The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Political Science

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you to recognize and to follow writing standards in political science. The first step toward accomplishing this goal is to develop a basic understanding of political science and the kind of work political scientists do.

Defining politics and political science

Political scientist Harold Laswell said it best: at its most basic level, politics is the struggle of “who gets what, when, how.” This struggle may be as modest as competing interest groups fighting over control of a small municipal budget or as overwhelming as a military stand-off between international superpowers. Political scientists study such struggles, both small and large, in an effort to develop general principles or theories about the way the world of politics works. Think about the title of your course or re-read the course description in your syllabus. You’ll find that your course covers a particular sector of the large world of “politics” and brings with it a set of topics, issues, and approaches to information that may be helpful to consider as you begin a writing assignment. The diverse structure of political science reflects the diverse kinds of problems the discipline attempts to analyze and explain. In fact, political science includes at least eight major sub-fields:

  • American politics examines political behavior and institutions in the United States.
  • Comparative politics analyzes and compares political systems within and across different geographic regions.
  • International relations investigates relations among nation states and the activities of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and NATO, as well as international actors such as terrorists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and multi-national corporations (MNCs).
  • Political theory analyzes fundamental political concepts such as power and democracy and foundational questions, like “How should the individual and the state relate?”
  • Political methodology deals with the ways that political scientists ask and investigate questions.
  • Public policy examines the process by which governments make public decisions.
  • Public administration studies the ways that government policies are implemented.
  • Public law focuses on the role of law and courts in the political process.

What is scientific about political science?

Investigating relationships.

Although political scientists are prone to debate and disagreement, the majority view the discipline as a genuine science. As a result, political scientists generally strive to emulate the objectivity as well as the conceptual and methodological rigor typically associated with the so-called “hard” sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, and physics). They see themselves as engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions. Based on these revelations, they attempt to state general principles about the way the world of politics works. Given these aims, it is important for political scientists’ writing to be conceptually precise, free from bias, and well-substantiated by empirical evidence. Knowing that political scientists value objectivity may help you in making decisions about how to write your paper and what to put in it.

Political theory is an important exception to this empirical approach. You can learn more about writing for political theory classes in the section “Writing in Political Theory” below.

Building theories

Since theory-building serves as the cornerstone of the discipline, it may be useful to see how it works. You may be wrestling with theories or proposing your own as you write your paper. Consider how political scientists have arrived at the theories you are reading and discussing in your course. Most political scientists adhere to a simple model of scientific inquiry when building theories. The key to building precise and persuasive theories is to develop and test hypotheses. Hypotheses are statements that researchers construct for the purpose of testing whether or not a certain relationship exists between two phenomena. To see how political scientists use hypotheses, and to imagine how you might use a hypothesis to develop a thesis for your paper, consider the following example. Suppose that we want to know whether presidential elections are affected by economic conditions. We could formulate this question into the following hypothesis:

“When the national unemployment rate is greater than 7 percent at the time of the election, presidential incumbents are not reelected.”

Collecting data

In the research model designed to test this hypothesis, the dependent variable (the phenomenon that is affected by other variables) would be the reelection of incumbent presidents; the independent variable (the phenomenon that may have some effect on the dependent variable) would be the national unemployment rate. You could test the relationship between the independent and dependent variables by collecting data on unemployment rates and the reelection of incumbent presidents and comparing the two sets of information. If you found that in every instance that the national unemployment rate was greater than 7 percent at the time of a presidential election the incumbent lost, you would have significant support for our hypothesis.

However, research in political science seldom yields immediately conclusive results. In this case, for example, although in most recent presidential elections our hypothesis holds true, President Franklin Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 despite the fact that the national unemployment rate was 17%. To explain this important exception and to make certain that other factors besides high unemployment rates were not primarily responsible for the defeat of incumbent presidents in other election years, you would need to do further research. So you can see how political scientists use the scientific method to build ever more precise and persuasive theories and how you might begin to think about the topics that interest you as you write your paper.

Clear, consistent, objective writing

Since political scientists construct and assess theories in accordance with the principles of the scientific method, writing in the field conveys the rigor, objectivity, and logical consistency that characterize this method. Thus political scientists avoid the use of impressionistic or metaphorical language, or language which appeals primarily to our senses, emotions, or moral beliefs. In other words, rather than persuade you with the elegance of their prose or the moral virtue of their beliefs, political scientists persuade through their command of the facts and their ability to relate those facts to theories that can withstand the test of empirical investigation. In writing of this sort, clarity and concision are at a premium. To achieve such clarity and concision, political scientists precisely define any terms or concepts that are important to the arguments that they make. This precision often requires that they “operationalize” key terms or concepts. “Operationalizing” simply means that important—but possibly vague or abstract—concepts like “justice” are defined in ways that allow them to be measured or tested through scientific investigation.

Fortunately, you will generally not be expected to devise or operationalize key concepts entirely on your own. In most cases, your professor or the authors of assigned readings will already have defined and/or operationalized concepts that are important to your research. And in the event that someone hasn’t already come up with precisely the definition you need, other political scientists will in all likelihood have written enough on the topic that you’re investigating to give you some clear guidance on how to proceed. For this reason, it is always a good idea to explore what research has already been done on your topic before you begin to construct your own argument. See our handout on making an academic argument .

Example of an operationalized term

To give you an example of the kind of rigor and objectivity political scientists aim for in their writing, let’s examine how someone might operationalize a term. Reading through this example should clarify the level of analysis and precision that you will be expected to employ in your writing. Here’s how you might define key concepts in a way that allows us to measure them.

We are all familiar with the term “democracy.” If you were asked to define this term, you might make a statement like the following:

“Democracy is government by the people.”

