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Home / 2021 / September / The writing on the wall: exploring the cultural value of graffiti and street art

The writing on the wall: exploring the cultural value of graffiti and street art

Doctoral candidate’s research interprets graffiti’s deeper meaning among Latinx and Black urban subcultures in Los Angeles

September 14, 2021

By Allison Arteaga Soergel

Illescas posing outdoors in front of a colorful mural painting

Ismael Illescas grew up admiring the graffiti around his neighborhood in Los Angeles. He had migrated to the city with his mother and brother from Ecuador in the 1990s as part of a large Latin American diaspora. In his urban environment, he found himself surrounded by beautiful, cryptic messages. They were written on walls and scrawled daringly across billboards. Little by little, he began to understand the meanings behind some of these messages. And, eventually, he started writing back. 

Illescas became a graffiti writer himself, for a time. He has since given it up, but he never lost his initial sense of curiosity and admiration. In fact, now, as a doctoral candidate in Latin American and Latino Studies, his dissertation research has taken him back to Los Angeles, where he gathered insights from current and former graffiti writers about how their work connects with concepts of art, identity, culture, and space. 

For those who create it, graffiti is an expression of identity and an outlet for creativity, social connection, and achievement, according to Illescas’s research. Some of the most popular graffiti yards in Los Angeles are abandoned spaces in communities of color that neither the economy nor the city has been willing to invest in, he says. But graffiti allows Black and Latino young men to transform these areas into spaces of congregation and empowerment. 

“In a city where these youth are marginalised, ostracized, and invisibilized, graffiti is a way for them to become visible,” Illescas said. “They feel that the system is against them, and upward social mobility is limited for them, so putting their names up around the city is a way for them to achieve respect from their peers and assert their dignity, and that doesn’t come easily from other places and institutions in society.”

an example of placa style graffiti writing as part of a mural

Graffiti also offers what Illescas calls an “illicit cartography,” meaning that it can be read like a cultural map of the city. Graffiti styles in East Los Angeles, for example, reflect Mexican-American artistic influence that began with Pachuco counterculture in the 1940s. Rich graffiti writing traditions emerged, including “placas,” or tags that list a writer’s stylized signature, and “barrio calligraphy,” which blends rolling scripts with Old English lettering. In the 1980s, those traditions then incorporated colorful, whimsical East Coast influences.

“The result is that Los Angeles has a really unique graffiti style,” Illescas said. “Although outsiders might not necessarily notice it, you can easily see the Mexican-American artistic influence in the aesthetics, and that has become associated with Latinx urban identities.”

Graffiti is a multiracial and multi-ethnic subculture, and Illescas says his research aims to recognize the specific contributions of Black and Latinx communities. He’s also critically examining the subculture’s hypermasculinity and how that may limit its transformative potential.  And he’s particularly interested in shedding light on how race may affect public perceptions of graffiti.

Depending on the context, graffiti can either be publicly admired as “street art”—and valued up to millions of dollars—or it can be criminalized at levels ranging up to felony charges and years of jail time. In Los Angeles, a city which many researchers consider to be highly racially segregated, Black and Latinx communities, like South Central Los Angeles and East Los Angeles, are the places where graffiti is most likely to be severely criminalized and lumped together with gang activity, Illescas says.

Meanwhile, Illescas says street art is more likely to be recognized as such within arts districts, where officially sanctioned “beautification” projects use public art to attract more business and new residents, which can contribute to gentrification issues. And some of the most famous street artists are actually white men, like Banksy or Shepard Fairey, who have each attained international recognition for the artistic value of their illegal works. 

“This is where systemic racism occurs,” Illescas said. “You have some people who are more prone to being criminalized and severely punished for a very similar act, and that punishment falls mainly on young Black and Latino men.”

community members gathered near a mural in Los Angeles

For these reasons, Illescas has found that many graffiti writers of color have mixed feelings about the growing public appreciation for street art. 

