Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience. An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience. An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause_and_effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided. If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, "What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss?" and "How will I convince the reader that this is true?" When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.
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