You would, of course, be correct—democracy is government by the people. But, in order to evaluate whether or not a particular government is fully democratic or is more or less democratic when compared with other governments, we would need to have more precise criteria with which to measure or assess democracy. For example, here are some criteria that political scientists have suggested are indicators of democracy:

  • Freedom to form and join organizations
  • Freedom of expression
  • Right to vote
  • Eligibility for public office
  • Right of political leaders to compete for support
  • Right of political leaders to compete for votes
  • Alternative sources of information
  • Free and fair elections
  • Institutions for making government policies depend on votes and other expressions of preference

If we adopt these nine criteria, we now have a definition that will allow us to measure democracy empirically. Thus, if you want to determine whether Brazil is more democratic than Sweden, you can evaluate each country in terms of the degree to which it fulfills the above criteria.

What counts as good writing in political science?

While rigor, clarity, and concision will be valued in any piece of writing in political science, knowing the kind of writing task you’ve been assigned will help you to write a good paper. Two of the most common kinds of writing assignments in political science are the research paper and the theory paper.

Writing political science research papers

Your instructors use research paper assignments as a means of assessing your ability to understand a complex problem in the field, to develop a perspective on this problem, and to make a persuasive argument in favor of your perspective. In order for you to successfully meet this challenge, your research paper should include the following components:

  • An introduction
  • A problem statement
  • A discussion of methodology
  • A literature review
  • A description and evaluation of your research findings
  • A summary of your findings

Here’s a brief description of each component.

In the introduction of your research paper, you need to give the reader some basic background information on your topic that suggests why the question you are investigating is interesting and important. You will also need to provide the reader with a statement of the research problem you are attempting to address and a basic outline of your paper as a whole. The problem statement presents not only the general research problem you will address but also the hypotheses that you will consider. In the methodology section, you will explain to the reader the research methods you used to investigate your research topic and to test the hypotheses that you have formulated. For example, did you conduct interviews, use statistical analysis, rely upon previous research studies, or some combination of all of these methodological approaches?

Before you can develop each of the above components of your research paper, you will need to conduct a literature review. A literature review involves reading and analyzing what other researchers have written on your topic before going on to do research of your own. There are some very pragmatic reasons for doing this work. First, as insightful as your ideas may be, someone else may have had similar ideas and have already done research to test them. By reading what they have written on your topic, you can ensure that you don’t repeat, but rather learn from, work that has already been done. Second, to demonstrate the soundness of your hypotheses and methodology, you will need to indicate how you have borrowed from and/or improved upon the ideas of others.

By referring to what other researchers have found on your topic, you will have established a frame of reference that enables the reader to understand the full significance of your research results. Thus, once you have conducted your literature review, you will be in a position to present your research findings. In presenting these findings, you will need to refer back to your original hypotheses and explain the manner and degree to which your results fit with what you anticipated you would find. If you see strong support for your argument or perhaps some unexpected results that your original hypotheses cannot account for, this section is the place to convey such important information to your reader. This is also the place to suggest further lines of research that will help refine, clarify inconsistencies with, or provide additional support for your hypotheses. Finally, in the summary section of your paper, reiterate the significance of your research and your research findings and speculate upon the path that future research efforts should take.

Writing in political theory

Political theory differs from other subfields in political science in that it deals primarily with historical and normative, rather than empirical, analysis. In other words, political theorists are less concerned with the scientific measurement of political phenomena than with understanding how important political ideas develop over time. And they are less concerned with evaluating how things are than in debating how they should be. A return to our democracy example will make these distinctions clearer and give you some clues about how to write well in political theory.

Earlier, we talked about how to define democracy empirically so that it can be measured and tested in accordance with scientific principles. Political theorists also define democracy, but they use a different standard of measurement. Their definitions of democracy reflect their interest in political ideals—for example, liberty, equality, and citizenship—rather than scientific measurement. So, when writing about democracy from the perspective of a political theorist, you may be asked to make an argument about the proper way to define citizenship in a democratic society. Should citizens of a democratic society be expected to engage in decision-making and administration of government, or should they be satisfied with casting votes every couple of years?

In order to substantiate your position on such questions, you will need to pay special attention to two interrelated components of your writing: (1) the logical consistency of your ideas and (2) the manner in which you use the arguments of other theorists to support your own. First, you need to make sure that your conclusion and all points leading up to it follow from your original premises or assumptions. If, for example, you argue that democracy is a system of government through which citizens develop their full capacities as human beings, then your notion of citizenship will somehow need to support this broad definition of democracy. A narrow view of citizenship based exclusively or primarily on voting probably will not do. Whatever you argue, however, you will need to be sure to demonstrate in your analysis that you have considered the arguments of other theorists who have written about these issues. In some cases, their arguments will provide support for your own; in others, they will raise criticisms and concerns that you will need to address if you are going to make a convincing case for your point of view.

Drafting your paper

If you have used material from outside sources in your paper, be sure to cite them appropriately in your paper. In political science, writers most often use the APA or Turabian (a version of the Chicago Manual of Style) style guides when formatting references. Check with your instructor if they have not specified a citation style in the assignment. For more information on constructing citations, see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial.

Although all assignments are different, the preceding outlines provide a clear and simple guide that should help you in writing papers in any sub-field of political science. If you find that you need more assistance than this short guide provides, refer to the list of additional resources below or make an appointment to see a tutor at the Writing Center.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Becker, Howard S. 2007. Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article , 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cuba, Lee. 2002. A Short Guide to Writing About Social Science , 4th ed. New York: Longman.

Lasswell, Harold Dwight. 1936. Politics: Who Gets What, When, How . New York: McGraw-Hill.