“On the one hand, it’s a capitalistic appropriation of transgressive graffiti into commercialized street art,” Illescas said. “But it also ties into the efforts of graffiti writers who have been pushing for years to decriminalize their art and demonstrate its artistic and social value and the types of knowledge that it brings with it.”

Street art has, in fact, already brought opportunities for some veteran Black and Latino graffiti writers, who told Illescas they had recently been commissioned for their art or had found jobs as tour guides in arts districts. But each of these artists got their start creating illegal graffiti tags. Illescas believes that decriminalization will ultimately require transforming public appreciation of street art into a deeper understanding of the expressive value of other forms of graffiti. And he hopes his research might aid in that process.  

“The graffiti that we see up in the streets may seem like an insignificant tag or scribble to some people, but there’s a lot of meaning behind it,” he said. “There needs to be a recognition that graffiti is actually a visual representation of someone’s identity, and it’s also potentially their starting point to a very meaningful artistic career.” 

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what is a good thesis statement for graffiti

Graffiti as vandalism: an analysis of the intentions, influence, and growthof graffiti

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Graffiti

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what is a good thesis statement for graffiti

  • Mari Myllylä 6  

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Emotions play an essential role in aesthetic and art experience. Graffiti is an example of urban visual communication, and it can also be understood as a form of art. Like other works of art, graffiti can evoke different aesthetic emotions in its audiences, such as pleasure, wonder, interest and pride but also disinterest, disappointment or embarrassment, and even anger and disgust—further impacting, for example, how they value this art form. However, few studies have explored what kinds of emotions people feel when they appraise graffiti. This chapter discusses emotions in graffiti using examples from participant interviews in the Purkutaide study. Interview quotes are assessed against theories regarding aesthetic emotions and art appreciation. There are several challenges associated with studying emotions inspired by graffiti. For instance, explicating emotions verbally is difficult, and the same graffiti work can be interpreted as beautiful or ugly, or good or bad, depending on multiple factors. Appraising graffiti is an interactive and iterative process that depends on both the perceived visual and non-perceivable symbolic features of the work. The sociocultural and physical context, viewing time, subjective motives, the work’s relation to the self, the level of learned graffiti-related expertise and other aspects may also influence what kinds of emotions graffiti evokes, and how it is judged in terms of good/bad or beautiful/ugly.

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I am deliberately using the term ‘graffiti writer’, because in the graffiti vernacular the graffiti production is typically referred to as ‘writing’ and its producers as ‘writers’, instead of painters or artists.

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Myllylä, M. (2020). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Graffiti. In: Rousi, R., Leikas, J., Saariluoma, P. (eds) Emotions in Technology Design: From Experience to Ethics. Human–Computer Interaction Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-53483-7_6

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84 Graffiti Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best graffiti topic ideas & essay examples, 💡 good essay topics on graffiti, 📌 most interesting graffiti topics to write about, ❓ questions about graffiti.

