How to Write a Good Essay

A thesis statement is the main point that the content of your essay will support. It is an contestable assertion, usually made in one or two sentences, that makes a clear argument about your research topic.

For example: Story-telling should be incorporated into the curriculum of early childhood education programs in order to encourage language development in young children.

A good thesis statement will:

  • Assert a strong position that can be challenged and debated, rather than merely describing or stating facts that cannot be contested
  • Form a complete sentence that clearly explains to the reader the overall direction of the essay
  • Be sufficiently narrow rather than broad, so the topic can be adequately addressed in the essay
  • Communicate a single, overarching point rather than multiple points that may be too difficult or broad to support
  • Be clear and specific, as opposed to overly vague, open-ended, or general

Avoid these common mistakes when formulating a thesis statement:

Error: Example: Corrected Example:
> Thesis is too broad or general in scope for the length of an essay. > A person's family upbringing impacts their adult life. > An person's family upbringing has less impact on their personality traits than environmental factors such as peer influence.
> Thesis is too vague or presents a truism that is not debatable. > The Canadian healthcare system currently faces many challenges. > The Canadian government should set limits on healthcare expenditures to encourage innovation in how the system handles emerging challenges.
> Thesis announces the topic rather than forming an argument. > This essay will discuss the marketing potential of social media. > Companies should exploit the marketing potential of social media by using applications like Twitter for advertising and customer service. 
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Standard Essay Outline

1) Thesis Statement

A.  Supporting Argument/Idea #1

B.  Supporting Argument/Idea #2

C. Supporting Argument/Idea #3

D. Conclusion/Transitional Device

2) Topic Sentence for Supporting Idea #1

A. 

B. 

C.

D. Conclusion/Transitional Device

3) Topic Sentence for Supporting Idea #2

A. 

B. 

C.

D. Conclusion/Transitional Device

4) Topic Sentence for Supporting Idea #3

A. 

B. 

C.

D. Conclusion/Transitional Device

5) Conclusion/Restatement of Thesis

A. 

B. 

C.

D. Strong Concluding Sentence