Scott, Gregory M., and Stephen M. Garrison. 1998. The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual , 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Turabian, Kate. 2018. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, Dissertations , 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

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How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

  • Undergraduate
  • Honors Thesis

Writing Tips for Theses

Tips for writing a thesis proposal.

1. Find an area (or subfield) that interests you.

Look for a topic that combines personal excitement with scholarly potential. Does  your past work at Northwestern reflect themes that run through the choices you have made? Do you find yourself selecting classes on a general topic or returning to a subject repeatedly? Is there a question or an event that has really captured your attention, or something happening in the world that appears puzzling and that you would like to make sense of?

2. Transforming a topic into a research question

Most first efforts at formulating a research topic are either too specific or too broad.

Questions that are too specific have a yes, no, or fairly easily reached empirical question.  Examples of too specific questions include: Why was smoking in restaurants banned?  What led to President Nixon’s near impeachment? 

Broad questions, by contrast, lack focus and need to be narrowed and framed in a way that makes the topic researchable. The quickest way to make progress is to write a paragraph about the topic, and take it to Political Science faculty member to discuss.

As you reflect, ask yourself what specific concerns led you to the general issue? How did you first see the problem? What events stand out? Around what cases do the discussions revolve? Was there an important book, newspaper article or lecture that piqued your interest? Is there a recurrent argument about current affairs? Formulate questions with these specific facts in mind. Talk with others about the topic, including political science faculty members and TAs.

3. Formulate a research question in a way that widens its appeal.

Merely exploring a topic because it interests you is not enough; the thesis must pose a question that subsequent research attempts to answer or resolve. This question should be framed in a general way that highlights its importance. “Why was John Roberts confirmed to be a judge on the US Supreme Court” is probably too specific. It would be better to ask “What factors lead to success or failure in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices?” You may end up answering this question by looking at confirmation hearings across time or by a comparison of just two nominees. The key is that the question is important in its own right and that answering it provides insight that is useful beyond the specifics of the case.

Even with a carefully posed question, you still need to highlight its importance. Explain why it matters whether or not someone is confirmed for the US Supreme Court, and explain why confirmation is problematic enough to be worth 60 to 100 pages of analysis.

More advice on selecting a thesis topic and crafting a proposal are available at the following website:

http://www.charleslipson.com/How-to-write-a-thesis.htm

Concerning the Form of the Thesis

The watchword for writing a long research paper is  structure .  The format of your paper should reveal the structure of your thinking. Devices such as paragraphing, headings, indentation, and enumeration help your reader see the major points you want to make.

Headings can convey the major topics discussed in your paper. A research report typically contains four basic components:

  • Statement of the  problem  or theoretical question that gave rise to the research, and an explanation of why the problem or question is important to address.
  • Discussion of how the research was  designed  to clarify the problem
  • Analysis  of the data or information produced by the research
  • Summary  and conclusion of the study

Although you could include those sections in your report without separate headings, the underlying logic of your paper will be more readily apparent with headings that identify its basic components: (1) the problem, (2) research design, (3) data analysis, (4) summary and conclusion. Obviously, you can adjust or elaborate on these generic headings depending on your topic.

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence) 

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim 

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim 

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis 

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • picture_as_pdf Thesis

UCLA History Department

Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement.

Your thesis statement is one of the most important parts of your paper.  It expresses your main argument succinctly and explains why your argument is historically significant.  Think of your thesis as a promise you make to your reader about what your paper will argue.  Then, spend the rest of your paper–each body paragraph–fulfilling that promise.

Your thesis should be between one and three sentences long and is placed at the end of your introduction.  Just because the thesis comes towards the beginning of your paper does not mean you can write it first and then forget about it.  View your thesis as a work in progress while you write your paper.  Once you are satisfied with the overall argument your paper makes, go back to your thesis and see if it captures what you have argued.  If it does not, then revise it.  Crafting a good thesis is one of the most challenging parts of the writing process, so do not expect to perfect it on the first few tries.  Successful writers revise their thesis statements again and again.

A successful thesis statement:

  • makes an historical argument
  • takes a position that requires defending
  • is historically specific
  • is focused and precise
  • answers the question, “so what?”

How to write a thesis statement:

Suppose you are taking an early American history class and your professor has distributed the following essay prompt:

“Historians have debated the American Revolution’s effect on women.  Some argue that the Revolution had a positive effect because it increased women’s authority in the family.  Others argue that it had a negative effect because it excluded women from politics.  Still others argue that the Revolution changed very little for women, as they remained ensconced in the home.  Write a paper in which you pose your own answer to the question of whether the American Revolution had a positive, negative, or limited effect on women.”

Using this prompt, we will look at both weak and strong thesis statements to see how successful thesis statements work.

While this thesis does take a position, it is problematic because it simply restates the prompt.  It needs to be more specific about how  the Revolution had a limited effect on women and  why it mattered that women remained in the home.

Revised Thesis:  The Revolution wrought little political change in the lives of women because they did not gain the right to vote or run for office.  Instead, women remained firmly in the home, just as they had before the war, making their day-to-day lives look much the same.

This revision is an improvement over the first attempt because it states what standards the writer is using to measure change (the right to vote and run for office) and it shows why women remaining in the home serves as evidence of limited change (because their day-to-day lives looked the same before and after the war).  However, it still relies too heavily on the information given in the prompt, simply saying that women remained in the home.  It needs to make an argument about some element of the war’s limited effect on women.  This thesis requires further revision.

Strong Thesis: While the Revolution presented women unprecedented opportunities to participate in protest movements and manage their family’s farms and businesses, it ultimately did not offer lasting political change, excluding women from the right to vote and serve in office.