  • Arguments for Graffiti as Art Given the comprehensive nature of art and the time and care necessary to produce a piece of graffiti, it should be considered a form of art.
  • Aspects of Graffiti as Art Therapy According to the psychological perspective when reviewing the art of graffiti, it has helped relieve stress, and tension and brings joy to the people in the community.
  • The Controversy of Graffiti Art Finally, graffiti is a form of expression and inhibiting it denies young persons a voice and the right to express themselves.
  • Graffiti as a Complex Social Interaction Problem However, graffiti is vandalism and requires the authorization of the property owner. Moreover, graffiti reduces the value of properties and costs the citizens a lot of money in cleaning it up.
  • Analyzing Graffiti as a Subculture Contemporary theoreticians dispute the origin and meaning of subculture as a social phenomenon, analyzing the sociological parameters of the groups of population and their primary motivation for deciding on self-expression in the form of subculture.
  • Graffiti and History of Street Art Statues of antiquity and great canvas of the New Age and many other works appeared due to the set of reasons which made this very kind of art the main characteristic of the epoch.
  • Views on Graffiti From Sociological Perspectives He intimates that graffiti drawing is a sign of deviance and has a corroding effect on the character of an individual.
  • Graffiti “Season’s Greetings” by Banksy The aesthetic value of Season’s Greetings is that the artist experimented with the building’s corner to create a perspective game, as seen in Figure 1.
  • Graffiti: Is a Form of Art or Vandalism? This is achieved through the incorporation of a great deal of imagination, planning and effort in the development of the graffiti.
  • Analyzing Graffiti as a Crime Other types of graffiti such as the commercial graffiti are categorized as crimes because making use of graffiti as a form of advertisement is usually against the advertisement along with media laws established in most […]
  • Analysis of Cultural Phenomenon of Graffiti Though the artistic value of the graffiti remains questionable for most cultural experts, certain samples of spray-painting may be regarded the works of art in the context of the hip-hop culture.
  • Is Graffiti Vandalism or Art? The first questionable characteristic is the history of graffiti, and associated with the street gang culture of New York in the 70s.
  • Eduardo Kobra’s Graffiti as a Form of Art Hence, graffiti itself, as a separate genre, is a form of art due to its emotional and psychological influence. Due to its emotional and psychological impact, graffiti itself is a type of art as a […]
  • Ron English: The Famous Graffiti Artist This paper explores and analyses the aspects of graffiti – a form of painting and the work of one of the most famous and talented graffiti artists.
  • Susan Meiselas: From Galleries to Graffiti The city’s “rich manufacturing heritage” was the focal point in the decision of the theme for the photographs. The photographs were taken as a part of the project for the company that Meiselas works for, […]
  • Banksy’s Graffiti Artworks in Palestine It is in this location that the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy has placed 9 suggestive pieces along several well travelled areas of “the Wall” in order to create social thought regarding the moral and ethical […]
  • Graffiti Culture: Is It a Form of Artistic Expression or Criminal Activity? Scholars postulates that “…the graffiti culture, like any other culture, present itself in different forms, dependent on the social and cultural component of the local community, the distribution of cultural knowledge, the age of the […]
  • Contemporary Graffiti as Political Art Banksy’s graffiti art work is still considered as one of the best way of protesting against the government in order to remove the CCTV cameras from the cities or to use those cameras in proper […]
  • Art Censorship: Why Graffiti Should Be Considered an Accepted Form of Art
  • Banksy and the Influence of His Graffiti Works
  • Graffiti Analysis: Positive and Negative Effects
  • Comparative Analysis of Graffiti and Abstract Expressionism
  • Banksy Was Here: The Invisible Man of Graffiti Art
  • Graffiti and Commodification Culture: An Analysis
  • Overview of Graffiti and Other Street Art
  • Graffiti and Its Effects on the World War I
  • The Controversy of Graffiti and Private Property
  • Graffiti and Its Impact on Popular Culture
  • Analysis of Graffiti and Street Art as Forms of Arts
  • Overview of Graffiti and Tagging Culture
  • Graffiti and Vandalism Acts in Our Community
  • Discussion on Graffiti: Expensive and Destroying
  • Graffiti Art Brings Positive Effects to Our Society
  • Reasons Why Graffiti Stains Our Streets
  • Graffiti Art: History, Material, Tags
  • Hate of the Criminal Justice System Through Juvenile Graffiti
  • Graffiti vs. Modern Art: Comparative Analysis
  • Hip-Hop and Graffiti: An Anatomy of a Piece of Art
  • How Graffiti Has Changed Over Time
  • Linking Police and Graffiti Abatement Programs
  • How Banksy Graffiti Artwork Has Been Acquired by Critics
  • Reclaiming Urban Landscape: Graffiti Subversion
  • Street Subversion: The Political Geography of Murals and Graffiti
  • The Different Purposes That Graffiti Serve in Society
  • Political Graffiti as a Form of Art
  • The Graffiti Art History in the Modern Cities Portrayed as Vandalism
  • A Visual Analysis of the Graffiti Artwork Done by Banksy
  • The History and Controversy of Graffiti Art
  • How to Keep Teenagers From Becoming Graffitists
  • The Graffiti Subculture Mirrors the Functions of ‘Institutionalized Art’
  • Graffiti: Vandalism or Street Art
  • The History and the Modern Use of Graffiti as an Artstyle
  • Street Art and Graffiti Should Not Be Considered as Vandalism
  • The Pros and Cons of the Use of Graffiti in the Streets
  • Graffiti: Plain Vandalism or Self-Expression Through Art
  • The Reasons Graffiti Should Be Legalized
  • When Graffiti Is Not Art, but Plain Vandalism
  • The Use of Graffiti as a Means for Good and Its Importance
  • What Is the Difference Between Graffiti Art and Graffiti Vandalism?
  • Are Graffiti Artists Criminals?
  • What Is the Most Famous Graffiti Wall in the World?
  • How Serious a Problem Is a Graffiti?
  • What Are the Positive Effects of Graffiti and Street Art?
  • Does Graffiti Inspire People?
  • What Is the Role of Graffiti in Society Today?
  • How Does Graffiti Affect People?
  • What Social Issues Can Graffiti Reflect?
  • Can Graffiti Be Good for Cities?
  • What Graffiti Was on the Berlin Wall?
  • Did Graffiti Start in Japan?
  • What Country Has the Best Graffiti?
  • Why Does Graffiti Make People Happy?
  • Is It Legal to Graffiti in Germany?
  • When Was Graffiti Banned?
  • What Is the Largest Illegal Graffiti Piece in the World?
  • How Do the Police Deal With Graffiti?
  • Why Does Graffiti Make People Feel Unsafe?
  • Does Graffiti Have a Message?
  • What Is the Psychology Behind Graffiti?
  • How Does Graffiti Harm Public Properties?
  • What Role Does Graffiti Play in Society?
  • Does Removing Graffiti Reduce Crime?
  • How Does Graffiti Represent Identity?
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what is a good thesis statement for graffiti

