Do you know how to compose nursing thesis statements? The thesis statement is a concise expression of your paper’s central argument and purpose. It is sometimes referred to simply as a “thesis.” Every scholarly paper should contain a thesis statement, and effective thesis statements are brief, specific, and debatable. Being concise means that the thesis is short, typically one or two sentences for a shorter paper. Being specific means that the thesis focuses on a narrow and well-defined topic that is appropriate for the paper’s length. Being debatable means that a scholar in your field could potentially disagree with your thesis statement.
Strong thesis statements address specific intellectual questions, present clear positions, and follow a structure that mirrors the overall organization of the paper. Continue reading to discover more about constructing a robust thesis statement.
How to Write Nursing Thesis Statements – Being Specific
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A thesis statement that lacks specificity might look like this:
Needs Improvement: In this essay, I will examine two scholarly articles to find similarities and differences.
This statement is concise, but it lacks specificity and is not debatable. A reader might wonder, “Which scholarly articles? What is the topic of this paper? What field is the author writing in?” Furthermore, the purpose of the paper, which is to “examine…to find similarities and differences,” is not at a scholarly level. Identifying similarities and differences is a good starting point, but strong academic arguments go beyond that, analyzing what those similarities and differences signify or imply.
How to Write Nursing Thesis Statements – Basics of Thesis Statements
Better: In this essay, I will argue that Bowler’s (2003) autocratic management style, when combined with Smith’s (2007) theory of social cognition, can reduce the costs associated with employee turnover.
The revised statement is still concise, specific, and debatable. It is specific because it mentions concrete ideas and exact authors. It also identifies the field (business) and the topic (management and employee turnover). The statement is debatable because it goes beyond mere comparison and draws conclusions from that comparison, suggesting that this combination “can reduce the costs associated with employee turnover.”
Making a Unique Argument
A thesis draft that repeats the language of the writing prompt without presenting a unique argument might look like this:
Needs Improvement: The purpose of this essay is to monitor, assess, and evaluate an educational program for its strengths and weaknesses. Then, I will provide suggestions for improvement.
In this example, the student has essentially restated the paper’s assignment without articulating how they will address it specifically. The student can correct this by phrasing the thesis statement as a specific response to the assignment prompt.
Better: Through a series of student interviews, I found that Kennedy High School’s antibullying program was ineffective. To address conflicts among students, I argue that Kennedy High School should adopt policies outlined by the California Department of Education (2010).
Words like “ineffective” and “argue” indicate that the student has thought critically about the assignment and analyzed the material. It presents a specific and debatable position, making it clear how the student will address the assignment prompt without simply restating it.
How to Write Nursing Thesis Statements – Creating a Discussion
A thesis statement that only presents obvious facts or plot summaries instead of arguments might look like this:
Needs Improvement: Leadership is an important quality in nurse educators.
To determine if your thesis statement is too broad (and therefore not debatable), you can ask yourself, “Would a scholar in my field disagree with this point?” In this case, it’s clear that no scholar would argue that leadership is unimportant in nurse educators. The student needs to formulate a more debatable claim, likely a narrower one, as a short paper requires a more focused topic than a dissertation.
Better: Roderick’s (2009) theory of participatory leadership is particularly suitable for nurse educators working in the emergency medicine field, where students benefit most from collegial and kinesthetic learning.
In this revised thesis, the student has identified a specific type of leadership (“participatory leadership”), narrowing the topic. It also presents an arguable claim (that this type of leadership is “suitable” for a specific type of nurse educator). It is conceivable that a scholar in the nursing field might disagree with this approach. The student’s paper can now proceed, providing specific evidence to support the arguable central claim.
Choosing the Right Words
A thesis statement that uses large or scholarly-sounding words with little substance might look like this:
Needs Improvement: Scholars should work to seize metacognitive outcomes by harnessing discipline-based networks to empower collaborative infrastructures.
This sentence contains many words that may be buzzwords in the student’s field or key terms from other texts. However, when combined, they do not convey a clear, specific meaning. Students sometimes mistakenly believe that scholarly writing involves constructing complex sentences using special language. In reality, it’s often a better choice to write clear, straightforward sentences. When in doubt, remember that your ideas should be complex, not your sentence structure.
Better: Ecologists should strive to educate the U.S. public about conservation methods by leveraging local and national environmental organizations to create a widespread communication plan.
In this revision, the field is now clear (ecology), and the language has been made more field-specific (“conservation methods,” “environmental organizations”). This allows the reader to understand concretely the ideas the student is conveying.
Leaving Room for Discussion
A thesis statement that cannot be developed or expanded upon in the paper might look like this:
Needs Improvement: There are always alternatives to illegal drug use.
This type of thesis statement is not capable of sustaining extended discussion. It might be appropriate for the conclusion of a paper, but at the beginning of the paper, it leaves the student with no room for further exploration. What additional points can be made if there are “always alternatives” to the problem the student is identifying? If the student’s argument is that alternatives exist, then why write a paper around that claim? Ideally, a thesis statement should be complex enough to explore throughout the entire paper.
Better: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may involve a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy, as argued by Baker (2008), Smith (2009), and Xavier (2011).
In this revised thesis, the student has made a specific, debatable claim that can generate substantial discussion throughout the paper. When drafting a thesis statement, consider the questions your thesis statement will generate. What follow-up inquiries might a reader have? In the first example, there are almost no implied additional questions, but the revised example allows for a great deal more exploration.
Extra Tips on How to Write Nursing Thesis Statements
Thesis Mad Libs: If you’re having trouble getting started, use the following models to create a rough thesis statement. These models are for drafting purposes only and should not appear in your final work.
– In this essay, I argue ____, using ______ to assert _____.
– While scholars have often argued ______, I argue______, because_______.
– Through an analysis of ______, I argue ______, which is important because_______.
Words to Avoid and Embrace: When writing a nursing thesis statement, avoid using words like “explore,” “investigate,” “learn,” “compile,” “summarize,” and “explain” to describe the main purpose of your paper. These words suggest a paper that merely summarizes or “reports” instead of synthesizing and analyzing.
Instead, use words like “argue,” “critique,” “question,” and “interrogate.” These more analytical words will help you start with a strong, specific, and critical scholarly position.
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