A Strong Thesis…
Takes a Stand. Controversial or not, the thesis should be arguing a stance.
BAD: There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.
Weak: This thesis fails to take a stand and is very vague.
GOOD: Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.
Justifies Discussion. There should be some sort of bigger picture the thesis can ultimately connect to, answering the question “Why am I reading/writing this?”
BAD: My family is an extended family.
Weak: This thesis states an observation instead of making an argument, and the reader has no reason to keep reading further.
GOOD: While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families like my own believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.
Strong: This thesis makes an argument worth having, and is very specific (#4).
Expresses One Main Idea. Remember, the thesis is the thread holding the entire paper together. If there are several parts to the idea, make sure they are related using words like “because,” “since,” “so,” “although,” “unless,” and “however.”
BAD: Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.
Weak: The reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or web pages.
GOOD: Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.
Strong: This thesis clearly shows the relationship between the two ideas.
Is Specific/Precise. A specific thesis helps you keep your paper manageable, and helps you ensure you can thoroughly discuss your topic. It’s not so precise that you don’t understand until you read the rest of the paper, and it’s not so general that it fails to represent any position.
BAD: World hunger has many causes and effects.
Weak: One, world hunger cannot be discussed in a 5-10 page paper. Second, many causes and effects is extremely vague.
GOOD: Hunger persists in Appalachia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.
Strong: This thesis narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic and identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.