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Workshop Resources: Thesis Statements & Outlines

This guide contains resources to complement various workshops offered for Divinity students

Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement should be a one sentence, declarative, controversial statement

Controversial meaning it is possible someone could disagree with it--you will have to ARGUE your case

Thesis Statement


Graphic depiction of a 5-paragraph essay: Introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion

Of course when you are writing a 15-20 page paper, it will be more than 5 paragraphs. But you can scaffold this out in various ways. Add additional Evidence Paragraphs, or make 3 Evidence Sections with multiple paragraphs each.


  1. Lead: One sentence that makes a general statement and tries to get the reader’s attention.

  2. Background Information: One or two sentences that give you some general information about the topic of the essay.

  3. Main Point of Paragraph: One or two sentences telling what your body paragraphs will discuss in the order they appear in the essay.

  4. Thesis Statement: One sentence that gives a clear, concise representation of your topic and argument

Evidence Paragraphs

  1. Topic Sentence: One sentence that tells the topic of the paragraph AND acts as a transition from the previous paragraph.

  2. Details/Examples/Support/Quotes/Evidence: Several sentences related to the topic of the paragraph

  3. Closing/Conclusion for the Paragraph: One sentence that relates to paragraph’s topic sentence and points back to the thesis.



  1. Restatement of Thesis: One sentence that restates the thesis from the introductory paragraph.

  2. Review of Main Points: One or two sentences that briefly reviews the main points from your body paragraphs.  No new information should be discussed here.

  3. Closing for Essay: One or two sentences that wrap up the essay so that there is a feeling of finality.