Rockin’ Research Thesis Statements

Good morning, Jags!

As you already know, you have been writing a group research paper on an assigned Greek god or goddess. You’ve already written your eleven-sentence body paragraphs independently, and now it is time for you to collaboratively write your thesis statement, but first…

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a single sentence that clearly states your argument to the reader. When writing five paragraph essays, the thesis statement is always the last sentence in your introduction.

Thesis statements have three characteristics:

  1. They respond to the prompt – Your thesis statement needs to state your answer to a prompt, and the rest of your essay supports that answer.
  2. They state an argument – Your thesis statement needs to be argumentative, meaning that someone could disagree with your claim. Your body paragraphs provide evidence that supports your thesis statement in order to drive your point home to your reader.
  3. They are either open or closed – Read more about open and closed thesis statements below.

Open and Closed Thesis Statements

There are two types of thesis statements: open and closed.

  • Closed thesis statements list the topics in your body paragraphs. These topics must support the claim in your thesis statement. Students are usually expected to write closed thesis statements in the ninth and tenth grades.
    • Closed Thesis Example: Loki, the Norse god of mischief and mayhem, represents the complicated nature of Norse families, morals, and chaos. 
  • Open thesis statements do not list the three body paragraph topics. Instead, they use an umbrella term to address all of the topics in one short phrase. Students are usually expected to write open thesis statements in the eleventh and twelfth grades.
    • Open Thesis Example: Loki, the Norse god of mischief and mayhem, represents the complicated nature of moral development in Norse children. 

In the examples above, notice how the open thesis statement uses the umbrella term moral development to refer to the three supporting claims in one phrase: families, morals, and chaos. The closed thesis statement, however, simply lists the three ideas so the reader knows exactly how the author plans to support the claim, “Loki represents the complicated nature of morality in Norse society.”

For your group research essay, I expect you to write a closed thesis statement, not an open thesis statement. When you’re writing, make sure you refer to the three topic sentences you and your group members have already written.


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