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8 Purpose and Thesis

Speechwriting Essentials

In this chapter . . .

As discussed in the chapter on Speaking Occasion , speechwriting begins with careful analysis of the speech occasion and its given circumstances, leading to the choice of an appropriate topic. As with essay writing, the early work of speechwriting follows familiar steps: brainstorming, research, pre-writing, thesis, and so on.

This chapter focuses on techniques that are unique to speechwriting. As a spoken form, speeches must be clear  about the purpose and main idea or “takeaway.” Planned redundancy means that you will be repeating these elements several times over during the speech.

Furthermore, finding purpose and thesis are essential whether you’re preparing an outline for extemporaneous delivery or a completely written manuscript for presentation. When you know your topic, your general and specific purpose, and your thesis or central idea, you have all the elements you need to write a speech that is focused, clear, and audience friendly.

Recognizing the General Purpose

Speeches have traditionally been grouped into one of three categories according to their primary purpose: 1) to inform, 2) to persuade, or 3) to inspire, honor, or entertain. These broad goals are commonly known as the  general purpose of a speech . Earlier, you learned about the actor’s tool of intention or objectives. The general purpose is like a super-objective; it defines the broadest goal of a speech. These three purposes are not necessarily exclusive to the others. A speech designed to be persuasive can also be informative and entertaining. However, a speech should have one primary goal. That is its general purpose.

Why is it helpful to talk about speeches in such broad terms? Being perfectly clear about what you want your speech to do or make happen for your audience will keep you focused. You can make a clearer distinction between whether you want your audience to leave your speech knowing more (to inform), or  ready to take action (to persuade), or feeling something (to inspire)

It’s okay to use synonyms for these broad categories. Here are some of them:

  • To inform could be to explain, to demonstrate, to describe, to teach.
  • To persuade could be to convince, to argue, to motivate, to prove.
  • To inspire might be to honor, or entertain, to celebrate, to mourn.

In summary, the first question you must ask yourself when starting to prepare a speech is, “Is the primary purpose of my speech to inform, to persuade, or to inspire?”

Articulating Specific Purpose

A specific purpose statement builds upon your general purpose and makes it specific (as the name suggests). For example, if you have been invited to give a speech about how to do something, your general purpose is “to inform.”  Choosing a topic appropriate to that general purpose, you decide to speak about how to protect a personal from cyberattacks. Now you are on your way to identifying a specific purpose.

A good specific purpose statement has three elements: goal, target audience, and content.

If you think about the above as a kind of recipe, then the first two “ingredients” — your goal and your audience — should be simple. Words describing the target audience should be as specific as possible. Instead of “my peers,” you could say, for example, “students in their senior year at my university.”

The third ingredient in this recipe is content, or what we call the topic of your speech. This is where things get a bit difficult. You want your content to be specific and something that you can express succinctly in a sentence. Here are some common problems that speakers make in defining the content, and the fix:

Now you know the “recipe” for a specific purpose statement. It’s made up of  T o, plus an active W ord, a specific  A udience, and clearly stated  C ontent. Remember this formula: T + W + A + C.

A: for a group of new students

C: the term “plagiarism”

Here are some further examples a good specific purpose statement:

  • To explain to a group of first-year students how to join a school organization.
  • To persuade the members of the Greek society to take a spring break trip in Daytona Beach.
  • To motivate my classmates in English 101 to participate in a study abroad program.
  • To convince first-year students that they need at least seven hours of sleep per night to do well in their studies.
  • To inspire my Church community about the accomplishments of our pastor.

The General and Specific Purpose Statements are writing tools in the sense that they help you, as a speechwriter, clarify your ideas.

Creating a Thesis Statement

Once you are clear about your general purpose and specific purpose, you can turn your attention to crafting a thesis statement. A thesis is the central idea in an essay or a speech. In speechwriting, the thesis or central idea explains the message of the content. It’s the speech’s “takeaway.” A good thesis statement will also reveal and clarify the ideas or assertions you’ll be addressing in your speech (your main points). Consider this example:

General Purpose: To persuade. Specific Purpose: To motivate my classmates in English 101 to participate in a study abroad program. Thesis: A semester-long study abroad experience produces lifelong benefits by teaching you about another culture, developing your language skills, and enhancing your future career prospects.

The difference between a specific purpose statement and a thesis statement is clear in this example. The thesis provides the takeaway (the lifelong benefits of study abroad). It also points to the assertions that will be addressed in the speech. Like the specific purpose statement, the thesis statement is a writing tool. You’ll incorporate it into your speech, usually as part of the introduction and conclusion.

All good expository, rhetorical, and even narrative writing contains a thesis. Many students and even experienced writers struggle with formulating a thesis. We struggle when we attempt to “come up with something” before doing the necessary research and reflection. A thesis only becomes clear through the thinking and writing process. As you develop your speech content, keep asking yourself: What is important here? If the audience can remember only one thing about this topic, what do I want them to remember?

Example #2: General Purpose: To inform Specific Purpose: To demonstrate to my audience the correct method for cleaning a computer keyboard. Central Idea: Your computer keyboard needs regular cleaning to function well, and you can achieve that in four easy steps.
Example # 3 General Purpose: To Inform Specific Purpose: To describe how makeup is done for the TV show The Walking Dead . Central Idea: The wildly popular zombie show The Walking Dead achieves incredibly scary and believable makeup effects, and in the next few minutes I will tell you who does it, what they use, and how they do it.

Notice in the examples above that neither the specific purpose nor the central idea ever exceeds one sentence. If your central idea consists of more than one sentence, then you are probably including too much information.

Problems to Avoid

The first problem many students have in writing their specific purpose statement has already been mentioned: specific purpose statements sometimes try to cover far too much and are too broad. For example:

“To explain to my classmates the history of ballet.”

Aside from the fact that this subject may be difficult for everyone in your audience to relate to, it’s enough for a three-hour lecture, maybe even a whole course. You’ll probably find that your first attempt at a specific purpose statement will need refining. These examples are much more specific and much more manageable given the limited amount of time you’ll have.

  • To explain to my classmates how ballet came to be performed and studied in the U.S.
  • To explain to my classmates the difference between Russian and French ballet.
  • To explain to my classmates how ballet originated as an art form in the Renaissance.
  • To explain to my classmates the origin of the ballet dancers’ clothing.

The second problem happens when the “communication verb” in the specific purpose does not match the content; for example, persuasive content is paired with “to inform” or “to explain.” Can you find the errors in the following purpose statements?

  • To inform my audience why capital punishment is unconstitutional. (This is persuasive. It can’t be informative since it’s taking a side)
  • To persuade my audience about the three types of individual retirement accounts. (Even though the purpose statement says “persuade,” it isn’t persuading the audience of anything. It is informative.)
  • To inform my classmates that Universal Studios is a better theme park than Six Flags over Georgia. (This is clearly an opinion; hence it is a persuasive speech and not merely informative)

The third problem exists when the content part of the specific purpose statement has two parts. One specific purpose is enough. These examples cover two different topics.

  • To explain to my audience how to swing a golf club and choose the best golf shoes.
  • To persuade my classmates to be involved in the Special Olympics and vote to fund better classes for the intellectually disabled.

To fix this problem of combined or hybrid purposes, you’ll need to select one of the topics in these examples and speak on that one alone.

The fourth problem with both specific purpose and central idea statements is related to formatting. There are some general guidelines that need to be followed in terms of how you write out these elements of your speech:

  • Don’t write either statement as a question.
  • Always use complete sentences for central idea statements and infinitive phrases (beginning with “to”) for the specific purpose statement.
  • Use concrete language (“I admire Beyoncé for being a talented performer and businesswoman”) and avoid subjective or slang terms (“My speech is about why I think Beyoncé is the bomb”) or jargon and acronyms (“PLA is better than CBE for adult learners.”)

There are also problems to avoid in writing the central idea statement. As mentioned above, remember that:

  • The specific purpose and central idea statements are not the same thing, although they are related.
  • The central idea statement should be clear and not complicated or wordy; it should “stand out” to the audience. As you practice delivery, you should emphasize it with your voice.
  • The central idea statement should not be the first thing you say but should follow the steps of a good introduction as outlined in the next chapters.

You should be aware that all aspects of your speech are constantly going to change as you move toward the moment of giving your speech. The exact wording of your central idea may change, and you can experiment with different versions for effectiveness. However, your specific purpose statement should not change unless there is a good reason to do so. There are many aspects to consider in the seemingly simple task of writing a specific purpose statement and its companion, the central idea statement. Writing good ones at the beginning will save you some trouble later in the speech preparation process.

Public Speaking as Performance Copyright © 2023 by Mechele Leon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Thesis Statement Examples for Informative Essay, How to Write, Tips

informative essay thesis statement examples

What is an Informative Essay Thesis Statement? – Definition

What is the best thesis statement example for informative essay, 100 thesis statement examples for informative essay.