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

what is a good thesis statement for graffiti

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

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What is a Thesis Statement and How to Write It (with Examples) 

What is a Thesis Statement and How to Write It (with Examples)

A thesis statement is basically a sentence or two that summarizes the central theme of your research. In research papers and essays, it is typically placed at the end of the introduction section, which provides broad knowledge about the investigation/study. To put it simply, the thesis statement can be thought of as the main message of any film, which is communicated through the plot and characters. Similar to how a director has a vision, the author(s) in this case has an opinion on the subject that they wish to portray in their research report.  

In this article, we will provide a thorough overview on thesis statements, addressing the most frequently asked questions, including how authors arrive at and create a thesis statement that effectively summarizes your research. To make it simpler, we’ve broken this information up into subheadings that focus on different aspects of writing the thesis statement.

Table of Contents

  • What is a thesis statement? 
  • What should a thesis statement include (with examples)? 
  • How to write a thesis statement in four steps? 
  • How to generate a thesis statement? 
  • Types of thesis statements? 
  • Key takeaways 
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement, in essence, is a sentence that summarizes the main concept the author(s) wishes to investigate in their research. A thesis statement is often a “question/hypothesis” the author(s) wants to address, using a certain methodology or approach to provide sufficient evidence to support their claims and findings. However, it isn’t necessarily the topic sentence (first sentence) in a research paper introduction, which could be a general statement.  

Returning to our movie analogy, a thesis statement is comparable to the particular viewpoint a director wants to convey to his audience. A thesis statement tells the reader the fundamental idea of the study and the possible course it will take to support that idea. A well-structured thesis statement enables the reader to understand the study and the intended approach, so both its placement and clarity matter here. An appropriately placed thesis statement, usually at the end of an introductory paragraph, ensures the reader will not lose interest. A thesis statement plays another crucial role, it summarizes the main idea behind the study so that readers will understand the question the author is trying to answer. It gives the reader some background information and a sense of the topic’s wider context while also hinting at the work or experimental approach that will come next. To summarize, thesis statements are generally that one key phrase you skim over to rapidly understand the thesis of a study.  

