Writing an Analysis Paper – Formulating the Thesis

When writing an analysis paper, you work to convince your reader of a certain point. This point is the thesis. Defining an appropriate thesis and making compelling arguments to support that thesis is the key to writing an excellent analysis paper.

When formulating your thesis, first have a thorough understanding of your subject. Brainstorm about points you can make about the subject. The thesis should not make an obvious point; it should be interesting and thought provoking. If you’re stating the obvious, there is no reason for anyone to read your paper!

Compare the following:

Obvious statement:

Many employees find being laid off from work challenging.

Does this statement seem obvious to you? Do you want to see facts to back it up? Most readers would accept this statement as true with no evidence or argument needed.

It’s also a very generalized statement. What industries are these employees from? What were their job duties? What is their average tenure with the employer? Are these temporary layoffs or permanent dismissals?

Get more specific. Dive into the details.

Thesis statements:

Individuals with experience in sales will more quickly find jobs after a layoff.

A temporary layoff results in quality employees actively seeking new jobs.

The thesis statements are much more specific and focused, and not obvious. Readers might argue that a solid background in customer service is much more valued than sales, and individuals with that type of experience will most quickly find new roles. And, it is not at all obvious that high performing employees will depart a company after a temporary work cessation.

Your thesis should be revealing or controversial. It should be an original idea – although don’t be discouraged if others have already made the same argument, and work to make your arguments support it in an original way.

There is no single way to formulate your thesis; it should flow from your knowledge of your topic but be separate from your topic. In the examples above, the topic was the impact of layoffs on employees; the thesis is more of a granular discussion of one aspect of the topic.

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