  • “The history of the printing press revolutionized human communication, transforming societal structures and information dissemination.”
  • “Solar energy, derived from the sun’s rays, offers a sustainable and environmentally friendly power source, with numerous applications in modern society.”
  • “The water cycle is a continuous process, consisting of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection, crucial to Earth’s climate and ecosystem.”
  • “Ancient Egyptian mummification was a detailed ritual, embodying religious beliefs, preparations for the afterlife, and sophisticated preservation techniques.”
  • “Quantum mechanics delves into the behavior of subatomic particles, challenging traditional physics and introducing concepts like superposition and entanglement.”
  • “The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, boasts biodiversity, faces environmental threats, and is crucial for global marine ecology.”
  • “Yoga, originating from ancient India, promotes physical, mental, and spiritual wellness, with various forms tailored to different needs.”
  • “The Silk Road was a vast network of trade routes connecting Asia and Europe, facilitating the exchange of goods, cultures, and ideas.”
  • “Chocolates, beyond being a delightful treat, have a rich history, production process, and health benefits when consumed in moderation.”
  • “Mental health is a multifaceted topic, encompassing emotional, psychological, and social well-being, with various factors influencing one’s mental state.”
  • “Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance polymath, contributed to art, science, and engineering, with masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and inventions ahead of his time.”
  • “Pandas, native to China, play a significant role in global conservation efforts due to their endangered status and ecological importance.”
  • “Photography, since its inception, has evolved in techniques and styles, influencing society’s perception of reality and memory.”
  • “Green architecture integrates eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient designs to minimize environmental impact and promote sustainability.”
  • “Sleep is a vital physiological process, with stages like REM and deep sleep, affecting cognitive function, mood, and overall health.”
  • “Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, has cultural significance, mathematical principles, and therapeutic benefits.”
  • “The evolution of human language encompasses physiological changes, societal developments, and the emergence of linguistic diversity.”
  • “The Internet, from ARPANET to today’s global network, has transformed communication, business, and entertainment, shaping the modern world.”
  • “Black holes, mysterious cosmic entities, are regions of spacetime exhibiting gravitational forces from which nothing can escape, not even light.”
  • “Jazz, an original American art form, draws from various music styles, influencing culture, civil rights movements, and global music scenes.”
  • “Vaccination, a cornerstone of modern medicine, employs weakened or inactivated germs to train the immune system against diseases.”
  • “Greek mythology, a rich tapestry of gods, heroes, and monsters, played a central role in ancient Greek religion and culture.”
  • “Artificial intelligence, the simulation of human intelligence in machines, has applications in healthcare, finance, and more, heralding a new technological age.”
  • “Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, has a complex geology, history of expeditions, and challenges related to climbing and environmental conservation.”
  • “Ballet, a classical dance form, has evolved over centuries, boasting different styles, techniques, and a profound impact on global dance culture.”
  • “Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is a focus of space exploration, with studies on its atmosphere, geology, and potential for life.”
  • “The Amazon Rainforest, Earth’s largest tropical rainforest, houses unparalleled biodiversity and plays a pivotal role in the global climate system.”
  • “The human brain, a marvel of evolution, is responsible for cognition, emotion, and consciousness, with regions dedicated to specific functions.”
  • “The French Revolution, a tumultuous period in history, brought about political, social, and economic upheavals, shaping modern democracy.”
  • “The Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River, showcases layers of Earth’s history, geology, and offers a haven for biodiversity.”
  • “Hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil, utilizes nutrient-rich water, offering solutions for urban farming and food scarcity.”
  • “The Mona Lisa, beyond its fame as a painting, carries stories of its creation, theft, and cultural significance in art history.”
  • “Quantum computing harnesses principles of quantum mechanics, promising breakthroughs in processing speed, cryptography, and complex problem-solving.”
  • “The phenomenon of bioluminescence, seen in various marine creatures, is a chemical reaction that produces light, aiding in camouflage, prey attraction, and communication.”
  • “The pyramids of Egypt, marvels of ancient engineering, were built as tombs for pharaohs, reflecting the civilization’s religious beliefs and technological prowess.”
  • “Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter on an atomic scale, holds promise for medical treatments, electronics, and materials science.”
  • “The Roaring Twenties, a decade post-WWI, were marked by cultural shifts, economic prosperity, jazz, and the onset of the Great Depression.”
  • “Sushi, a staple of Japanese cuisine, has a history spanning centuries, varying styles, and a globalized presence in today’s culinary landscape.”
  • “Vincent van Gogh, though tormented in life, produced masterpieces like ‘Starry Night’, influencing modern art with his unique style and technique.”
  • “The concept of zero, integral to mathematics, originated from ancient civilizations, influencing arithmetic, algebra, and our understanding of the universe.”
  • “Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is vital for ecosystem stability, human survival, and indicates the planet’s health.”
  • “The Industrial Revolution marked a shift from agrarian societies to industrial urban centers, revolutionizing technology, society, and the global economy.”
  • “Volcanoes, nature’s fiery vents, have diverse types and formation processes, playing roles in Earth’s geology and influencing climates.”
  • “The human genome, our genetic blueprint, has been mapped, offering insights into genetics, evolution, and potentials for personalized medicine.”
  • “Shakespeare’s works, from tragedies to comedies, offer insights into human nature, love, power, and have profoundly influenced literature and language.”
  • “Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese therapy, involves inserting needles at specific points to balance energy and treat various ailments.”
  • “The Antarctic, a frozen frontier, is crucial for climate research, housing unique ecosystems and holding mysteries beneath its ice.”
  • “Meditation, a practice of focused attention, offers benefits like stress reduction, improved cognition, and greater self-awareness.”
  • “The Periodic Table organizes chemical elements based on atomic number, guiding our understanding of chemistry, reactions, and element properties.”
  • “The concept of time, from sundials to atomic clocks, has been central to human civilizations, influencing cultures, sciences, and daily life.
  • “Gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms living in our intestines, has profound implications on our health, mood, and disease susceptibility.”
  • “The Renaissance, spanning the 14th to 17th century, marked a cultural awakening in art, science, and thought, laying the foundation for the modern world.”
  • “Artificial neural networks, inspired by the human brain, form the basis of deep learning, propelling advancements in image recognition, language translation, and more.”
  • “The concept of relativity, introduced by Einstein, transformed our understanding of time, space, and the universe, challenging Newtonian physics.”
  • “The cultural and religious festival of Diwali, celebrated predominantly in India, signifies the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.”
  • “J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ not only narrates an epic tale of heroism but delves deep into themes of friendship, power, and corruption.”
  • “Climate change, driven primarily by human activities, has far-reaching consequences on weather patterns, sea levels, and global ecosystems.”
  • “Impressionism, an art movement in the 19th century, captures fleeting moments with loose brushwork, championed by artists like Monet and Renoir.”
  • “Holography, the science of producing three-dimensional images, has applications in medicine, art, and data storage, promising future advancements.”
  • “The discovery of DNA’s double helix structure by Watson and Crick revolutionized biology, paving the way for genetic research and biotechnological innovations.”
  • “Coffee, beyond a popular beverage, has a rich history of cultivation, trade, and cultural significance across continents.”
  • “Migration patterns of monarch butterflies, traveling thousands of miles, are a remarkable phenomenon of nature, influenced by environmental cues and genetic factors.”
  • “The Roman Empire, with its vast territories and lasting legacies, has impacted modern governance, architecture, and language.”
  • “Virtual reality, an immersive technology, has transcended gaming to find applications in medicine, education, and real estate.”
  • “Dream analysis, rooted in psychological theories of Freud and Jung, delves into the subconscious mind, interpreting symbols and emotions for insights.”
  • “Beekeeping, an age-old practice, supports biodiversity, provides honey, and plays a crucial role in global food production through pollination.”
  • “The concept of black markets, operating outside sanctioned channels, impacts global economies, ethics, and law enforcement challenges.”
  • “The evolution of music, from classical symphonies to contemporary genres, reflects societal changes, technological innovations, and cultural exchanges.”
  • “Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize and adapt, challenges previous beliefs about brain rigidity and offers hope for injury recovery.”
  • “Taj Mahal, an architectural marvel in India, stands as a testament to eternal love, Mughal artistry, and intricate craftsmanship.
  • “The Silk Road, not just a trade route, fostered cultural exchanges, spread religions, and laid the groundwork for globalization in the ancient world.”
  • “Telecommunication, with its evolution from telegraphs to smartphones, has reshaped society, influencing communication habits, businesses, and global connectedness.”
  • “Veganism, beyond a dietary choice, carries implications for animal rights, environmental sustainability, and global food resources.”
  • “The architecture of Gaudi, particularly in Barcelona, embodies a unique blend of nature, religion, and modernism, attracting millions of admirers worldwide.”
  • “Galaxies, vast cosmic structures containing billions of stars, provide insights into the universe’s formation, dark matter, and the fate of cosmic bodies.”
  • “Procrastination, more than just delaying tasks, is a complex psychological behavior with implications for productivity, mental health, and personal growth.”
  • “Jazz, birthed in New Orleans, embodies improvisation and cultural synthesis, influencing numerous other genres and reflecting societal changes.”
  • “The Great Wall of China, beyond a monumental feat of engineering, symbolizes the lengths to which societies will go to defend their beliefs and territories.”
  • “Human rights, a universal framework for dignity and equality, have evolved over centuries, shaping global policies, revolutions, and societal values.”
  • “Pandemics, from the Black Plague to COVID-19, have shifted the course of history, influencing medical advancements, societal structures, and global economies.”
  • “Cryptocurrency, decentralized digital money, challenges traditional banking systems, offering potential for financial freedom but also sparking debates on regulation.”
  • “The Amazon Rainforest, often termed the ‘lungs of Earth’, plays a critical role in global climate regulation, biodiversity, and indigenous cultures.”
  • “The Eiffel Tower, initially criticized but now an icon of France, represents engineering prowess, national pride, and the changing tides of public opinion.”
  • “Ballet, a disciplined art form with roots in the Italian Renaissance, conveys stories, emotions, and has evolved with cultural and societal shifts.”
  • “The concept of infinity, both in mathematics and philosophy, challenges human comprehension and has led to profound discoveries and existential debates.”
  • “The Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River, stands as a testament to nature’s power and the geological history of Earth.”
  • “Storytelling, intrinsic to human culture, serves various purposes, from passing down traditions to marketing brands in the modern age.”
  • “Yoga, beyond physical postures, is an ancient practice promoting holistic well-being, spiritual growth, and mental clarity.”
  • “The Louvre Museum, housing thousands of artworks, narrates a history of art, culture, and the evolution of human civilization.”
  • “Photography, from daguerreotypes to digital, captures moments in time, influencing art, journalism, and how society perceives reality.”
  • “Mount Everest, standing as the highest peak, isn’t just a mountaineer’s challenge but a symbol of human perseverance and our relationship with nature.”
  • “Mars exploration, beyond the realm of science fiction, provides insights into planetary evolution, life beyond Earth, and the future of human space colonization.”
  • “Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the sea, are vibrant ecosystems, vital to marine life, coastal economies, and indicate global climate health.”
  • “Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ doesn’t merely tell a tale of revenge but delves deep into themes of existentialism, morality, and the human psyche.”
  • “Quantum mechanics, a foundation of modern physics, challenges classical notions, introducing concepts like superposition and entanglement, reshaping our understanding of reality.”
  • “The Pyramids of Giza, not just architectural marvels, offer insights into ancient Egyptian beliefs, astronomical knowledge, and societal organization.”
  • “Hydrogen as an energy source, while in its infancy, holds potential to revolutionize the energy sector, offering a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.”
  • “The cultural phenomenon of Anime, originating in Japan, transcends entertainment, reflecting societal issues, personal identities, and diverse genres of storytelling.”
  • “Meditation, rooted in ancient traditions, serves as a tool for mental well-being, stress relief, and cognitive enhancement in our fast-paced modern world.”
  • “The French Revolution, while a bloody period, led to the overthrow of monarchy, shaping modern political ideologies, rights, and global democratic movements.

