Writing Program

Thesis Work

The thesis is the map for the whole essay.  A weak thesis will get the reader to nowhere in particular.  A strong thesis will lead the reader to your brilliant insight or discovery.

A good thesis will do five things:

  •  Announce the broad Topic of the essay.

Ex:  The character of King Orfeo in the Middle English poem Sir Orfeo.

  • Delineate the Specific Area you will take within that broader topic.

Ex:  The cultural/political identity of King Orfeo.

  • Indicate the primary Opposition to your argument (what you don't agree with).

Ex:  He is modeled on heroes of French romance.

  • Indicate your Opinion concerning that Specific Area.

Ex:  He is modeled on heroes of Anglo-Saxon literature (not French romance).

  • Suggest what kinds of Evidence you will use to support your claims.

Ex:  I explore the hero's cultural identity through features such as battle tactic, residences, and his experience of the forest landscape.

Final ThesisAlthough King Orfeo [Topic] appears to be modeled on the heroes of French [specific area - cultural identity] chivalric romance [opposition], in fact/nevertheless, his dwelling, experience of the forest, and choice of battle tactic [evidence] all indicate he is modeled on the hero of Anglo-Saxon literature [my opinion].

Thesis Test

After you write your thesis, "test" its quality with the following questions:

  1. Does my thesis announce the broad Topic?
  2. Does it delineate the Specific Area I will take within that broader topic?
  3. Does it indicate my primary Opposition?
  4. Does it reflect my Opinion on that focused topic?
  5. Does it suggest what types of Evidence I will be using to support my claims

Thesis Workpage


Specific Focus:





Evidence (what kind of evidence will you use to support your opinion?). 





Using the model provided on the previous page, compose a thesis in the space below:

Thesis:   Although [the Opposition clause]




in fact, nevertheless,...                                                       

Run it through the test above.