How to Write a Thesis That Answers Multiple Questions

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As part of their entrance exams, many colleges ask students to compose an essay whose thesis statement responds to multiple questions. To respond to multiple questions in an exam prompt, your thesis must first be broad and inclusive enough to cover all the aspects of the assigned topic. For example, in the prompt, “Discuss beekeeping as a successful business model. In your discussion, make sure you address bee management, sales of bee products, and the environmental impact of beekeeping," your thesis might read: “Successful beekeeping can be a good business for a greener environment."

1 Determine Your Tone

Decide if you are going to respond in explanatory writing, analytic writing or persuasive writing. If you write your response in explanatory writing, your thesis will be based on factual information and your tone will be formal and impartial. If your response is analytical, your thesis will describe how you will evaluate multiple issues of the topic presented to you. If you decide to respond in persuasive writing, you will support your claims with personal experience, as well as outside sources. In this case, your tone can be more informal and partial. The thesis sentence, “Successful beekeeping can be a good business for a greener environment,” can work for all three types of rhetorical modes.

2 Connect Core Concepts

The subjects that you'll need to summarize in a thesis statement may not be related, but you should try to find the common denominator among them. If they do not share a common thread, you can at least find any core concepts that combine them all together. For example, the core concept in the beekeeping article is “beekeeping as a successful business model,” which means you'd need to incorporate this core in your thesis statement. To include the subjects described in the intro, your thesis cannot be too narrow. For example, “Successful beekeeping will generate revenues from selling honey, wax and pollen,” doesn't incorporate all the elements you need. This limited thesis ignores the biological aspects of the profession, as well as the environmental impact of beekeeping, as requested in the original prompt. Similarly, your thesis should not be a sweeping generalization like this: “Beekeeping is good for everything.” Such a thesis is too broad and fails to address the the topic in its entirety.

3 Condense Your Essay Topic

Since a thesis statement reflects the main idea of your paper, condensing several hundred words into a mere handful can be difficult. Try writing down the gist of your thesis in two to three sentences. Once you have this distillation, condense it further to come up with your one-sentence thesis statement.

4 Combining Unrelated Ideas

Often, the subjects your essay's thesis statement will need to address will contain underlying common denominators. However, when you cannot detect such a common thread, you can simply state the obvious in your thesis: “Beekeeping is a multifaceted business demanding expertise in bee biology, business and marketing acumen, and knowledge of environmental science,” for instance.

Dr. Yoon Kim earned a Ph. D. in English from Oklahoma State University. His editing experience includes Ph.D. dissertations (English), and senior professor’s research articles (Psychology and Education) that are published in peer-reviewed professional journals.