4.1 Structure

4.1.3 Thesis statements

As you read the assessment criteria for the extended essay carefully, you will notice that significant marks are awarded for having a reasoned argument in your essay (Criterion C). This is to say that your essay must convince and persuade the reader. The best way to do this is to tell the examiner early in the essay what it is that you aim to argue. Such sentences that outline the scope of the essay and make a claim early in the essay are known as thesis statements and they come at the end of the introduction. Being able to write a strong thesis statement will help you structure your argument and build a convincing essay.

How to write a good thesis statement

In fact you already possess the building blocks for a good thesis statement. The research question includes many of the elements that you need. It contains the focus of the subject, the scope of the research and perhaps even reference to your methodology. Compare the research questions on the left with the thesis statement on the right. Where do you notice that the thesis statement has 'borrowed' from the question?  

Research questions Thesis statements

How do the authors of Brick Lane, The Inheritance of Loss and A Passage to India comment on cultural conflict by depicting characters in romantic relationships, friendships and family relationships?

As this study of the novels and their characters will show, E.M. Forster, Kiran Desai and Monica Ali suggest that cultural conflicts are best overcome through broader definitions of identity, mutual respect for differences and more sharing of power in multicultural settings.

'How can the canteen at our school be redesigned to efficiently and effectively accommodate for current demands?’  It will be shown that moving the fruit bar, introducing automated signs and managing a tighter timetable would contribute to a more effective and efficient canteen that can accommodate for current demands.

How is one’s golf swing and ball flight affected by Single Length Irons (SLIs)?

The hypothesis was that SLIs would help higher handicappers with accuracy and distance, while lower handicappers would remain as accurate and lose distance. The first part of this hypothesis proved true and the second part was proven false. In fact, accuracy increased and distance remained the same among lower handicappers. In other words, there is a strong case for using SLIs for both good and poor golfers.


A good thesis statement should do the following:
  • Answer the research question.
  • Outline the scope of the essay.
  • Make a claim or argument.