A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight_loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements: There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement. This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague. Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers. This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.
The thesis statement is also a good test for the scope of your intent. The principle to remember is that when you try to do too much, you end up doing less or nothing at all. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in the United States? At best, such a paper would be vague and scattered in its approach. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in Connecticut? Well, we're getting there, but that's still an awfully big topic, something we might be able to handle in a book or a Ph.D. dissertation, but certainly not in a paper meant for a Composition course. Can we write a paper about problems within the community college system in Connecticut. Now we're narrowing down to something useful, but once we start writing such a paper, we would find that we're leaving out so much information, so many ideas that even most casual brainstorming would produce, that we're not accomplishing much.
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