Few would argue with the idea that war brings upheaval.  Your thesis needs to be debatable:  it needs to make a claim against which someone could argue.  Your job throughout the paper is to provide evidence in support of your own case.  Here is a revised version:

Strong Thesis: The Revolution caused particular upheaval in the lives of women.  With men away at war, women took on full responsibility for running households, farms, and businesses.  As a result of their increased involvement during the war, many women were reluctant to give up their new-found responsibilities after the fighting ended.

Sexism is a vague word that can mean different things in different times and places.  In order to answer the question and make a compelling argument, this thesis needs to explain exactly what  attitudes toward women were in early America, and  how those attitudes negatively affected women in the Revolutionary period.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a negative impact on women because of the belief that women lacked the rational faculties of men. In a nation that was to be guided by reasonable republican citizens, women were imagined to have no place in politics and were thus firmly relegated to the home.

This thesis addresses too large of a topic for an undergraduate paper.  The terms “social,” “political,” and “economic” are too broad and vague for the writer to analyze them thoroughly in a limited number of pages.  The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women.  As “Republican Mothers,” women contributed to the polity by raising future citizens and nurturing virtuous husbands.  Consequently, women played a far more important role in the new nation’s politics than they had under British rule.

This thesis is off to a strong start, but it needs to go one step further by telling the reader why changes in these three areas mattered.  How did the lives of women improve because of developments in education, law, and economics?  What were women able to do with these advantages?  Obviously the rest of the paper will answer these questions, but the thesis statement needs to give some indication of why these particular changes mattered.

Strong Thesis: The Revolution had a positive impact on women because it ushered in improvements in female education, legal standing, and economic opportunity.  Progress in these three areas gave women the tools they needed to carve out lives beyond the home, laying the foundation for the cohesive feminist movement that would emerge in the mid-nineteenth century.

Thesis Checklist

When revising your thesis, check it against the following guidelines:

  • Does my thesis make an historical argument?
  • Does my thesis take a position that requires defending?
  • Is my thesis historically specific?
  • Is my thesis focused and precise?
  • Does my thesis answer the question, “so what?”

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how to write a political thesis statement

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

how to write a political thesis statement

What’s Covered:

What is the purpose of a thesis statement, writing a good thesis statement: 4 steps, common pitfalls to avoid, where to get your essay edited for free.

When you set out to write an essay, there has to be some kind of point to it, right? Otherwise, your essay would just be a big jumble of word salad that makes absolutely no sense. An essay needs a central point that ties into everything else. That main point is called a thesis statement, and it’s the core of any essay or research paper.

You may hear about Master degree candidates writing a thesis, and that is an entire paper–not to be confused with the thesis statement, which is typically one sentence that contains your paper’s focus. 

Read on to learn more about thesis statements and how to write them. We’ve also included some solid examples for you to reference.

Typically the last sentence of your introductory paragraph, the thesis statement serves as the roadmap for your essay. When your reader gets to the thesis statement, they should have a clear outline of your main point, as well as the information you’ll be presenting in order to either prove or support your point. 

The thesis statement should not be confused for a topic sentence , which is the first sentence of every paragraph in your essay. If you need help writing topic sentences, numerous resources are available. Topic sentences should go along with your thesis statement, though.

Since the thesis statement is the most important sentence of your entire essay or paper, it’s imperative that you get this part right. Otherwise, your paper will not have a good flow and will seem disjointed. That’s why it’s vital not to rush through developing one. It’s a methodical process with steps that you need to follow in order to create the best thesis statement possible.

Step 1: Decide what kind of paper you’re writing

When you’re assigned an essay, there are several different types you may get. Argumentative essays are designed to get the reader to agree with you on a topic. Informative or expository essays present information to the reader. Analytical essays offer up a point and then expand on it by analyzing relevant information. Thesis statements can look and sound different based on the type of paper you’re writing. For example:

  • Argumentative: The United States needs a viable third political party to decrease bipartisanship, increase options, and help reduce corruption in government.
  • Informative: The Libertarian party has thrown off elections before by gaining enough support in states to get on the ballot and by taking away crucial votes from candidates.
  • Analytical: An analysis of past presidential elections shows that while third party votes may have been the minority, they did affect the outcome of the elections in 2020, 2016, and beyond.

Step 2: Figure out what point you want to make

Once you know what type of paper you’re writing, you then need to figure out the point you want to make with your thesis statement, and subsequently, your paper. In other words, you need to decide to answer a question about something, such as:

  • What impact did reality TV have on American society?
  • How has the musical Hamilton affected perception of American history?
  • Why do I want to major in [chosen major here]?

If you have an argumentative essay, then you will be writing about an opinion. To make it easier, you may want to choose an opinion that you feel passionate about so that you’re writing about something that interests you. For example, if you have an interest in preserving the environment, you may want to choose a topic that relates to that. 

If you’re writing your college essay and they ask why you want to attend that school, you may want to have a main point and back it up with information, something along the lines of:

“Attending Harvard University would benefit me both academically and professionally, as it would give me a strong knowledge base upon which to build my career, develop my network, and hopefully give me an advantage in my chosen field.”

Step 3: Determine what information you’ll use to back up your point

Once you have the point you want to make, you need to figure out how you plan to back it up throughout the rest of your essay. Without this information, it will be hard to either prove or argue the main point of your thesis statement. If you decide to write about the Hamilton example, you may decide to address any falsehoods that the writer put into the musical, such as:

“The musical Hamilton, while accurate in many ways, leaves out key parts of American history, presents a nationalist view of founding fathers, and downplays the racism of the times.”

