The more specific your writing, the more successful you will be at convincing others and communicating your ideas.
Set yourself up for success in academic writing by crafting a specific thesis. Not a vague one.
What is a vague thesis?
- Assume the general subject is your high school women’s soccer team and their run to the state championship.
Assume your thesis is:
The JFK High School Lady Tigers victory in the state soccer championship was one of the greatest successes for our school.
This statement might very well be true, but it is vague and not at all argumentative:
- What state is your high school in?
- Who would disagree that winning the state championship is an amazing success? We read to learn and gain new ideas.
Fixing a thesis statement like ours is actually pretty easy if you know some efficient steps. Let’s
- Swap generic and vague language with specific language
- Add a “because” to our statement that creates a more original argument. Why was this a great success (aside from all the obvious reasons)?
The JFK High School Lady Tigers victory in the 2018 Ohio State soccer championship was an astounding achievement because we’d never made it to the State championship first round.
Even better if you can find a quirkier, more surprising ‘because’:
The JFK High School Lady Tigers victory in the 2018 Ohio State soccer championship was an astounding achievement because we didn’t have a coach for the second half of the season.
Now we have something intriguing and specific. Your reader is going to want to find out WHY you didn’t have a coach and then how your team was able to overcome this challenge to win.
One note about this particular example: the argument is actually buried in the “how you won even without a coach” explanation. No one would argue that winning the state championships, without a coach, was a small accomplishment. The success of the overall paper will hinge on how well you dig into this aspect. If you just summarize the season and write a narrative, without any analysis, you will not have fulfilled the promise of your opening thesis.