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Clarity is paramount when determining the structure/layout of your dissertation. In that respect, the thesis-by-chapter format may be advantageous, particularly for students pursuing a PhD in the natural sciences, where the research content of a thesis consists of many discrete experiments. Similarly, "The United Nations is incapable of preventing war" is closer to a thesis statement than the factual statement above because it raises a point that is debatable. But in this format, it doesn't offer the reader much information; it sounds like the author is simply stating a viewpoint that may or may not be substantiated by evidence.



Your descriptive thesis statement would be: “This paper will discuss whether students have to wear school uniforms because this issue has two sides and the arguments on both are compelling.” eflect on and reformulate your paper’s opening position in light of the thinking your analysis of evidence has caused you to do. Culminate rather than merely restate your paper’s main idea in the concluding paragraph. Do this by getting your conclusion to again answer the question “So what?’ In the conclusion, this question is short-hand for “where does it get us to view the subject in this way? Or “What are the possible implications or consequences of the position the paper has arrived at?”

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Your thesis is an argument, not just an observation or a restatement of the prompt or question. It should be an argument that takes a stand people might disagree with. If you are writing about the Civil War, for example, the thesis "The U.S. Civil War was fought for many reasons good and bad" is not adequate. It should be a single, complete sentence. There are circumstances that may require 2-3 sentences, depending on the length of the entire paper.

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In fact, this thesis statement is so preliminary that it may bear little or no resemblance to the thesis statement in the final version of the essay because, in the course of drafting and revising, the writer may decide to shift focus or change topics dramatically. Because writing is an ongoing act of discovery and revision, such changes are common and not a source of concern.

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The key difference between an opinion statement and thesis statement is that a thesis conveys to the reader that the claim being offered has been thoroughly explored and is defendable by evidence. It answers the "what" question (what is the argument?) and it gives the reader a clue as to the "why" question (why is this argument the most persuasive?).