Once you’ve written your initial working thesis statement, you’ll then need to get information to back that up. For example, the musical completely leaves out Benjamin Franklin, portrays the founding fathers in a nationalist way that is too complimentary, and shows Hamilton as a staunch abolitionist despite the fact that his family likely did own slaves. 

Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing

Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and that you feel like you can truly write a paper on the topic. Once you’ve done that, you can then begin writing your paper.

When writing a thesis statement, there are some common pitfalls you should avoid so that your paper can be as solid as possible. Make sure you always edit the thesis statement before you do anything else. You also want to ensure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Don’t make your reader hunt for your point. Finally, put your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph and have your introduction flow toward that statement. Your reader will expect to find your statement in its traditional spot.

If you’re having trouble getting started, or need some guidance on your essay, there are tools available that can help you. CollegeVine offers a free peer essay review tool where one of your peers can read through your essay and provide you with valuable feedback. Getting essay feedback from a peer can help you wow your instructor or college admissions officer with an impactful essay that effectively illustrates your point.

how to write a political thesis statement

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how to write a political thesis statement

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Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

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Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

  • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
  • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
  • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

The paper that follows should:

  • Explain the analysis of the college admission process
  • Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

  • Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

  • Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

how to write a political thesis statement

How to Write a Thesis about Democracy

One of my subscribers, Nadir, is asking, “How do I write a thesis about democracy?”

That’s a great question.

We’re going to break this task into three steps. Let’s do it.

Step 1: We’re going to break up “democracy,” meaning the concept of democracy, into more manageable parts.

Step 2: We’re going to come up with an overall structure, which is almost an equivalent of creating an outline.

Step 3:  Finally, we’re going to write out the thesis statement. Let’s do it.

Step 1. How can we break democracy into manageable parts?

We’ll use the Power of Three because it’s the easiest way to break up a topic. The power of three just means using three supporting ideas as evidence in our body of the essay.

How can we divide democracy into three parts? How can we discuss democracy in three different ways or three different sections of a paper?

how to write a political thesis statement

Supporting Idea 1. Early origins.

These would be the origins of democracy that take their root in Ancient Greece.

Supporting Idea 2 .  Modern roots of today’s democracy.

So what would be the modern roots? The modern roots are the main thinkers of the Enlightenment and their ideas.

These are such prominent philosophers as John Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu.

The Age of Enlightenment is also known as the Age of Reason, and that is where today’s democracy really takes root.

Supporting Idea 3. Democracy today .

This would answer the question, how is today’s democracy different from democracy of the early origins, such as in ancient Greece, and during the Age of Enlightenment?

Step 2. Coming up with the overall structure.

We know that we have three sections because we used the power of three to get three supporting ideas. So, here is how we can structure our overall argument.

how to write a political thesis statement

In section 1 , we’re going to talk about the ancient Greek origins of democracy.

In section 2 , we’re going to talk about its modern roots.

In section 3 , we’ll discuss democracy today.

What will these sections contain?

In Section 1 , we’re really talking about Athenian democracy. And we can subdivide this topic into more than one subtopic.

In ancient Greece, principles with which we are familiar were born. These include voting for rulers and to pass legislation. This could be one subsection.

But we can also note some peculiarities of that ancient kind of democracy.

For example, only non-slave men could vote, which made up only about 10-15% of the population. 

As a result, we now have two subsections of main section 1. Essentially, we are talking about two things:

  • The familiar principles of Athenian democracy
  • The peculiarities of its early days

Section 2 is about the early modern roots of democracy.

We’re talking about some of the main thinkers. The two philosophers who come up right away if you do a search on Google are John Locke and Montesquieu.

These two names give us two subsections. See how it works?

Could we subdivide them further? How can we discuss Johns Locke and Montesquieu? Well, we can discuss them in terms of their ideas.

For example, John Locke was concerned with such concepts as equality, social contract, and private property. We can simply write about several concepts from each of these thinkers to have a neat little subsection about each one.

You can write a paragraph on equality, and then a paragraph on social contract, and so on.

how to write a political thesis statement

In order to discuss these thinkers, all we would have to do is discuss their ideas. Since each of them had more than one idea, this gives us a wonderful way to keep writing.

How much you want to subdivide your sections will depend on how big your paper has to be.

If you need only three to four pages, maybe you don’t have to go that deep. But if you have to write a 10-page or a 15-page paper, this way of dividing into subsections would be very helpful to you.

Section 3 is about Democracy today.

Modern democracy has its similarities to the Ancient Greek origins and to the early modern roots. It also has its differences from them.

The similarities can include some of the main ideas that remain constant at all times.

The differences can include some of the peculiarities of each time period, such as voter rights or electronic or mail-in voting.

And we’re ready to write out our thesis statement, based on all the preparatory work we just did.

Step 3. Writing out the thesis statement.

We are totally ready to write this thesis statement.

And here we are.

Democracy is an ancient principle that has undergone changes and that is practiced in today’s society. It originates in Ancient Greece but was rediscovered during the period of Enlightenment in Britain and France. While today’s democracy shares elements with the ancient and early modern forms, it has its own distinct traits.

Let’s take a closer look at this thesis statement.

The first sentence should summarize your entire essay completely and perfectly. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here.

The remaining sentences must outline the supporting points. We combined the first two supporting points in the second sentence. And the third sentence is devoted to the third supporting point.

Let’s take a look.

how to write a political thesis statement

And there you have it: three steps to going from one concept, which in this case is Democracy, to a full thesis statement.

I wrote a detailed tutorial on how to write a thesis statement on any topic . This would be your best next step.

Hope this was helpful!

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

JBirdwellBranson

Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire paper. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your paper or your topic, then it's likely due to a weak thesis statement.

Let's take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute . An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic.

Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness." These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they're really soft and fuzzy.

All cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it's crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).

Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn't be too big or too grand. It'll be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, "The federal government should act now on climate change." The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, "Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation." This is easier to work with because it's a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.

So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own. If you find that you're getting stuck or you are the type of person who needs to look at examples before you start something, then check out our list of thesis statement examples below.

Thesis statement examples

A quick note that these thesis statements have not been fully researched. These are merely examples to show you what a thesis statement might look like and how you can implement your own ideas into one that you think of independently. As such, you should not use these thesis statements for your own research paper purposes. They are meant to be used as examples only.

  • Vaccinations Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.
  • Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don't forget what they've learned throughout the school year.
  • School Uniforms School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.
  • Populism The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Public Libraries Libraries are essential resources for communities and should be funded more heavily by local municipalities.
  • Cyber Bullying With more and more teens using smartphones and social media, cyber bullying is on the rise. Cyber bullying puts a lot of stress on many teens, and can cause depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Parents should limit the usage of smart phones, monitor their children's online activity, and report any cyber bullying to school officials in order to combat this problem.
  • Medical Marijuana for Veterans Studies have shown that the use of medicinal marijuana has been helpful to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Medicinal marijuana prescriptions should be legal in all states and provided to these veterans. Additional medical or therapy services should also be researched and implemented in order to help them re-integrate back into civilian life.
  • Work-Life Balance Corporations should provide more work from home opportunities and six-hour workdays so that office workers have a better work-life balance and are more likely to be productive when they are in the office.
  • Teaching Youths about Consensual Sex Although sex education that includes a discussion of consensual sex would likely lead to less sexual assault, parents need to teach their children the meaning of consent from a young age with age appropriate lessons.
  • Whether or Not to Attend University A degree from a university provides invaluable lessons on life and a future career, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend a university directly after graduation. Some students may benefit from a trade school or a "gap year" where they can think more intensely about what it is they want to do for a career and how they can accomplish this.
  • Studying Abroad Studying abroad is one of the most culturally valuable experiences you can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own.
  • Women's Body Image Magazines have done a lot in the last five years to include a more diverse group of models, but there is still a long way to go to promote a healthy woman's body image collectively as a culture.
  • Cigarette Tax Heavily taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes is essentially a tax on the poorest Americans, and it doesn't deter them from purchasing. Instead, the state and federal governments should target those economically disenfranchised with early education about the dangers of smoking.
  • Veganism A vegan diet, while a healthy and ethical way to consume food, indicates a position of privilege. It also limits you to other cultural food experiences if you travel around the world.
  • University Athletes Should be Compensated University athletes should be compensated for their service to the university, as it is difficult for these students to procure and hold a job with busy academic and athletic schedules. Many student athletes on scholarship also come from low-income neighborhoods and it is a struggle to make ends meet when they are participating in athletics.
  • Women in the Workforce Sheryl Sandberg makes a lot of interesting points in her best-selling book, Lean In , but she only addressed the very privileged working woman and failed to speak to those in lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.
  • Assisted Suicide Assisted suicide should be legal and doctors should have the ability to make sure their patients have the end-of-life care that they want to receive.
  • Celebrity and Political Activism Although Taylor Swift's lyrics are indicative of a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active and vocal to use her position of power for the betterment of society.
  • The Civil War The insistence from many Southerners that the South seceded from the Union for states' rights versus the fact that they seceded for the purposes of continuing slavery is a harmful myth that still affects race relations today.
  • Blue Collar Workers Coal miners and other blue-collar workers whose jobs are slowly disappearing from the workforce should be re-trained in jobs in the technology sector or in renewable energy. A program to re-train these workers would not only improve local economies where jobs have been displaced, but would also lead to lower unemployment nationally.
  • Diversity in the Workforce Having a diverse group of people in an office setting leads to richer ideas, more cooperation, and more empathy between people with different skin colors or backgrounds.
  • Re-Imagining the Nuclear Family The nuclear family was traditionally defined as one mother, one father, and 2.5 children. This outdated depiction of family life doesn't quite fit with modern society. The definition of normal family life shouldn't be limited to two-parent households.
  • Digital Literacy Skills With more information readily available than ever before, it's crucial that students are prepared to examine the material they're reading and determine whether or not it's a good source or if it has misleading information. Teaching students digital literacy and helping them to understand the difference between opinion or propaganda from legitimate, real information is integral.
  • Beauty Pageants Beauty pageants are presented with the angle that they empower women. However, putting women in a swimsuit on a stage while simultaneously judging them on how well they answer an impossible question in a short period of time is cruel and purely for the amusement of men. Therefore, we should stop televising beauty pageants.
  • Supporting More Women to Run for a Political Position In order to get more women into political positions, more women must run for office. There must be a grassroots effort to educate women on how to run for office, who among them should run, and support for a future candidate for getting started on a political career.

Still stuck? Need some help with your thesis statement?

If you are still uncertain about how to write a thesis statement or what a good thesis statement is, be sure to consult with your teacher or professor to make sure you're on the right track. It's always a good idea to check in and make sure that your thesis statement is making a solid argument and that it can be supported by your research.

After you're done writing, it's important to have someone take a second look at your paper so that you can ensure there are no mistakes or errors. It's difficult to spot your own mistakes, which is why it's always recommended to have someone help you with the revision process, whether that's a teacher, the writing center at school, or a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape .

