Click here to start
WoK homepage
Online Texts
Discussion Questions
Study Questions
Writing Resources
Course Policies
Self Evaluations

What is a thesis statement in a critical paper?

A thesis statement is a claim or assertion. It is a conclusion which you have derived and which you will use as the basis of your paper. You may think of it as "the conclusion I have drawn about the subject after doing my reading."


  • It should be arguable but provable.
  • It should be debatable
  • It may (and should) not cover all of the information you have dealt with in your reading, but rather only focus on one portion of that reading.
  • It should deal with the material covered and not "feelings" you have after having read the material.
    In other words, you may come to feel after reading Nutting, that your education up to this time has been inadequate and so you choose to write a paper about your education or education in general which does not follow Nutting's precepts. This will not work as a thesis paper for this academic assignment because it removes the the paper from the role of synthesizing and analyzing what we have read, to the world outside of these readings. This is not the purpose of these critical papers which are to focus on the author's and the connections between them.