Make a Thesis Substantitve

A thesis statement makes a claim. It is the main point writers want readers to understand and take seriously. It is the map that convinces readers to make the journey through the writer’s ideas.

Readers are efficient. They want to comprehend the material quickly. If they are familiar with the claim, they are unlikely to read the rest of the essay carefully. If the thesis is too obvious, readers will not see its value.

A thesis has to convince readers that they will learn something interesting and worthwhile. A thesis is substantive if it gets reader’s attention and piques their curiosity.

To understand what makes a thesis substantive, review three different versions below. Each version shares the same topic--finding ways to relax --and direction--health benefits.

Too obvious: Relaxing is important for good health.

Too bland: Finding ways to relax positively affects the body, even while sleeping.

Substantive: Relaxation teaches the body and mind to rest, which improves sleep.

Strongly Substantive: Eastern relaxation practices such as meditation and yoga have positive effects on health, especially in terms of sleep quality.

Notice how the substantive and strongly substantive versions are much more specific. “Relaxing” in the first version became “Eastern relaxation practices such as meditation and yoga” in final version.

To make a substantive thesis, commit to the writing process. As you revise to better appeal to your audience and better represent your topic, your thesis will become more interesting, worthwhile, and substantive.