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“WE WILL RISE AGAIN”: LOST CAUSE NARRATIVES IN THE UNITED STATES AND EASTERN EUROPE

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how to write a political thesis statement

  • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • The Lost Cause refers to a narrative developed in the post-Civil War American South which sought to portray the Confederacy as heroic while marginalizing the role of slavery in the war. Historian David Blight identified three key elements of the Lost Cause narrative: efforts to write and control history, the use of white supremacy as both a means and ends, and the critical role of women in its development. Using Blight’s definition, this thesis seeks to demonstrate that Lost Cause narratives are not unique to the United States and can be found in a variety of global postwar contexts. Specifically, this paper intends to illustrate the existence of Lost Cause narratives in Eastern Europe, using the case studies of Hungary and Serbia as examples.
  • memory politics
  • Political science
  • East European studies
  • European studies
  • Eastern Europe
  • https://doi.org/10.17615/8q9s-zt98
  • Masters Thesis
  • In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted
  • Searing, Donald
  • Moroff, Holger
  • Jenkins, Robert
  • Master of Arts
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School

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Attempted assassination of Slovak prime minister follows country’s slide into political polarization

how to write a political thesis statement

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The assassination attempt against Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has been widely condemned by world leaders as an attack on democracy.

In Slovakia, the violent act similarly saw a unified response from the country’s deeply divided political leaders. But how long this lasts is uncertain. Just as outgoing Slovakian president – and Fico rival – Zuzana Čaputová called for an end to the “vicious circle of hatred and mutual accusations,” Fico allies lambasted the country’s media and opposition for whipping up tensions.

As an expert on politics in central Europe , I have been interested in how liberal social movements in Slovakia have reacted to the rise of populist rhetoric and policy that Fico exemplified. This research has laid bare not only the increasing move to the right of once center and center-right politicians, but also how this has helped create a polarized political environment.

Who is Robert Fico?

Robert Fico has long been a controversial figure in Slovakia, a central Eastern European country of about 5.4 million people and a member of the European Union.

A former member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Fico and his colleagues founded the Party SMER, or “Direction,” in the late 1990s as a leftist party that was critical of Slovakia’s right-wing government at the time. The party also maintained an anti-corruption message and used this to gain popularity in the early 2000s, becoming one of the most dominant parties in Slovak politics.

Fico first became prime minister in 2006 . But it is since returning to power in 2012 that he has been seen as a polarizing figure in Slovak politics.

In 2018, Fico was forced to resign following the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova , in their apartment just outside of Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital.

Prior to his murder, Kuciak alleged that SMER was engaged in corruption involving the Italian Mafia and the embezzlement of EU funds. In 2020, five people, one of whom had links to political figures, were charged with the murders.

Fico has denied these corruption charges. Yet the murders and accusations of corruption led to mass protests against the government and continue to resonate today.

Polarized politics

Despite Fico’s resignation over the issue, the country continued to be politically polarized.

In 2019, Čaputová of the party Progressive Slovakia was elected as the first female president. But a year later, Slovakia saw the election of the most conservative parliament in modern Slovak history.

This pitted Čaputová’s liberal agenda against the right-wing parties in government.

Right-wing parties have allied with the Catholic Church and conservative organizations to attack gender equality measures and LGBTQ+ rights and place restrictions on reproductive rights .

The focus on culture war issues has been accompanied by a coarsening of the political debate in Slovakia.

Hateful rhetoric is commonly used in political campaigns to oppose women’s rights, gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights. This rhetoric has contributed to further polarization .

A man lies on the ground with security guards above him.

And even before the attack on Fico, there was evidence that the heightened rhetoric was developing into politically motivated violence. In 2022, two members of the LGBTQ+ community were murdered at a bar in Bratislava by a known supporter of the far right.

Nevertheless, Fico continued to rely on populist rhetoric opposing civil liberties in his 2023 election campaign.

By then, he had returned to the spotlight by opposing public health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed by his widely publicized opposition to sending military aid to Ukraine after Russia’s 2022 invasion. At a time when some of Slovakia’s closest allies, such as Poland and Czechia, wholeheartedly supported Ukraine’s efforts against Russian aggression, Fico ran on a campaign of supporting Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Vladimir Putin’s politics against the West.

This messaging proved popular and allowed him to return to power in 2023, with his populist party winning 23% of the vote and becoming the largest party in a right-wing coalition government.

An attack on democracy

Since returning to power, Fico has shown no desire to dial down the culture wars that have split Slovakian society. Rather, his primary focus has been on abolishing and restructuring government agencies and entities that have been critical of his policies.

In February 2024, he moved to shut down Slovakia’s anti-corruption body and abolish the special prosecutor’s office that investigates corruption – a decision that not only drew rebuke from the European Union but also brought Slovaks back out into the streets in protest.

He has also made moves to shut down Slovak Television and Radio, or STVR, and replace it with a state-run TV channel.

Taken together, Fico’s efforts to curb civil liberties and repress opposition have been seen as part of a process to transform Slovakia into an illiberal democracy , much in the mold of Orban’s Hungary.

There is much yet to learn about the motivations and circumstances surrounding the assassination attempt on Fico. But officials have said that it was “politically motivated ,” linking it to his divisive policies.

Any display of political violence is, as world leaders have noted , an attempt to undermine democracy. In Slovakia, where political polarization is high, these divisive politics have been shown to, unfortunately, lead to violent outcomes.

  • Assassination
  • European politics
  • Political violence
  • Central Europe
  • Robert Fico

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  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 1: Start with a question. You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis, early in the writing process. As soon as you've decided on your essay topic, you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

  2. PDF ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL THEORY PAPER

    ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL POLITICAL THEORY PAPER. 1. ARCHITECTURE. A successful political theory paper in part depends to a huge extent on its architecture: the introduction (1.1), thesis statement (1.2), body (1.3) and conclusion (1.4). Understanding the role that each of these components are meant to play within the essay will hopefully aid ...

  3. Developing A Thesis

    A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay. Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication.

