Q: How do I write an effective thesis statement for my research on quarantine?

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The research is to show how public health authorities balance public health policies such as quarantine while respecting civil liberties.

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1 Answer to this question

This is an interesting and relevant research area, given the current situation.

The thesis statement is typically written as the last sentence of the introductory para of the thesis. The rest of the thesis then goes in describing and arguing for the claim(s) made in the statement.

There are two key characteristics of a thesis statement.

  • It needs to be arguable. A thesis statement should not present a fact, but rather a concept or theory, which can then be argued through the rest of the thesis. For instance, consider a problem similar to the one you are exploring. A statement such as ‘A lockdown is a beneficial measure in a pandemic’ does not present a theory or perspective, at least, not a very sound one. In contrast, a statement such as ‘By ensuring minimal movement of people, lockdowns help in minimizing the spread of a pandemic’ is more arguable. Note that this is merely an example to illustrate a point. The final statement for an actual thesis may be quite different (and more detailed) than this one.
  • It needs to be specific. This way, you focus on a particular aspect of the research problem. This also helps obtain and present the necessary arguments in defense of the statement. Going back to the previous example, a statement such as ‘Lockdowns help minimize the effects of a pandemic’ is quite broad or generic. In contrast, a statement such as ‘By ensuring zero or minimal movement and interaction of people, lockdowns help control the spread of a pandemic and also reduce the burden on a strained hospital and medical system’ is more specific (and also arguable).

Apart from this, there are two other points to keep in mind when writing a thesis statement.

  • Do your groundwork. Do a through literature review of previous and related studies to obtain valid evidence for the claim(s) in your thesis.
  • Rewrite as necessary. Keep writing the statement until you arrive at a version that works for the basic claim in your thesis.

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All the best for your thesis!