On the Thesis Statement
The kind of writing you are doing for your senior thesis most likely will
require a thesis statement. You will first want to engage your reader perhaps
with a description, an example, an anecdote or a question. But then you should
be able to state in a sentence or two the main point of your paper. The thesis
statement should not be so broad and general so as to spark no interest or controversy.
For example, your thesis should never just state an obvious fact, e.g.,
"The Meiji Restoration occurred in 1868."
Nor should it be so bland as to not generate any interest:
"The Meiji Restoration was important in Japan's historical
A more engaging thesis statement would be something like:
"In April 1868, the world that Japanese once knew was
rocked by an ominous declaration but it would be incorrect to place too much
emphasis on this one point in time. If we wish to understand the Meiji Restoration,
we must venture back in time and probe deeply into the nature of social class
in late eighteenth-century Japan in order to trace the origins of this major
In other words, you should take some kind of stand:
To write on the topic of X is both timely and relevant because. . .
There are tons of online guides to constructing a decent thesis statement.
Here is one from Indiana University:
Feel free to peruse others but you should bring in a tentative
thesis statement with your research design on Feb. 17.