How do you write a thesis for an informative essay? – Step by Step Guide

  • Understand the Prompt : Before you can create a thesis, understand the prompt or the topic you’re addressing. This ensures your thesis aligns with what you are expected to write about.
  • Research Thoroughly : Dive deep into your topic. Gather all necessary details, facts, and data that will help you get a comprehensive view of the subject.
  • Identify the Main Idea : What is the primary message or insight you want your readers to grasp? This will form the core of your thesis.
  • Keep it Specific : Your thesis should not be overly broad. Instead, focus on a specific aspect of the topic that your essay will explore.
  • Make it Clear and Concise : Your thesis statement shouldn’t be a complex sentence. It should be clear, direct, and easy for the reader to understand.
  • Avoid Opinions : An informative essay provides information and insight. It doesn’t try to persuade the reader or present the writer’s personal opinion.
  • Review and Refine : After drafting your thesis, read it aloud. Does it flow? Is it clear? Make necessary revisions until it fits your essay’s scope and direction perfectly.

Tips for Writing an Informative Essay Thesis Statement

  • Stay Neutral : Your thesis shouldn’t convey bias or opinion. Stick to facts and neutral language.
  • Position it Right : Traditionally, the thesis statement is positioned at the end of the introduction to guide the reader into the main body.
  • Stay Focused : Your thesis should be specific to the points you’ll be making in your essay. If a point doesn’t support your thesis, consider removing it from your essay.
  • Seek Feedback : Before finalizing your thesis, seek feedback. Fresh eyes can offer valuable insights and catch inconsistencies.
  • Revisit After Writing : Once your essay is complete, revisit your thesis. Does your essay deliver what your thesis promises? If not, tweak it so that it aligns with your essay’s content.

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How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Informative Essay

  • Decide on your essay’s main topic
  • Write down the subtopics you want to cover
  • Combine in one sentence to get a thesis

You know that essays don’t exist without thesis statements, right? It’s the first thing a teacher checks when grading your paper, and it’s among the top factors determining the grade you’ll get.

With tons of practical guides on thesis statement writing, most students still run into trouble when it comes to specific essay types : They wonder if a thesis structure of argumentative, persuasive, critical, and other essays look the same; they doubt if their essay statement is compelling enough to get an A for their work.

In this short guide, we’ll reveal the secrets of writing thesis statements for informative essays . The structure, actionable tips, and extra details are all covered.


What is a Thesis in Informative Essays?

A thesis is the heart of every essay, and you can’t write a worth-reading paper without stating a thesis at the beginning of your work. (Well, okay: It’s possible to write something with no thesis in it, but the quality of such work will suffer.)

It’s super critical to understand the difference between a thesis statement and an essay introduction:

A thesis is an element of your introduction, not an intro itself.


First, you need to grab a reader’s attention (hook), then introduce your topic with some background on it, and finally, state a thesis for the audience to know what you’ll explain in the essay’s body.

Psst! For more info on how to write hooks and introductions for an informative essay, we’ve created corresponding guides on the blog. Don’t hesitate to check via the above link (see this article’s intro.)

Further reading: How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement (It’s our detailed guide unrelated to informative essays but college papers in general.)

The Purpose of Thesis Statements in Essays

“Why complicate things?” you ask. “Informative essays are like blog posts, no? Why all these rules, structure, theses, and so on?”

We feel your pain,  we really do. And that’s why all our professional writers are here to help you with essay writing. However, a thesis statement is a must for academic papers to have; there are at least three reasons for it:

  • Essay theses determine the final grade a student gets for writing assignments.
  • A thesis makes an essay logical, which means a less challenging writing process for you : Once you come up with the main idea for your informative paper, all the following paragraphs become easier to craft.
  • It’s your instrument to tell the reader what your essay will be about , helping them understand if they want to keep reading to learn more.

And now, to business:

Thesis Statement for an Informative Essay

A thesis statement of an informative essay tells the reader the main ideas of your next paragraphs, which follow your introduction. It can be a little tricky to write, so we’ve turned it into a kinda math problem to make it easier if you’ve never written thesis statements before:

A thesis statement is basically your main topic + your subtopic 1 + your subtopic 2 + your subtopic 3 .

If you checked our guides on how to start an informative essay, how to write a hook, or how to outline informative essays, you could notice that we used the panda example everywhere. 😉 (Thanks again to Mr. S from YouTube!) So, let’s continue with pandas if you don’t mind!

For more examples, feel free to check the video from our friends Study.com .

Here goes a worksheet to use when trying to come up with subtopics for your informative essay:


First, you choose the main topic — giant pandas — and start with that.

Then, you decide on subtopics you’d like to cover about giant pandas, write them down, and then just polish all three into a thesis statement:

Giant pandas + have special characteristics + live in certain areas of China + eat food besides just bamboo

Finally, fix some grammar things, if any, for your thesis statement to turn into a well-sound sentence. And now you have it!

Giant pandas have special characteristics , live in certain areas of China , and eat food besides just bamboo !

That flows much better, and it tells your readers what they are about to read in the next paragraphs of your informative essay. And that’s exactly what a thesis statement should do.

Practical Tips on Making Your Essay Thesis Stronger

First and foremost, let’s reveal what makes a strong thesis statement.

1) Direction:

A strong thesis limits what you’ll need to describe in your essay. Informative topics are usually too broad to cover in one college paper, so you’ll need to decide on a few subtopics and limit your work to them.

So, your thesis statement should give direction to your paper and inform readers of what you’ll discuss in the body. Your essay’s every paragraph needs to explain your thesis.

A strong thesis requires proof . It’s not merely a fact but also supporting evidence that will be interesting for readers to check and motivate them to keep investigating your paper.

Sometimes it’s okay to mention supporting points in a thesis and then write 1-2 essay body paragraphs about each supporting idea. Such a structure can help keep control of your ideas while writing.

In academic writing, it’s not a deadly sin to place a thesis at the beginning of introductory paragraphs. Yet, such structure can confuse a reader and make them get lost in the main idea by the end of an intro.

That is why a good practice would be to put a thesis statement at the end of informative essay introductions . Thus, it logically leads to the paper body and makes the whole intro sound conceptual.

With that in mind, here go a few practical tips on how to write a thesis statement for an informative essay:

  • Choose a topic you know or consider interesting to learn. If a teacher doesn’t assign any particular topic for your informative essay, focus on something you are excited to learn: Personal experience or reflection will help with research and thesis statement greatly! Just make a list of topics that excite you (see our above worksheet) and focus on the one of your most interest.
  • Brainstorm. Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that comes to your mind about the chosen topic. All those generated ideas will later help you shape a thesis statement: You’ll choose 3-4 subtopics to cover in your informative essay.
  • Focus on three subtopics. It will help if they relate to a specific area of your main topic, so you could later craft a logical flow in your essay body.
  • Tailor your statement. Limit it to 1-2 sentences in length, proofread it , and be ready to tweak it if necessary: After you’ll finish the first draft of your informative essay, you may see that a thesis requires some slight changes.

Or, you can change the perspective and do the following:

Write your informative essay body first, and craft your introduction (with a thesis) afterward. Once you cover three chosen subtopics in your essay, it will be easier to combine 1-2 sentences to introduce what you want to tell in your paper to the reader.

Or, we have an alternative option: A free online thesis statement generator ! Write down your main topics and subtopics there — and you’ll get a strong thesis statement for your informative essay.

Magic, huh?

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Free Thesis Statement Generator

Looking for a free thesis statement generator for an informative essay? Our tool will easily generate a beautiful thesis for an argumentative, informative, compare and contrast, or analytical essay. All you need to do is choose your paper type, add the information, and look at the examples!

How many times has your supervisor asked you to rewrite your thesis statement because it wasn't good enough? We feel your pain. But no more suffering since our thesis statement generator is a perfect tool for this task!

It would be useful for absolutely anyone as this tool can be used both for research essay and academic writing, such as a Ph.D. thesis. So stop wasting your time and read the step-by-step instructions below!

  • 📝 How to Use the Tool
  • 💪 Making a Strong Thesis

❗ Thesis Statement Checklist

🔍 references, 📝 thesis statement generator: how to use.

A thesis statement is the core of your whole paper. Therefore, to create the ultimate thesis statement, you are asked to provide some information regarding your work. It would be lame if it just spilled out a random statement, right?

First of all, the thesis generator requests the topic of your paper . The topic is the main idea of your work, but more generalized. Try not to include too many details, or you might confuse the generator. It should be comprehensive but brief at the same time.

Then, we ask you to type in your key findings , meaning the conclusion. If you don't have it ready yet, just think about what idea you would like to convey to your readers.

Next, you should present the main argument that supports your conclusion. It is usually something that can make your readers believe in the accuracy of the conclusion. Keep in mind that it always has to be related to the topic! Also, there is a field for an additional argument to fill in.

And last but not least, your counterargument . It is something that works against your findings. Put merely, counterargument presents a different point of view, and your readers would know that your paper is unbiased.

To generate your thesis statement

If by now you already have an outline, it shouldn't be hard. If you don't have one yet, you might want to invest some time into writing it. A correctly organized outline makes the writing process much more comfortable! You can check out our guide .

All of the elements mentioned above are crucial for creating a good thesis statement. To find out some more details on thesis statements, keep reading!

What Is a Thesis Statement in Writing?

Just a central idea is not all that a thesis statement is. It can even be more than one sentence, but it always has to represent the essence of your work. The thesis statement can be the answer to the question you asked when you started writing.

What Is a Thesis in an Essay?

A type of essay would also influence your thesis. There are six or more different types of thesis statements you can write in the essay. But, it still doesn't change the fact that it should be a clear summary of your essay's main ideas.

What is a Thesis in a Speech?

The thesis in a speech is pretty much the same as in writing. It represents the core ideas and findings of your work. But in the speech, a vital and central role of the thesis is to involve your audience and make them pay attention to you.

What is a Thesis Statement in a Research Paper?

The thesis statement in a research paper combines both roles mentioned above. Remember that it needs to be as persuasive as it should be catchy. The reason is simple: the thesis statement of your research paper is the first thing your mentor and evaluation committee reads.

💪 Generating a Thesis Statement Easily

So far, you might be wondering how to make an excellent thesis statement. That is why we prepared a short guide for you. Learning from other people's mistakes is much more pleasant than receiving an awful review from your mentor, isn't it?

Here is a list of points from experts about the definition of the good thesis statements:

  • First of all, it informs the readers about your point of view on the chosen topic. Moreover, it underlines the importance of the issue you discuss.
  • It sets some expectations for the readers. Since the thesis statement is the first thing they read, it gives them a clue about what to expect.
  • The thesis statement is not a declaration of your paper's topic. Is should contain the answer you ask in the topic.

A good thesis statement

  • It is often one or two sentences that you present at the beginning of your work. The rest of the paper aims to persuade the reader. However, the position might be different depending on the type of writing (or speech) you are working on.

👀 Tips to Generate a Strong Thesis

As you may have already understood, it is not enough to just rephrase the conclusion to get a strong thesis statement. We have put all the tips for writing a persuasive and informative thesis.