What should a thesis statement include (with examples)?

Now that we have understood the concept, the next step is learning how to write a good thesis statement. A strong thesis statement should let the reader understand how well-versed you are, as an author, in the subject matter of the study and your position on the topic at hand. The elements listed below should be considered while crafting a statement for your thesis or paper to increase its credibility and impact.  

  • The author should take a position that a sizable portion of the readership may disagree with. The subject should not be a well-known, well-defined issue with just unanimity of view. This form of thesis statement is typically viewed as weak because it implies that there is nothing substantial to investigate and demonstrate. To pique readers’ interest, the thesis statement should be debatable in some way, and the findings should advance the body of knowledge. 
  • A review of pertinent literature on the subject is a must in order for the author to establish an informed opinion about the questions they wish to pose and the stance they would want to take during their study, this is the basis to develop a strong thesis statement. The authors of the study should be able to support their statements with relevant research, strengthening their stance by citing literature.  
  • The thesis statement should highlight just one main idea, with each claim made by the authors in the paper demonstrating the accuracy of the statement. Avoid multiple themes running throughout the article as this could confuse readers and undermine the author’s perspective on the subject. It can also be a sign of the authors’ ambiguity. 
  • The main objective of a thesis statement is to briefly describe the study’s conclusion while posing a specific inquiry that clarifies the author’s stance or perspective on the subject. Therefore, it is crucial to clearly establish your viewpoint in the statement. 

Based on the considerations above, you may wonder how to write a thesis statement for different types of academic essays. Expository and argumentative essays, the most common types of essays, both call for a statement that takes a stand on the issue and uses powerful language. These kinds of thesis statements need to be precise and contain enough background material to give a comprehensive picture of the subject. However, in persuasive essays, which typically integrate an emotive perspective and personal experiences, the opinions are presented as facts that need supporting evidence. The sole difference between argumentative and expository essays and persuasive essays is that the former require the use of strong viewpoints, while the latter does not. Last but not least, the thesis statement for a compare-and-contrast essay addresses two themes rather than just one. Authors can choose to concentrate more on examining similarities or differences depending on the nature of the study; the only caveat is that both topics must receive equal attention to prevent biases. 

How to write a thesis statement in four steps?

Coming up with a research question might be challenging in situations when the research topic is not decided or it’s a new field of study. You may want to delve deeper into a widely researched subject, continue with your current research, or pursue a topic you are passionate about. If you don’t have a thesis statement yet, here are four easy stages to get you started. 

  • Start with a working thesis statement : Writing the statement is not so straightforward; you won’t magically write the final thesis statement at once. It is preferable to choose an initial working thesis after reviewing relevant literature on the topic. Once you have chosen a subject that interests you, attempt to think of a specific query that has not been raised or that would be fascinating to contribute to the body of literature. For example, if you are writing an article or paper about ChatGPT, you could want to look into how ChatGPT affects learning among students. You can even get more specific, like, “How does ChatGPT harm learning and education?” 
  • Outline your answer (your positioning on the subject): Based on your review of past research, you would form an opinion about the subject—in this example, the effect of ChatGPT on students’ learning—and then you write down your tentative answer to this question. If your initial response is that ChatGPT use has a detrimental impact on education and learning, this would serve as the foundation for your research. Your study would include research and findings to support this assertion and persuade the reader to accept your hypothesis. 
  • Provide evidence to support your claim : The goal of your study should be to back your hypothesis with enough evidence, relevant facts and literature, to support your claim and explain why you selected that particular response (in this case, why you believe that ChatGPT has a negative impact on learning and education). The focus should be on discussing both the benefits and drawbacks of using ChatGPT and demonstrating why the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. An argumentative thesis statement example on the same topic would be that, despite ChatGPT’s enormous potential as a virtual learning tool for students, it has a detrimental effect on their creativity and critical thinking skills and encourages problematic behaviors like cheating and plagiarism.  
  • Polish your thesis statement: After outlining your initial statement, improve it by keeping these three elements in mind.  
  • Does it make it clear what position you hold on the subject? 
  • Does it effectively connect the various facets of the study topic together?  
  • Does it summarize the key points of your narrative?  

