How to Prepare a Thesis Statement for a History Dissertation

When students are preparing their thesis statement for a history dissertation, what are the points they should include in their statement? There are three components that are essential for the statement, What, How and Why?

The students should start by writing what the claims about the historical event or epic are. Then they should write the events, ideas and sources that are used to justify the claims that they are making. Then they should write why the understanding of the event is so important. One of the problems with history is that many readers tend to regard the understanding of historical events as being insignificant. But as many historians will tell you, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. That is why the WHY statement is more important than many people understand. Only when the WHY part is justified suitably would the project make sense. Otherwise the rationale for spending so much time and effort on a history project might be lost.

Then there is the issue of writing a strong thesis statement. This statement can be prepared by combining the HOW, the WHAT and the WHY. Many students write thesis statements that are a cliché and the facts of which are already known to the general public. Other thesis statements are too universal and broad in nature to make any sense. Some writers just tend to make a list of the historical events that they are examining. This is a boring way of writing a thesis statement and one that is guaranteed to put the reading audience off to sleep.

The best thesis statements are specific; they address a potential contradiction for which suitable arguments can be made; the arguments is structured in a logical manner; the statement is a bold one and one that challenges intellectuals; and the statement addresses all the components of the project.

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