Writing a thesis statement is one of the first things you do when starting to work on the paper or essay. Hence, it is fair to say that it can become a roadmap for your future writing process. It is crucial always to follow your initial point of view. While working on different parts of your writing, go back to the thesis statement to make sure you are still on track. In this case, if your thesis is weak, you can't possibly follow it in this process.

Moreover, a strong thesis statement is a sentence that should contain some evidence supporting your conclusion. It is kind of a summary of all your work. Keep in mind that only strong points can make your thesis stand out.

It brings us to the last aspect of the perfect thesis statement. You need to put all your creativity into this one sentence to create something that can interest your readers. Ideally, it works as a hook and motivates them to keep reading your paper.

Let's look through the main points now. You can consider this list as a thesis statement checker. In case you have any doubts, just go back here and double-check!

You don't want your statement to be vague and full of unnecessary details. However, you should include supportive arguments. Conjunctions might help but don't overuse them. Especially try avoiding coordinating conjunctions.

There should only be the most important idea, which makes sense because there can't be more than one main idea.

You should always use academic writing style and avoid generalizing and vague words like "good" and "bad." It should also exclude any possible misinterpretations.

Can your readers understand what point of view you support? If no, you should adjust your thesis statement so that your opinion on the topic would be included.

It is not a smart idea to use standard and general formulas to create an original thesis. It would be quite evident if you do. This one of the reasons you should use our generator that helps writing a thesis statement in only five minutes, and it is unique!

If you are writing an essay, think about where to put it. The best options would be in the first and the second paragraph.

You should aim to pursue one of these vital functions. Otherwise, your readers can doubt if your entire writing is worthy.

🎓 Thesis Statement Examples

Still not sure how a thesis statement should look like? No worries, we put together two amazing and easy examples for you. We are going through weak, stronger, and great statements to point out the mistakes you should avoid.

The first thesis statement example is related to the risks of obesity .

People should exercise more . It doesn't specify what people and how much more they should exercise. Moreover, this statement doesn't seem to be related to the topic of the risks of obesity. The arguments are also left out here.

Obese people have to exercise regularly for health benefits . It is already better since it is less vague, but some aspects still look a bit too general. For instance, "regularly" is different for all people, and the phrase "health benefits" needs clarification as well.

Exercising three and more times per week reduces the chances of complications, such as heart disease and diabetes, for patients with all classes of obesity . This thesis statement includes both argument and specifications, which is excellent! Now, checking the main objectives of your research is much more comfortable with it. Moreover, it is clear enough for your readers.

Another example is about the danger of smoking .

Smoking is bad for you . You can't disagree that this thesis statement is not even good enough for an article title. It is way too vague and doesn't catch the attention at all. The only good thing about it is that it is kind of related to the topic.

Smoking can have adverse effects on the process of conception . Here, one argument is presented: the adverse effects of smoking on fertility. However, there is no specification of what effects. The gender of the potential smokers is not mentioned either, which is vital for describing the reproductive system processes in the paper. Moreover, the single fact that a modal "can" is used undermines your whole paper. The readers might think that you haven't done enough research.

Smoking and passive smoking during the reproductive years lower the chances for natural conception by damaging women's eggs and reducing the quality of sperm for men . You can see that all the aspects of a good thesis statement are present here. Even the danger of passive smoking is included, as well. Moreover, the reason why smoking is dangerous for fertility is also stated.

We hope this article helped you out. And remember, if you're having a problem, the statement generator is here to ease your struggles. After using it, you can also go through this article again since it is an excellent thesis checker!

❓ Thesis Statement Generator FAQ

❓ how to create a thesis statement.

There is no universal formula for an ideal thesis statement, but there are tools as our generator! Also, there are specific dos and don’ts, which we described in this article. And don’t forget that creating a thesis statement for a speech follows kind of different aims.

❓ How to Turn a Question into a Thesis?

Usually, you can turn a question into a thesis if your research is based on arguments. Writing a clear outline first helps tremendously. Then, it shouldn’t be a problem to create a decent thesis statement. But make sure you check with the guidelines here!

❓ Where to Put My Thesis Statement?

The position of your thesis statement depends on the type of project you are working on. If it is an essay, then the first or second paragraph is the best place. For your dissertation, there is usually a special place for it at the beginning of the paper.

❓ Who Can Help Me with My Thesis?

Moreover, if your only thought now is "How do I check my thesis statement?" then you found the right place. Bothering your tutor can only make you more stressed. Our thesis generator is free and online, so there are no reasons you shouldn’t give it a try!

  • Developing A Thesis: Harvard College Writing Center
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement: Indiana University Bloomingdon
  • Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements: Purdue OWL
  • Argument in Research Papers: Suny Empire State College
  • Thesis Statements: The Writing Center, UNC
  • Writing a Thesis and Making an Argument: The University of Iowa
  • Argument: The Writing Center, UNC


A Helpful Guide for Good Informative Speech Topics, Tips, and Examples

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Many individuals fear the thought of speaking in public. However, creating good informative speech topics and delivering an informative speech is not as hard as you perceive it. 

During an informative speech , the speaker aims to tell the audience what they are not aware of or give additional knowledge about something they want to know more about. You can inform individuals about a new method to reckon an old way of perceiving a new subject. 

Moreover, you can also tackle a not fully recognized concept or a theory that they have not heard yet. As the speaker, you have to be interested in your informative speech topics to have a smooth and easy presentation.

However, if you are still hesitant about giving an excellent informative speech , and this is your first time doing it, this handy guide has got you covered! 

Read further in this article to know more about informative speech , gain helpful tips in choosing informative speech topics, and have the best informative speech topic examples for inspiration. 

What is an Informative Speech?

The kind of speech that aspires to inform and educate the audience about a specific topic is an informative speech . Informative speeches have various types, including describing the subject’s conditions and instructing the audience on how to act. 

Furthermore, an excellent informative speech gives accurate information to the people comprehensively, making the topic discussion interesting for the listener. You also need to consider the three factors for effective informative speaking:

With these three components, you can have a guide regarding your presentation in front of your audience. Note that there are no informative speech topics that you can deliver complete information on, so we recommend doing some careful narrowing. 

Careful narrowing of informative speech topic ideas makes it possible to illustrate your particular subject accurately, and it does not become misleading. 

What is the Primary Purpose of an Informative Speech?

What comes into your mind when you come across the word “purpose”? Technically, it refers to why something has existence, how we utilize the object, or why we create something. All these three apply to public speaking , in which presenting an informative speech is an example. 

An informative speech ’s primary purpose is to give engaging, unique, and useful information to the audience. This thought corresponds to why you have to convey accurate and comprehensive knowledge, which I mentioned earlier. 

It is about helping your audience obtain information that they do not previously have through different good informative speech topics. Then, your spectators can utilize that knowledge to:

  • Understand more about something
  • Perform a new piece of work
  • Enhance their skills

Informative speaking is to impart knowledge and let the people gain it. If you dedicate yourself to providing facts and appealing to your listeners , you can eventually take a significant step towards advancing your career and efforts in this field.

What is the Best Way to Write an Informative Speech?

After knowing the purpose of informative speeches, you must consider the best way to start making your speech . Writing an informative speech includes delivering information without expressing your point of view about informative speech topics. 

You are only informing your audience, not motivating nor persuading them. This concept may give you a bit of a dull impression, but creating an informative speech is still a creative process. 

Below, we have listed seven essential components in writing your informative speech . The following will help you get all those thoughts and share them with your listeners clearly and deliberately. 

1. Attention getter

To get the attention of your audience, motivate them to listen. You can think of creative ways to engage them in your talk and make the whole presentation exciting and informative. 

Additionally, it would help if you cover informative speech topics that are not yet well-known to your listeners but still relevant to them. If you select a topic that they are already familiar with, better provide additional new information. 

Consider your audience’s age, interests, and knowledge level when choosing and preparing good informative speech topic ideas.

2. Show credibility 

Another vital element to consider is showing your professional experiences from the informative speech topics, building authenticity, and exhibiting credibility. To do so, research and make use of reliable materials when writing down good informative speech topics. 

During your study elements gathering, ensure that you comprehend them well because you might be required to answer the people’s questions about your presentation. Your understanding will help you reply to your audience’s queries after your speech . 

3. Provide testimony 

One of the most important things you must not forget is providing expert testimony to support your claims. An informative speech imparts knowledge to the people, so you would not want to give them empty and misleading words.

Moreover, your listeners pick up necessary information from you, so it is best not to utter baseless claims without references. Backing up your talk with testimonies from professionals makes it more informative and credible.

4. Thesis statement

A thesis statement’s purpose is to give a preview regarding your informative speech topics’ primary point or argument. 

After choosing good informative speech topics, it is time to draft your thesis statement. Your thesis statement will summarize your whole speech in a brief but comprehensive sentence if you have done it correctly.

5. Preview your points

Before going directly to your primary points, you must give your audience a heads up first. This method will provide them with a preview of what are the topics for discussion.

Giving them an initial view of your points also serves as a guide for your listeners as you go on through your informative speech . 

6. Transition

Of course, it is essential to explain your main points. Make a speech transition that best elaborates on the different main points of your informative speech .

Ensure that each point has adequate discussion time before proceeding to the next one. Also, be mindful of how you do your transitions so that your presentation’s flow will not confuse the audience and makes it easy for them to participate. 

7. Conclusion 

Your conclusion summarizes the primary points of your speech . It would be more logical and natural to mention your viewpoint because people typically recall your first and last communications. 

By doing so, ensure you utilize an appropriate order when delivering your informative speech topics. It might be helpful to start and end it with a few fundamental memorizations for a lasting impression. 

Furthermore, you can also try to include a part of your conclusion in your introduction to create a full cycle. In this way, your listeners will remember your speech .

Practice your speech with Orai where you get feedback on your tone, tempo, confidence , and conciseness

What are Some Topics to Deliver an Informative Speech?

