directly to what you
want to accomplish in the essay. Often, your first shot at writing a thesis will result in a statement that is too
factual, too broad, or too vague. Below, you will see three examples that illustrate how to revise these initial
In March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq because it violated the UN
Resolution 687 failed to prove that it had abandoned its nuclear and chemical weapons programs.
Due to world events after the 9/11 attacks, the United States used all of its
instruments of national power—diplomatic, information, military, economic—
to remove Saddam Hussein from power and make him less of a threat to the
IEDs, small arms fire, and bombs cause many deaths and injuries to soldiers
and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Revised In the modern battlefield of Iraq, IED attacks have caused the most casualties
to U.S. Marines.
Many things are helping the people of Afghanistan regain control of their
Since the U.S. military defeated the Taliban and destroyed many AlQaeda