However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below. Some Caveats and Some Examples. A thesis is never a question.
Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question "Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe? A thesis is never a list. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument.
Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important. A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational. An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.
An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim. A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible. Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent.
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It is the one statement that summarizes the main point of the essay and states why the essay is important and worth reading. An essay that lacks a strong thesis will be inadequate and often lacking in focus. What this thesis does not address, because of the nature of the essay and topic, is a specific audience.
A thesis statement for an argument essay does not always address a specific audience since it is written to broader audience with the attempt to persuade others to a specific viewpoint. Just as the contents of the essay may change during the writing process, so, too, may the thesis statement. It is important to create a thesis statement before writing the paper, but this type of thesis is generally referred to as a working thesis and may change along with the contents of the essay.
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