Good informative speech ideas are necessary to keep your audience’s interest and ensure that they learn something from you. It also lets writing and giving your speech be a fun process. 

what are informative speech thesis statement

Following are several topics you can consider to deliver an informative speech :

Informative Speech Topics About Education

  • The Benefits of E-Learning
  • The Importance of Education for Professional Growth
  • How to Excel in College with Online Learning
  • Various Forms of Learning and Teaching
  • Should Schools Give the Students Homework

Informative Speech Topics About Technology

  • Cloud Computing and Storage
  • Hardware vs. Software
  • The Importance of Learning How to Code
  • The Effect of Artificial Intelligence on Learning
  • Cryptocurrency and the Future of Finance

Informative Speech Topics About Vehicles

  • How to Choose a Suitable Set of Tires for Your Automobile
  • The Process of Changing Your Vehicle’s Oil
  • The Process of Replacing a Flat Tire
  • What Features to Consider When Buying a New Automobile?
  • The Benefits and Setbacks of Purchasing an Automobile

Informative Speech Topics About the Environment

  • What are the Most Efficient Manners to Preserve our Environment?
  • Reasons Why Preserving Energy is Essential
  • The Negative Effects of Water Contamination
  • Why is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Necessary?
  • The Benefits of Organic Agriculture

Informative Speech Topics About a Family

  • The Father as a Life Model
  • The Significance of Having a Family
  • At What Age Do Infants Start to Speak?
  • What are the Things to Consider When Naming a Child?
  • What is the Significant Connection Between a Child and their Parents?

Good Informative Speech Topics

Are you searching for good informative speech topics to serve as your guide? Worry no more because we have compiled some of them to help you with your work! 

Check the following informative speech examples that are funny and exciting, informative speech topics.

Easy Informative Speech Topics for Starters

You can review this example of an informative speech topic for starters that talk about dogs. As a beginner, you can choose this kind of concept for your presentation. 

Funny Informative Speech Topics

If you want a humorous and funny informative speech topic, then perhaps, you may want to benchmark this guy talking about what to do while sitting in a traffic jam. Give your audience a good laugh!

Informative Speech Topics for College

Are you a college student who will present in your class or a professional who will deliver the speech in a college body? You might want to check this video of a content creator talking about his daily life as a Youtuber. 

Best Informative Speech Topics for All

To consider the best informative speech topic for all, it must be something that the general public can relate to or is a relevant issue in society. You can watch these videos that talk about the importance of sleep and discuss the causes of homelessness.

Informative Speech about the Effects and Ways of Managing Stress

Informative Speech about the Causes of Homelessness

How to Make an Informative Speech with a Visual Aid?

Your audience needs assistance, such as visual materials, to understand your informative speech topics’ complicated parts. Here are four practical reasons why you must use a visual aid for your informative speech in front of everyone:

  • To get a hold of the listener’s attention to keep their interest.
  • It serves as a learning device or memory aid because the more you expose your audience to good informative speech topics visually, the more likely they will remember it. 
  • A visual material, such as a PowerPoint presentation, can contain some of your keywords that help you structure and guide your way through your speech . 
  • It indicates transitions because it reinforces the change between two concepts displayed on the slide, for example. 

what are informative speech thesis statement

Going further on visual aids, these learning devices or memory aid come in different types, which you can utilize during your presentation. Some of them are the following:

With visual aids, you, as the speaker, must make sure that you adequately improve the presentation without causing a distraction for your audience. Also, you can create a note regarding when, where, and how to use it. 

Informative vs. Persuasive

After the informative speech introduction in the earliest part of this article, you might be wondering its difference from a persuasive speech . Don’t worry if you get confused between these two because we will tackle it for you. 

When selecting between creating an informative or persuasive speech , you must consider the speech ’s purpose. 

Are you going to share information about a specific topic, subject, or event? Or want to persuade your listeners to have a particular attitude or belief concerning a said issue, concept, or event?

Here is a comparison between an informative speech and a persuasive speech to understand more about them:

Informative Speech Dos and Don’ts

After discussing the distinction between informative and persuasive speeches, let us go through the dos and don’ts of an informative speech , which is highly useful when choosing good informative speech topics. 

Public speaking is an essential skill when you do an informative speech . With the following helpful tips, learn how to be an effective informative speaker and become more appealing to your audience.

Presentation Tips

What is more, when delivering or presenting an informative speech , your goal is to educate and enlighten your audience about a specific subject. Informative speeches involve descriptions, definitions, demonstrations, and details to elaborate on a person, place, or topic. 

One of the essential aspects of informative speeches is making a complicated issue easier to comprehend while providing points for the problem statement. 

If you are looking for helpful tips on presenting your informative speech to your audience, then read along because we have listed some of them and be hassle-free. 

1. Outline your speech structure

Your informative speeches require a presentation of arguments in a well-organized and systematic manner. This reason alone explains why you need an outline of your informative speech . 

Each of your speech ’s paragraphs must have a smooth transition while keeping your audience’s interest. From the introduction until the conclusion, everything should be in an appropriate order.

2. Use presentation aid to enhance audience understanding.

It is better to prepare the needed visual aids for your informative speech topics, ideas, or points that require visualization. This method will help the audience understand what you are talking about or explaining. 

You can consider using simple charts, diagrams, photos, or graphs to create excellent and useful information visual aids.

3. Support your point by citing an authoritative source

An informative speech requires extensive utilization of data, statistics, figures, and facts. You have to practice mentioning authoritative sources from which you have collected the information to increase credibility. 

These authoritative sources can be the following:

We also recommend that you conduct primary and secondary research to gain more knowledge about your topic.

Do These Steps to Hook Any Audience

When you are giving your speech , be active in engaging your listeners right from the opening. Do not just assume that they are paying attention to you because they might be thinking of other things or their minds are somewhere else. 

what are informative speech thesis statement

So, you should go beyond the conventional and dry atmosphere and capture their attention. You can refer to these six approaches to hook any audience, then deliver an excellent and memorable presentation.

  • Create a provocative statement that gets their keen interest and desire to know more about your topic.
  • Fuel the audience’s curiosity.
  • Surprise your listeners by making counter-intuitive or paradigm-shifter statements.
  • Share a story if needed.
  • Be authentic and tell a personal experience.
  • Quote a known and influential individual.
  • Ask your audience a couple of questions to draw their participation.
  • Leverage silence to command your listeners.
  • Utilize appropriate visual aids.

Finding good informative speech topics and presenting them is an excellent way to share your knowledge bouncing inside your brain. Remember to select something that you are genuinely interested in, and your eagerness will eventually come out through your audience. Orai is an AI-powered speech coach that fits in your pocket, can help you with your needs for public speaking ! Orai offers a customized learning experience based on your speech recordings and helps you learn new public speaking techniques. They provide instant feedback on your enunciation , conciseness , and more!

 If you have a definite vision, good informative speech topics, a clean speech outline, and an accurate thesis statement, then you’re good to go!

Download Orai start practice your informative speech

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  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

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The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

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.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

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what are informative speech thesis statement

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

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Informative Thesis Statement Generator

Even though some studies show that school uniform’s adoption improves students’ performance, school uniform should not be adopted at schools because it limits students’ individuality, it is a burden for low-income families, and it restricts students’ physical activity.

Whereas some studies show that school uniform’s adoption improves students’ performance, school uniform should not be adopted at schools given that it limits students’ individuality, it is a burden for low-income families, and it restricts students’ physical activity.

Looking for an informative speech thesis statement generator to create a thesis from scratch? Or want to check if the one you’ve formulated is looking good? Try a free online tool we’ve made.

  • ️👍 Informative Thesis Statement Generator: the Benefits
  • ️🛠️ How to Use the Tool
  • ️💬 Informative Speech: the Basics
  • ️⚠️ Informative Thesis Statement
  • ️🐾 Steps to Prepare an Informative Speech
  • ️🎓 What Is a Credibility Statement?
  • ️🔗 References

👍 Informative Thesis Statement Generator: the Benefits

Here are the key benefits of this thesis statement generator for informative essays.

🛠️ Informative Thesis Statement Generator: How to Use It

  • What is the main conclusion you plan to make in your speech? Write the main idea in one sentence.
  • What is the central argument for your conclusion? Briefly explain why you developed this opinion.
  • Add other arguments if necessary. But make sure they are not as critical as the first one.
  • Press “ Make Your Thesis .”

💬 What Is Informative Speech?

As it naturally flows from the name, informative speech educates the listeners on a particular topic . As a rule, informative speakers focus on complicated issues, breaking them down into constituent parts. In such a way, they help the listeners “digest” complex notions.

The picture defines informative speech.

This speech genre may have some features of persuasive, compare and contrast, or argumentative essay. However, its primary purpose is to inform, not to persuade, compare, or argue.

How to make a successful topic for an informative speech ? First, it should be useful for the audience to be motivated to listen. Second, it should be engaging. Because as you call the boat, so it will float. Here’re a couple of good examples:

  • The ghosts of Hamlet’s characters in contemporary literature. It’s quite an intriguing title because everybody likes ghost stories.
  • The ways technology makes us lazy. People don’t tend to think they’re lazy, so the topic defies them.

Informative Speech Types

Although informative speech always informs its listeners, various types do this differently.

The picture lists the four key types of informative speech.

Definitive speech provides general information regarding an event, phenomenon, or personality. Its purpose is to educate the listeners. For instance, “What is a market economy?” could be a good definitive speech topic.

  • Descriptive

Descriptive speech employs vivid language and imagery to build a memorable picture in the listeners’ minds. It is the most emotional type of genre. For example, “The best day of my life.” is a nice idea for a descriptive speech.

  • Demonstrative

Demonstrative (or demonstration) speech explains how certain actions should be done to achieve the desired result. “How to write an introduction of a research paper” is an excellent example of this format.

  • Explanatory

Explanatory speech outlines the existing state of knowledge regarding a specialized issue. Most of them are delivered at professional conferences and include statistics and other visual data representations. A topic example would be “Why iPhone has not dominated the market yet.”

⚠️ What Is Informative Speech Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement in an informative speech is essential to summarize what facts you plan to convey to your audience. Still, the simple definition doesn’t make the thesis any easier to write (or improvise while speaking). This 15 to 20 word-sentence should contain the central idea and suggest what you will not cover in your speech. It should also be clear and accessible.

Look at the blank fields of our informative speech thesis statement generator. They form a perfect template for your statements:

Argument 1 + Argument 2 + Argument 3 = Thesis

As you can see, the three items inform the reader what it will all be about while delineating the topic coverage.

📝 Informative Speech Thesis Statement Examples

🐾 steps to prepare a killing informative speech.

Below you’ll find the steps necessary to prepare a killing informative speech.

The picture lists the steps necessary to prepare a killing informative speech.

Thank you for reading this article! Note that if you need to get a restated thesis quickly, you can try the free rephrasing tool we’ve made.

🎓 What Is a Credibility Statement?

A credibility statement is made by a speaker or writer at the beginning of a text or speech. It aims to convince the audience that it makes sense to pay attention to and trust the information since the author is an expert in the respective field. A credibility statement usually includes information about the author's qualifications, experience, and background related to a particular topic.

❓ Informative Thesis Statement Generator FAQ

What is a thesis in an informative speech.

