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Revising thesis and topic sentences

Revising thesis and topic sentences

Author: Dan Reade
  1. Explain what an effective thesis statement contains.

  2. Explain how to determine whether the thesis statement conveys the main idea of the paper and focuses on the research question.

  3. Explain what effective topic sentences contain.

  4. Explain how to determine whether topic sentences transition from the previous paragraph and effectively introduce the paragraph’s supporting details.

This packet should help a learner seeking to revise a paper and who is confused about how to revise a paper. It will explain how revising the thesis and topic sentences can make a paper more effective.

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The Effective Thesis

The thesis is, in many ways, the most important part of an essay. The thesis tells both the writer and the reader what the essay is about and what points the essay intends to prove. The PDF below discusses how to develop a thesis statement and provides some questions to consider when attempting to determine if a given thesis statement is strong or needs improvement. When reading through it, think about essays you have written and how the thesis statements in those essays match up with what is contained below.


Source: Creative Commons: Utah State University

The Effective Thesis: A Checklist

How does a writer know if he or she has developed an effective thesis? The following checklist provides five simple tests, with examples, to help determine if a thesis is strong. The below covers basics, including the structure of the thesis, as well as its relevance to the research question and other factors.


Source: Creative Commons: Mark Fullmer

Topic Sentences

Once an essay has an established thesis, the writer can then use topic sentences to introduce his or her support of that thesis and help guide the reader through the essay. The slideshow below will discuss the four important roles of a topic sentence and will provide examples of each. Among other things illustrated are how topic sentences should announce the contents of a paragraph and how topic sentences can be used to effectively transition from one paragraph to another.

Source: Dan Reade


Before any essay can move forward, it must have a thesis. And for any essay to move smoothly, it must use topic sentences. By studying the materials above, you should now know how to:

  • Develop a thesis.
  • Check the quality of a thesis.
  • Develop and use topic sentences.

With these skills, your essays should be more focused and more enjoyable for the reader.

Source: Dan Reade