  4. PDF Writing for Political Science

    3) Expectations of Political Science professors. The essay is well structured. This means that the thesis statement is well supported throughout the essay by well developed points. More analysis than description - this is particularly true for citations. Avoid integrating a citation without appropriate analysis and explanation of its ...

  5. PDF A Guide to Writing a Senior Thesis in Government

    tions about the process of thesis writing and honors determination, as well as to provide ... Potential thesis writers are often tempted to write a piece of direct political or policy advocacy. Try not to succumb to this temptation. ... statements and stories and found that the administration originated 23 of 27 distinct arguments for going

  6. PDF Guide to Writing Thesis Statements

    Basic Guidelines for Thesis Statements: 1. Thesis statements must make a claim or argument rather than merely stating facts. They are not. statements of fact (because you couldn't write a paper about a statement of fact). Reasonable people should be able to disagree with you. Examples of statements of fact which are NOT good thesis statements: a.

  7. Political Science

    Defining politics and political science. Political scientist Harold Laswell said it best: at its most basic level, politics is the struggle of "who gets what, when, how.". This struggle may be as modest as competing interest groups fighting over control of a small municipal budget or as overwhelming as a military stand-off between ...

  8. PDF Writing in Political Science

    Formulating Hypotheses: Where the thesis is general, hypotheses are specific. If you presume that your thesis is correct, then you should be able to make a number of specific statements about how the data (reality) ought to look. The easiest way to think about hypotheses are as if-then

  9. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Even if your assignment doesn't ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you'd like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you'd like to write about. A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  10. Writing Tips for Theses

    3. Formulate a research question in a way that widens its appeal. Merely exploring a topic because it interests you is not enough; the thesis must pose a question that subsequent research attempts to answer or resolve. This question should be framed in a general way that highlights its importance.

  11. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  12. Thesis Statements

    How to write a thesis statement: ... The thesis might focus on one of those concepts, or it might narrow the emphasis to some specific features of social, political, and economic change. Strong Thesis: The Revolution paved the way for important political changes for women. As "Republican Mothers," women contributed to the polity by raising ...

  13. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement: 4 Steps + Examples

    Step 4: Revise and refine your thesis statement before you start writing. Read through your thesis statement several times before you begin to compose your full essay. You need to make sure the statement is ironclad, since it is the foundation of the entire paper. Edit it or have a peer review it for you to make sure everything makes sense and ...

  14. PDF A Guide to Writing a Thesis in Political Science or International

    In the Political Science and International Relations Department, you must write a Senior Thesis to receive departmental honors. The Senior Thesis is a process that begins in your junior year. In the spring semester of your junior year, you apply to write a thesis (see instructions below). If your proposal is approved, you register for POLS 350 ...

  15. PDF How to Write a Political Science Research Proposal

    2) The Literature Review. • Focus on scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources: instructors will usually provide guidelines to let you know the minimum number of books and peer-reviewed articles. • The lit review is both the hardest and easiest part of a research proposal. o It's easiest in the sense that it's pretty easy to do a search on ...

  16. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement. 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.; An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.; An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies ...

  17. PDF How to Write a Senior Thesis (Second Draft)

    more evidence, and more writing. Rather, your thesis requires more methodology. In a nutshell, that is what this handbook is meant to provide. To this end, there are several things that this handbook is not. It is not a handbook on the nuts and bolts of writing a thesis at Boston College. It will not discuss what requirement writing a

  18. PDF Thesis Writing Guidelines

    Sections, like paragraphs, should have both coherence and cohesion, and should make use of appropriate linguistic devices to lead the reader logically and clearly through the stages of the writer's analysis or exposition. 4. Language and Style. The thesis should be written in an appropriate formal academic style.

  19. PDF Essay Planning: How to Develop a Working Thesis Statement

    Thesis statements have three parts: the topic, the claim, and the major points. The claim is your argument, opinion, or stance that will be supported by your evidence and examples. You present the evidence in the list of major points. Examine the thesis statements below. forced it to create more. animals.

  20. How to Write a Thesis about Democracy

    Let's do it. Step 1: We're going to break up "democracy," meaning the concept of democracy, into more manageable parts. Step 2: We're going to come up with an overall structure, which is almost an equivalent of creating an outline. Step 3: Finally, we're going to write out the thesis statement. Let's do it.

  21. 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

    What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute. An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic. Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's ...

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    Social media can be used to point people to credible news sources and to organize real political activities. But most of the time it is not. Junk food harms your body; junk information and junk ...

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    The thesis writing service cost can vary significantly based on the topic's complexity, the thesis's length, the level of expertise required, and the timeframe for completion. Master Thesis Price: Generally, the cost of master's theses in the UK can range from £800 to over £3,000. Factors that influence the price include the field of study ...

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    A new kind of uprising. Unlike those of the 1980s, the current uprising was not planned and organised by leaders of the movement. It is a spontaneous and sustained popular outburst. This is also ...

  25. Dissertation or Thesis

    Using Blight's definition, this thesis seeks to demonstrate that Lost Cause narratives are not unique to the United States and can be found in a variety of global postwar contexts. Specifically, this paper intends to illustrate the existence of Lost Cause narratives in Eastern Europe, using the case studies of Hungary and Serbia as examples.

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    Published: May 10, 2024 8:28am EDT. "Sudan's moment has come; chaos is our chance to sow the seeds of jihad," warned Abu Hudhaifa al-Sudani, a high-ranking al-Qaida leader, in an October ...

  28. Attempted assassination of Slovak prime minister follows country's

    Published: May 17, 2024 9:02am EDT. X (Twitter) The assassination attempt against Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico has been widely condemned by world leaders as an attack on democracy. In ...