A thesis in an informative speech is a summary of the key facts or ideas the speaker intends to convey to the audience. This sentence outlines the contents and informs on the author’s purposes. The thesis should be reiterated at the end of the speech to help the listeners recollect what it was about.

How to Write a Thesis Statement for an Informative Speech?

Use the main idea to compose a declarative statement. It should provide clear but concise information about the central message of your speech. Meanwhile, it should fit into one sentence. Or you can use this Informative speech thesis generator and only edit the result.

What Is the Difference Between an Informative Speech and a Persuasive Speech?

Informative speech uses facts and arguments to educate the listeners. But persuasive speech uses the same to make the audience change their minds or follow the speaker’s advice. The latter is usually more complicated and follows a stricter pattern.

What Is a Credibility Statement in an Informative Speech?

A credibility statement explains that you have the necessary experience or qualifications to deliver the speech on the given topic. It shows the audience that your opinion is trustworthy and reliable. It can also mention the reasons for speaking and your motivation to inform the listeners.

📍 References

  • 9 Types of Informative Speeches To Educate an Audience
  • Informative Speaking | Department of Communication
  • Purposes of Informative Speaking - The WAC Clearinghouse
  • Informative Thesis Statement Examples
  • Strong Thesis Statements // Purdue Writing Lab

Harvard President Resigns Plagiarism Allegations Followed Criticism of Response to Antisemitism

Claudine Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, faced mounting controversies. She had led the university since July.

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Jennifer Schuessler ,  Anemona Hartocollis ,  Michael Levenson and Alan Blinder

Here’s what to know about Claudine Gay’s resignation.

Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, announced her resignation on Tuesday, after her presidency had become engulfed in crisis over accusations of plagiarism and what some called her insufficient response to antisemitism on campus after the Hamas-led attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.

In announcing she would step down immediately, Dr. Gay, Harvard’s first Black president and the second woman to lead the university, ended a turbulent tenure that began last July. She will have the shortest stint in office of any Harvard president since its founding in 1636.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will serve as interim president. Dr. Gay will remain a tenured professor of government and African and African American studies.

Dr. Gay became the second university president to resign in recent weeks, after she and the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. appeared in a Dec. 5 congressional hearing in which they appeared to evade the question of whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

Penn’s president, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned four days after that hearing. Sally Kornbluth, M.I.T.’s president, has also faced calls for her resignation.

In a letter announcing her decision, Dr. Gay said that after consulting with members of the university’s governing body, the Harvard Corporation, “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

At the same time, Dr. Gay, 53, defended her academic record and suggested that she was the target of highly personal and racist attacks.

“Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus,” she wrote.

Last year, the news of Dr. Gay’s appointment was widely seen as a breakthrough moment for the university. The daughter of Haitian immigrants and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she took office just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities.

She also became a major target of some powerful graduates like the billionaire investor William A. Ackman , who was concerned about antisemitism and suggested on social media last month that Harvard had only considered candidates for the presidency who met “the D.E.I. office’s criteria,” referring to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Gay’s resignation came after the latest plagiarism accusations against her were circulated in an unsigned complaint published on Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The complaint added to about 40 other plagiarism accusations that had already been circulated in the journal. The accusations raised questions about whether Harvard was holding its president to the same academic standards as its students.

Lawrence H. Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who resigned as Harvard president under pressure in 2006, suggested that Dr. Gay had made the right decision. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Representative Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who leads the House committee that is investigating Harvard and other universities, said the inquiry would continue despite Dr. Gay’s resignation.

“There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Ms. Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader.”

On Harvard’s campus, some expressed deep dismay with what they described as a politically motivated campaign against Dr. Gay and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of faculty members had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

Alison Frank Johnson, a history professor, said she “couldn’t be more dismayed.”

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, before Harvard’s board met to discuss Dr. Gay’s future, after her disastrous testimony in the congressional hearing.

That evening, the conservative activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon followed with several articles detailing allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

In a statement on Dec. 12 saying that Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the accusations and said it had been made aware of them in late October. The board said it had conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

Dr. Gay was already under pressure for what some had said was the university’s inadequate response to the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

After initially remaining silent after student groups wrote an open letter saying that Israel was “entirely responsible” for the violence, Dr. Gay and other officials released a letter to the university community acknowledging “feelings of fear, sadness, anger and more.” After an outcry over what some considered the tepid language, Dr. Gay issued a more forceful statement condemning Hamas for “terrorist atrocities,” while urging people to use words that “illuminate and not inflame.”

At the congressional hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, pelted Dr. Gay and the other university presidents with hypothetical questions.

“At Harvard,” Ms. Stefanik asked Dr. Gay, “does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

“It can be, depending on the context,” Dr. Gay replied.

That exchange, and a similar back and forth between Ms. Stefanik and Ms. Magill, rocketed across social media and infuriated many people with close ties to the universities.

Dr. Gay moved to contain the fallout with an apology in an interview that was published in The Harvard Crimson, the campus newspaper. “When words amplify distress and pain, I don’t know how you could feel anything but regret,” she said.

One week after her testimony, the Harvard Corporation issued a unanimous statement of support — after meeting late into the night — saying that it stood firmly behind her.

But there were signs that controversy might have harmed Harvard’s reputation. The number of students who applied this fall under the university’s early action program — giving them the possibility of an admissions decision in December instead of March — fell about 17 percent, the university said last month.

Reporting was contributed by Dana Goldstein , Rob Copeland , Annie Karni and Vimal Patel . Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein

Serena Jampel, a 22-year old junior, had said in December that as a Jewish student, she did not consider critiques of Zionism on campus to be antisemitic. On Tuesday, she said she was “deeply saddened” by Claudine Gay’s resignation. “I believe that she was always trying to balance free speech and student safety, and never intended to cause harm.”

Maya Shwayder

Harvard’s campus, currently between semesters, was quiet on Tuesday, despite the intense spotlight focused on the university. Several students and professors said they did not want to talk about Claudine Gay’s resignation. One faculty member chuckled and said he couldn’t comment because he doesn’t have tenure.


Rabbi Hirschy Zarchi, the president of Harvard Chabad, has criticized a culture of antisemitism on campus, which he said predates Claudine Gay’s tenure. “The fact that it got more and more brazen with each passing day was the result of the lack of leadership addressing it,” he said, adding that he hopes the pressure that helped lead to Gay’s resignation will prompt other campus leaders to take action.

Anemona Hartocollis

Anemona Hartocollis

The resignation was welcomed by the Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance, which said it represents several thousand Jewish alumni. “Claudine Gay tacitly encouraged those who sought to spread hate at Harvard, where many Jews no longer feel safe to study, identify and fully participate in the Harvard community," the group said in a statement.

Harvard faced donor pressure and a drop in early admission applications.

College presidents are not only administrators and intellectual leaders; they are the chief fund-raisers for their institutions. And Claudine Gay’s loss of support among some Harvard donors may have played a key role in her resignation on Tuesday.

Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment is immense by any measure — the largest academic nest egg in the country. Yet it has been underperforming financially in recent years, relative to some peers. Stanford’s endowment produced returns of 4.4 percent last year, for example, compared to returns of 2.9 percent for Harvard.

The endowment is run as a nonprofit with its own board of directors, but its members are appointed by the Harvard Corporation, the same body that selected Dr. Gay as the university’s president.

Given the concerns, the ability of Harvard’s president to raise money became even more crucial. Yet Dr. Gay’s credibility eroded this fall among some powerful donors , who criticized what they saw as a sluggish response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

“There is a large number of alumni who are very upset about how the administration handled this fall, and really worry the university is not set up to take outside feedback,” said Sam Lessin, a Harvard graduate and tech investor.

Some alumni donors were also dismayed to learn in recent days that early action applications to Harvard, with a Nov. 1 deadline, had dropped by 17 percent this year to a four-year low.

On Tuesday, Mr. Lessin published a statement on social media reacting to Dr. Gay’s resignation. “I am happy to see Gay out,” he wrote.

Randall Kennedy, a Harvard legal scholar and one of the university’s most prominent Black faculty members, has been a key supporter of Claudine Gay. On Tuesday, he said via text message, “I am saddened by the inability of a great university to defend itself against an alarmingly effective campaign of misinformation and intimidation.”

Jacey Fortin

Alan M. Garber, Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

Alan M. Garber, an economist and physician who is Harvard’s provost and chief academic officer, will now serve as its interim president.

The Harvard Corporation described Dr. Garber as “a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar” in a statement on Tuesday. “We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period,” the Corporation said.

Dr. Garber , who was appointed provost in 2011, has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and an M.D. from Stanford. He is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine.

Lawrence H. Summers, a former Harvard president and former Treasury secretary, said in an email that Dr. Garber, “who is universally liked, admired, and respected, is a superb choice as interim president.”

In an interview with The Harvard Crimson in November, Dr. Garber said that he regretted the university’s initial statement in response to the war in Israel and Gaza. The statement was denounced by politicians, academics and Jewish groups who said that it did not condemn Hamas strongly enough, and he spoke positively about a more forceful statement that followed from Dr. Gay, which condemned Hamas for “terrorist atrocities.”

Dr. Garber added that the crisis over the university’s response to the war has been the most serious that Harvard has faced during his tenure as provost.

“The community was immediately divided, and that is not true of every crisis that we face,” he told The Crimson. “It is a combustible situation, and one in which many people are grieving.”

Dr. Garber was reportedly considered a contender to become Harvard’s 29th president, but in 2018 the post went to Lawrence S. Bacow . In 2022, Dr. Garber told the Crimson that he was “very happy” serving as the provost, and last year Dr. Gay became the university’s 30th president .

According to the Harvard Corporation, Dr. Garber will serve as president “until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office.”

Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.

Anna Betts

Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader, expressed disappointment in Claudine Gay's resignation in a statement to CNN , blaming a relentless campaign against her led by the financier Bill Ackman. “This is an attack on every Black woman in this country who’s put a crack in the glass ceiling,” Sharpton said, adding that his organization, the National Action Network, would picket outside Ackman’s New York office on Thursday.

Vimal Patel

The Israel-Hamas war has inflamed free speech skirmishes on college campuses.

The recent ousters of two Ivy League university presidents — Elizabeth Magill, of the University of Pennsylvania, and, on Tuesday, Claudine Gay of Harvard — represented victories for those who believe that pro-Palestinian protesters have gone too far in their speech.

Some Jewish students say protest slogans like “intifada revolution” and “from the river to the sea” are antisemitic and threatening — and proof of a double standard. Universities, they say, have ignored their fears and pleas for security, while creating a battalion of administrators who are devoted to diversity and equity programs and are quick to protect their students.