The thesis statement will also gain from your comments on the approach you will employ to validate your claim. For example, the aforementioned thesis statement may be clarified as “Although ChatGPT has enormous potential to serve as a virtual tutor for students and assistant to instructors, its disadvantages, such as plagiarism and the creation of false information, currently outweigh the advantages.” This particular illustration offers a thoughtful discussion of the subject, enabling the author to make their case more persuasively. 

How to generate a thesis statement?

No matter how complicated, any thesis or paper may be explained in one or two sentences. Just identify the question your research aims to answer, then write a statement based on your anticipated response. An effective thesis statement will have the following characteristics: 

  • It should have a take on the subject (which is contentious/adds to existing knowledge) 
  • It should express a main topic (other themes should only be included if they connect to the main theme) 
  • It should declare your conclusion about the issue 
  • It should be based on an objective, broad outlook on the subject. 

To understand how to write a thesis statement from scratch, let’s use an example where you may want to learn about how mental and physical health are related.  

Since the subject is still broad, you should first conduct a brainstorming session to acquire further thoughts. After reading literature, you determine that you are curious to learn how yoga enhances mental health. To develop a compelling thesis statement, you must further narrow this topic by posing precise questions that you can answer through your research. You can ask, “How does yoga affect mental health. What is the possible mean”? This topic makes it plain to the reader what the study is about but it is necessary for you to adopt a position on the issue. Upon further deliberation, the premise can be rephrased as “Yoga, a low impact form of exercise, positively impacts people’s mental health by lowering stress hormones and elevating healthy brain chemicals.” This clearly states your position on the topic. Finally, you may further develop this into a clear, precise thesis statement that asks, “Does practicing yoga induce feel-good hormones and lower the stress hormone, cortisol, that positively affects people’s mental health?” to turn it into a study.  

Types of thesis statements?

The three primary categories of thesis statements are analytical, expository, and argumentative. You choose one over the other depending on the subject matter of your research or essay. In argumentative thesis statements, the author takes a clear stand and strives to persuade the reader of their claims, for example, “Animal agriculture is the biggest driver of climate change.” It is specific, concise, and also contentious. On the other hand, the purpose of an expository thesis statement is to interpret, assess, and discuss various facets of a subject. Here you shortlist the key points of your interpretation, and state the conclusion based on the interpretation you drew from the study. An analytical thesis statement aims to discuss, glean information on the subject, and explain the facts of the topic. Here, the goal is to critically analyze and summarize the points you will cover in the study.  

Key takeaways

  • A good thesis statement summarizes the central idea of your thesis or research paper.  
  • It serves as a compass to show the reader what the research will contend and why.  
  • Before creating a thesis statement, keep in mind that the statement should be specific, coherent, and controversial. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

A thesis statement can be defined as a sentence that describes the main idea of the research or thesis to inform the reader of the argument the research will pursue and the reason the author adopts a specific stance on the subject. Essentially, it expresses the author’s judgment or opinion based on a review of the literature or personal research experience. 

Any academic essay or research piece must have a thesis statement since it directs the research and attracts the reader’s attention to the main idea of the subject under discussion. In addition to confining the author to a specific subject, so they don’t veer off topic, it also enables the reader to understand the topic at hand and what to expect.

To create an impactful thesis statement, simply follow these four easy steps. Start by creating a working statement by posing the question that your research or thesis will attempt to answer. Then, outline your initial response and choose your position on the matter. Next, try to substantiate your claim with facts or other relevant information. Finally, hone your final thesis statement by crafting a cogent narrative using knowledge gained in the previous step. 

Ideally the thesis statement should be placed at the end of an introduction of the paper or essay. Keep in mind that it is different from the topic sentence, which is more general.  

We hope this in-depth guide has allayed your concerns and empowered you to start working craft a strong statement for your essay or paper. Good luck with drafting your next thesis statement! 

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