What Is a Succinct Thesis?

A succinct thesis statement is concise and focuses on one idea.

During the course of your education, you will be asked to write research papers of various kinds, most of which will include a thesis statement. In order to write the most succinct thesis possible, communicate your thesis statement clearly and follow it up with evidence. Structure your paper either in chronological order or by theme so that your readers can easily follow your arguments.

1 What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is the central question around which a research paper or position paper centers. A thesis statement, even outside the scientific fields, is formulated via the scientific method. A student does research on a topic, makes observations about that topic and then formulates a thesis and uses evidence to prove that thesis. The thesis statement should be clearly communicated within the first paragraph or two of the paper. It should be a clear and concise statement of a position on a subject.

2 How to Start

Sometimes you will begin the process of writing your paper already having a specific thesis in mind. This is especially true if you are writing a position paper or an editorial of some kind; if your opinions have already been well-researched and informed, you can go ahead and write the paper without too much research. If you have no knowledge of the subject, however, start by reading books or journal articles on the subject. As you read, you will begin to ask questions about the subject; as you find answers to these questions, you will come up with several viable thesis statements.

3 Succinct Theses

A succinct thesis should answer one question rather than raising more questions about a particular subject. A concise thesis statement should also focus only on one topic. A thesis statement should also be specific; for example, if your topic is women’s right in Saudi Arabia, your thesis statement might be something like “the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia is the primary obstacle facing Saudi activists for women’s rights” or “a desire for power and control among the Saudi religious establishment inhibits progress on the status of women.” You should avoid general statements such as “there are many factors keeping Saudi women at bay.” Such a statement is too general; a thesis statement that is too general can produce a thesis paper that takes too many different directions without adequately connecting them.

4 How to Proceed

Typically, a thesis paper is divided into an introduction, multiple chapters including a section for conclusions and several pages of works cited. A cover page is generally required but an “Acknowledgements” page is usually optional. Each chapter or section of your paper should discuss a separate section of your argument. If you are writing a history paper, for example, your paper might be organized chronologically. If your paper is on literature, organize it by themes or concepts. The final chapter or section should discuss briefly the conclusions that you came to in your previous chapters or sections. You should finish the conclusion with a brief statement of how all of these observations prove your thesis statement true.

Based in Washington, D.C., Lena Freund began writing professionally in 2007, while living in Tel Aviv. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Middle Eastern studies and Hispanic studies from the College of William & Mary and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University. Freund's articles about travel, languages and cultures have been published on various websites.