If universities were engulfed before the Israel-Hamas war in debates over what kinds of speech were acceptable, now they are facing a crossroads, with many longtime observers of the campus speech skirmishes perceiving this moment as a dire one for freedom of expression.

The troubles of Ms. Magill and Dr. Gay, after all, did not start with the Dec. 5 congressional hearing, when they — as well as the president of M.I.T. — responded with what critics characterized as lawyerly answers when asked whether to punish students if they called for genocide.

For Ms. Magill, they began with a Palestinian writers’ conference that was held on campus in September. Donors to Penn asked her to cancel the event, which they said included antisemitic speakers, but she declined, citing the university’s commitment to free expression.

And Dr. Gay drew criticism barely two days after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7, for not publicly condemning the attack or denouncing an open letter from student groups saying that they held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist at Harvard who opposes cracking down on free expression, said that speech by itself, however ugly, should not be punished. But, he said, universities have not made the best case for themselves as champions of unfettered debate.

“The problem with the university presidents saying that calls for genocide are not punishable is that they have such a risible record of defending free speech in the past that they don’t have a leg to stand on,” Dr. Pinker said in an interview.

The question is what happens from here.

Annie Karni

Annie Karni

Stefanik, whose aggressive questioning of Gay went viral, claimed credit for her exit.

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, whose questions during a congressional hearing last month put Dr. Claudine Gay and two other prominent university administrators on the spot about antisemitism on their campuses, took a victory lap Tuesday afternoon after Dr. Gay announced her resignation as president of Harvard University.

“TWO DOWN,” Ms. Stefanik crowed on social media, accented by three red siren emojis. Last month, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned just four days after she testified before Congress and evaded Ms. Stefanik’s aggressive line of questioning about whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

The contentious exchanges between Ms. Stefanik and all three university presidents came at the tail end of a five-hour congressional hearing called by House Republicans on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The moment went viral, forcing the trio of presidents, including Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to clarify their responses and leading to a period of intense scrutiny on all three.

In Ms. Gay’s case, that prompted an examination of her past work that fueled plagiarism charges, ultimately causing her to step down on Tuesday.

Ms. Stefanik, the No. 4 Republican in the House, has counted the resignations as a political win.

“I will always deliver results,” Ms. Stefanik, a Harvard alumna, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Claudine Gay’s morally bankrupt answers to my questions made history as the most viewed congressional testimony in the history of the U.S. Congress.” Ms. Stefanik added that “this is just the beginning of what will be the greatest scandal of any college or university in history.”

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Stefanik promised that an ongoing congressional investigation of the universities that she announced in the wake of the hearing would continue to uncover “institution rot.” And she again claimed credit for Dr. Gay’s resignation, arguing that “this accountability would not have happened were it not for the very clear moral questions at the hearing.”

Those questions almost did not happen. During the hearing, Ms. Stefanik had already tried four times to pin down the trio of administrators. She repeatedly tried and failed to get them to agree with her that calls for “intifada” and use of slogans such as “from the river to the sea” amounted to appeals for genocide against Jews that should not be tolerated on campuses.

They had parried her grilling with lawyerly answers that, on their own, might not have made international headlines. But then they fell into something of a prosecutorial trap laid by Ms. Stefanik, refusing to answer “yes” when she asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ codes of conduct on bullying and harassment.

“I thought, ‘How can I drill down on this and ask this question in such a way that the answer is an easy ‘yes?’ ”Ms. Stefanik said in an interview last month . “And they blew it.”

Ms. Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard in 2006, has clashed with her alma mater in the past. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, Harvard’s Institute of Politics removed Ms. Stefanik from its advisory board, citing her “public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence.”

Ms. Stefanik, a onetime moderate Republican who more than any other lawmaker in Congress represents to Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans the worst of what happened to the G.O.P. under the sway of Mr. Trump, at the time called her removal “a rite of passage and badge of honor.”

On Tuesday, one of Ms. Stefanik’s top advisers, Garrett Ventry, joked on social media that Ms. Stefanik was now the de facto president of Harvard University.

But she was hardly the only House Republican vying on Tuesday to claim credit for Ms. Gay’s resignation.

Representative John James, Republican of Michigan, shared on social media a clip of his own line of questioning during the hearing and wrote that Dr. Gay’s resignation came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat anti Semitism.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx, a North Carolina Republican who heads a House committee investigating Harvard, said the inquiry would continue despite Claudine Gay's resignation. “There has been a hostile takeover of postsecondary education by political activists, woke faculty and partisan administrators,” Foxx said in a statement, adding, “The problems at Harvard are much larger than one leader, and the committee’s oversight will continue.”

Many of the plagairism accusations against Claudine Gay were first published by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet. The site’s editor-in-chief, Eliana Johnson, said in an interview on Tuesday that Harvard officials had never responded to her reporters’ questions. “They are brittle and unused to scrutiny,” she said. “We have been able to have an impact despite their total lack of transparency.”

Some of Gay’s faculty supporters have argued that the allegations against her hold less weight because they originated from ideologically motivated critics and outlets, and have argued that the type of plagiarism she is accused of largely involved language on research methodologies and reviews — not her core, original findings. Johnson rejected those defenses. “Harvard is welcome to come out and say, ‘Our standards for plagiarism don’t apply to quantitative scholars — they’re allowed to copy words and phrases.’ But those are not the standards they’ve chosen to articulate for students or uphold for students.”

Larry Summers, the former U.S. treasury secretary who also resigned his Harvard presidency under pressure in 2006, suggested that Claudine Gay had done the right thing for the university. “I admire Claudine Gay for putting Harvard’s interests first at what I know must be an agonizingly difficult moment,” he said in an email.

Rob Copeland

Rob Copeland

Claudine Gay’s resignation puts new focus on Harvard’s secretive corporation, the governing board that appointed her. Led by Penny Pritzker, a billionaire and former Obama administration official, the corporation has been all but mum during the swirl of the past few months, and Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Gay said in her resignation letter that she made her decision to step down “in consultation with members of the corporation,” but the corporation’s own subsequent statement made no mention of its role.

At least one Harvard professor is already calling for a shakeup of the board. Frank Laukien, a visiting scholar of chemistry, said Pritzker should “share accountability and resign immediately.” He wrote in an email: “We need multiple new independent members on the Harvard Corporation that are not tainted by recent events and failures, and who are not part of the long-standing cronyism at the top of Harvard.”

Jennifer Schuessler

Jennifer Schuessler

A history of the plagiarism allegations against Claudine Gay.

Claudine Gay’s resignation from Harvard came three weeks after plagiarism accusations against her emerged, an unexpected development in a turbulent stretch of presidency that began with her response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Rumors about problems in Dr. Gay’s work had circulated for months on anonymous message boards. But the first widely publicized report came on Dec. 10, the evening before Harvard’s board met to decide whether she would keep her job, following her disastrous appearance before a Congressional committee investigating the university’s response to antisemitism. That evening, the conservative education activist Christopher Rufo published an essay in his Substack newsletter highlighting what he described as “problematic patterns of usage and citation” in her 1997 doctoral dissertation.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, followed with several articles detailing numerous allegations regarding her published scholarly articles, and reported two formal complaints submitted to the Research Integrity Office of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which Dr. Gay, a political scientist, is a member.

In its statement on Dec. 12 saying Dr. Gay would stay on, the board acknowledged the allegations, which it said it had been made aware of in late October via an inquiry from The New York Post. The board said it had then conducted an investigation and found “a few instances of inadequate citation” in two articles, which it said would be corrected. But the infractions, the board said, did not rise to the level of “research misconduct.”

The plagiarism allegations blindsided many faculty, including some of the more than 700 who had signed a letter urging the Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing board, to “resist political pressures that are at odds with Harvard’s commitment to academic freedom,” including calls from external actors seeking Dr. Gay’s removal.

Initially, faculty reaction was mixed, with some saying the charges were serious and others calling the examples minor. Professors from both camps questioned the seemingly ideological nature of the effort to publicize them.

But as more allegations surfaced, faculty support for Dr. Gay began to erode, particularly as questions arose about what procedures the corporation — which normally has no involvement in scholarly matters — had used to investigate.

In a letter on Tuesday announcing her resignation, Dr. Gay, who remains a member of the faculty, defended her academic integrity, and said the campaign against her had been driven by “racial animus.”

“It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am,” she wrote.

It is unclear if her resignation will end any potential investigation into the complaints filed with the university.

Some politically active students said they were concerned that Claudine Gay’s resignation had been manipulated by outside forces. “Her resignation is a symptom of Harvard being almost entirely beholden to external pressure,” said Sanaa Kahloon, a junior and pro-Palestinian activist who added, “These allegations of plagiarism have been weaponized by right-wing actors to suppress free speech in higher education, and to continue to suppress free speech with respect to Palestine.”

Sarah Mervosh

Sarah Mervosh

Who is Claudine Gay?

Claudine Gay, 53, who resigned as Harvard’s president on Tuesday, took office in July, becoming the first Black president and the second woman to lead Harvard.

The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University — where she would later teach — and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

Her career has mostly been in elite academia. Since the mid 2000s she has been a professor of government and African and African-American studies at Harvard, where her research interests have included minority representation and political participation in government.

Though allegations of plagiarism, dating back to her dissertation in 1997, surfaced publicly as Dr. Gay was engulfed in a political firestorm last month, she had in recent years moved away from academic research and into administration.

Before becoming president, she served in the high-profile role as dean of Harvard’s powerful Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The department, which includes both the university’s undergraduate program and its Ph.D. programs, is the largest of Harvard’s various divisions, with more than 1,000 faculty members.

Some colleagues saw her as a leader for the cultural moment: She helped drive a cluster of hires in ethnic studies , and oversaw several investigations into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations against faculty. She also led the department through the Covid-19 pandemic and remote learning.

But she was also seen as taking a hard line on matters of discipline, sometimes controversially.

In 2019, she issued a two-year, unpaid suspension to Roland G. Fryer, a star Black economist and recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, who was accused of unwelcome sexual conduct toward employees. His education research lab was also disbanded.

She also spoke out against Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a high-profile criminal defense attorney and Black law professor whose decision to represent the disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in 2019 stirred controversy on campus . Professor Sullivan, who said at the time that representing unpopular defendants was a key tenet of the legal profession and an opportunity for conversation with students, was later removed from the student residential house he oversaw after the university conducted a “climate review” of his leadership in the house.

Dr. Gay, a supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, took the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

She was selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations.

Penny Pritzker, the senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation who led the presidential search committee, praised Dr. Gay at the time for her “rare blend of incisiveness and inclusiveness,” bringing both a “bedrock commitment to free inquiry and expression, as well as a deep appreciation for the diverse voices and views that are the lifeblood of a university community.”

