Thesis StatementWorking thesis


Your thesis is more than just general statement about your main idea. It needs to establish a clear position you will support with balanced arguments and sources. Your thesis should be evolving from the moment you picked your topic to your final good copy.


Here are six steps for making a thesis evolve:

  1. Formulate an idea about your subject – a working thesis
  2. See how far you can make this thesis go in accounting for (confirming) your evidence.
  3. Locate complicating evidence that is not adequately accounted for by your thesis
  4. Think about the apparent mismatch between the thesis and selected evidence, asking and answering “so what?”
  5. Reshape your claim to accommodate the evidence that hasn’t fit – don’t abandon your thesis – the complicating evidence can help you modify it.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 several times!
Source: Rosenwasser, D., & Stephen, J. (2006). Writing Analytically (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Thomson Higher Education.

Constructing a Thesis

Look out for the following when creating your thesis statement:

  • A thesis is not an announcement of the subject:
    • My subject is on racial profiling in the Toronto Police Force
  • A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact:
    • J.K Rowling is the author of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • A thesis is not the whole essay:
    • A thesis is your main idea/claim/problem-solution expressed in a single sentence or a combination of sentences.
  • A good thesis is concise – it gets to the main point(s):
    • Bad Example: The Return-to-Work program was first instituted at Fresh and Company in 1999 and served 20 employees and has been effective because of its vision to do the following……
    • Better Example: The Return-to-Work program at Fresh and Company is effective because ……
  • A good thesis is specific:
    • Bad Example: All drugs are bad for all major cities because they are addictive and….
    • Better Example: The rise in the use methamphetamine is a concern for Toronto Public Health because…..