Some faculty members were disappointed by Gay’s resignation.

On Tuesday, some faculty members expressed deep dismay with what they described as a political campaign against Dr. Gay, Harvard and higher education more broadly. Hundreds of them had signed public letters asking Harvard’s governing board to resist pressure to remove Dr. Gay.

“This is a terrible moment,” said Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “Republican Congressional leaders have declared war on the independence of colleges and universities, just as Governor DeSantis has done in Florida. They will only be emboldened by Gay’s resignation.”

Some faculty members criticized how the secretive Harvard Corporation, the university’s governing body, had handled the political onslaught and plagiarism allegations.

“Instead of making a decision based on established scholarly principles, we had here a public hounding,” she said. “Instead of listening to voices of scholars in her field who could speak to the importance and originality of her research, we heard voices of derision and spite on social media. Instead of following established university procedure, we had a Corporation granting access to self-appointed advisers and carrying out reviews using mysterious and undisclosed methods.”

Melani Cammett, a professor of international relations, said she hoped “that Harvard can move forward in a way that limits politicized interference.”

“I also hope that we move towards a position of institutional neutrality that truly protects academic freedom and integrity,” she said.

House Republicans were stepping over each other to claim credit for Claudine Gay’s resignation. While it was Rep. Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, whose questions during a Dec. 7 hearing led to the answers that ultimately helped topple two Ivy League administrators, Representative John James of Michigan shared a clip of his own line of inquiry on social media and wrote that Gay’s departure came “after I questioned her just last month about what actions she’d taken to combat antisemitism.”

Christopher Rufo, a conservative education activist who was among the first to widely publicize the plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay, took credit for her resignation in a post on social media: “My strategies, however unorthodox, have proven successful at exposing corruption, changing public opinion, and moving institutions."

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the New York Republican who led the most aggressive questioning of Claudine Gay during a Dec. 5 hearing on antisemitism, called the resignation “long overdue” in a social media post, adding that “our robust Congressional investigation will continue to move forward to expose the rot in our most 'prestigious' higher education institutions and deliver accountability to the American people.”

Sean Plambeck

Sean Plambeck

Alan M. Garber, a physician and economist who is the university’s provost, will serve as interim president. Harvard’s governing board said it would begin the search for a new president “in due course.”

The New York Times

A statement from Harvard’s governing board.

The following letter was signed by the Fellows of Harvard College, the university’s governing board.

Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

With great sadness, we write in light of President Claudine Gay’s message announcing her intention to step down from the presidency and resume her faculty position at Harvard.

First and foremost, we thank President Gay for her deep and unwavering commitment to Harvard and to the pursuit of academic excellence. Throughout her long and distinguished leadership as Dean of Social Science then as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences — where she skillfully led the F.A.S. through the Covid-19 pandemic and pursued ambitious new academic initiatives in areas such as quantum science and inequality — she demonstrated the insight, decisiveness, and empathy that are her hallmark. She believes passionately in Harvard’s mission of education and research, and she cares profoundly about the people whose talents, ideas, and energy drive Harvard. She has devoted her career to an institution whose ideals and priorities she has worked tirelessly to advance, and we are grateful for the extraordinary contributions she has made — and will continue to make — as a leader, a teacher, a scholar, a mentor, and an inspiration to many.

We are also grateful to Alan M. Garber, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, who has served with distinction in that role for the past 12 years — and who has agreed to serve as Interim President until a new leader for Harvard is identified and takes office. An economist and a physician, he is a distinguished and wide-ranging scholar with appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. We are fortunate to have someone of Alan’s broad and deep experience, incisive judgment, collaborative style, and extraordinary institutional knowledge to carry forward key priorities and to guide the university through this interim period.

These past several months have seen Harvard and higher education face a series of sustained and unprecedented challenges. In the face of escalating controversy and conflict, President Gay and the Fellows have sought to be guided by the best interests of the institution whose future progress and well-being we are together committed to uphold. Her own message conveying her intention to step down eloquently underscores what those who have worked with her have long known — her commitment to the institution and its mission is deep and selfless. It is with that overarching consideration in mind that we have accepted her resignation.

We do so with sorrow. While President Gay has acknowledged missteps and has taken responsibility for them, it is also true that she has shown remarkable resilience in the face of deeply personal and sustained attacks. While some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls. We condemn such attacks in the strongest possible terms.

The search for a new president of the university will begin in due course. We will be in further touch about the process, which will include broad engagement and consultation with the Harvard community in the time ahead.

For today, we close by reiterating our gratitude to President Gay for her devoted service to Harvard, as well as to Provost Garber for his willingness to lead the university through the interim period to come. We also extend our thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment to Harvard’s vital educational and research mission — and to core values of excellence, inclusiveness, and free inquiry and expression. At a time when strife and division are so prevalent in our nation and our world, embracing and advancing that mission — in a spirit of common purpose — has never been more important. We live in difficult and troubling times, and formidable challenges lie ahead. May our community, with its long history of rising through change and through storm, find new ways to meet those challenges together, and to affirm Harvard’s commitment to generating knowledge, pursuing truth, and contributing through scholarship and education to a better world.

The Israel-Hamas war led to rising polarization on Harvard’s campus. Many Jewish students believed that Claudine Gay was slow to denounce the Oct. 7 atrocities by Hamas and to quell disruptive demonstrations. They reported increasing antisemitic taunts and were dismayed when Gay told a congressional committee that whether Harvard students would be punished for urging genocide against Jews would depend on the context.

Josh Kaplan, a sophomore majoring in computer science, welcomed Gay’s resignation. “It is the beginning of the rehabilitation our university needs. I, along with many other Harvard students, look forward to the next president working to repair the university’s image and combat the hateful antisemitism and bigotry we have seen on our campus.”

The reaction on Harvard’s campus was muted, since students are on winter break. But some heralded her resignation. “I think it is, if anything, too late,” said Alex Bernat, a junior, adding, “I’m glad she finally came to terms with the need for Harvard to have new leadership.”

Read Claudine Gay’s resignation letter.

It is with a heavy heart but a deep love for Harvard that I write to share that I will be stepping down as president. This is not a decision I came to easily. Indeed, it has been difficult beyond words because I have looked forward to working with so many of you to advance the commitment to academic excellence that has propelled this great university across centuries. But, after consultation with members of the Corporation, it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.

It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor — two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am — and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.

I believe in the people of Harvard because I see in you the possibility and the promise of a better future. These last weeks have helped make clear the work we need to do to build that future — to combat bias and hate in all its forms, to create a learning environment in which we respect each other’s dignity and treat one another with compassion, and to affirm our enduring commitment to open inquiry and free expression in the pursuit of truth. I believe we have within us all that we need to heal from this period of tension and division and to emerge stronger. I had hoped with all my heart to lead us on that journey, in partnership with all of you. As I now return to the faculty, and to the scholarship and teaching that are the lifeblood of what we do, I pledge to continue working alongside you to build the community we all deserve.

When I became president, I considered myself particularly blessed by the opportunity to serve people from around the world who saw in my presidency a vision of Harvard that affirmed their sense of belonging — their sense that Harvard welcomes people of talent and promise, from every background imaginable, to learn from and grow with one another. To all of you, please know that those doors remain open, and Harvard will be stronger and better because they do.

As we welcome a new year and a new semester, I hope we can all look forward to brighter days. Sad as I am to be sending this message, my hopes for Harvard remain undimmed. When my brief presidency is remembered, I hope it will be seen as a moment of reawakening to the importance of striving to find our common humanity — and of not allowing rancor and vituperation to undermine the vital process of education. I trust we will all find ways, in this time of intense challenge and controversy, to recommit ourselves to the excellence, the openness, and the independence that are crucial to what our university stands for — and to our capacity to serve the world.

Sincerely, Claudine Gay

What to know about the latest plagiarism accusations against Claudine Gay.

New plagiarism allegations that surfaced on Monday against Claudine Gay threatened to mire Harvard deeper in debate over what constitutes plagiarism and whether the university would hold its president and its students to the same standard.

The accusations were circulated through an unsigned complaint published Monday in The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online journal that has led a campaign against Dr. Gay over the past few weeks.

The new complaint added additional accusations of plagiarism to about 40 that had already been circulated in the same way, apparently by the same accuser.

Dr. Gay has strongly defended her work. “I stand by the integrity of my scholarship,” she said in a statement on Dec. 11, when the initial plagiarism charges were being circulated by conservative activists online and the Harvard Corporation was considering whether she should remain as president. “Throughout my career, I have worked to ensure my scholarship adheres to the highest academic standards,” Dr. Gay said.

The documents by the unnamed accuser that The Free Beacon links to on its website show 39 examples in the first complaint, rising to 47 in total in the second complaint. Separately, Harvard’s investigations have found instances of inadequate citation in her dissertation and at least two of her articles.

She has not been accused of stealing big ideas, but rather of copying language in the papers of other scholars, with small changes to substitute words or phrases or to arrange them differently. Often the language in question is technical boilerplate.

The new complaint against Dr. Gay is preceded by a five-page chronology, written in a tone ranging from somber to sarcastic — under the jaunty salutation, “Happy New Year!” The chronology notes that the unnamed accuser submitted the first batch of allegations to Harvard on Dec. 19.

In one paragraph, the accuser, who seems to be familiar with Harvard’s policies on plagiarism, explains why he or she was unwilling to be identified by name: “I feared that Gay and Harvard would violate their policies, behave more like a cartel with a hedge fund attached than a university, and try to seek ‘immense’ damages from me and who knows what else.”

The New York Post has reported that it approached Harvard with plagiarism accusations against Dr. Gay in October, and said that Harvard responded through a defamation lawyer.

The accuser goes on to wonder why Harvard was so intent on exposing him or her: “Did Gay wish to personally thank me for helping her to improve her work even if I drove her harder than she wanted to be driven?”

The sentence is an allusion to a phrase in the acknowledgments of Dr. Gay’s 1997 dissertation, where she says that her family “drove me harder than I sometimes wanted to be driven.”

It is one of the phrases she is accused of copying, from the acknowledgments of a 1996 book, “Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation,” by the Harvard political scientist Jennifer L. Hochschild, who was thanking another academic.

A timeline of Claudine Gay’s tenure as president.

Claudine Gay had served as president of Harvard University only since July, but had faced criticism on two fronts: her response to rising tensions on campus over the Israel-Gaza war, and questions about possible plagiarism in her academic work.

On Tuesday, she resigned her position as president, writing in a letter to the university community that “it has become clear that it is in the best interests of Harvard for me to resign so that our community can navigate this moment of extraordinary challenge with a focus on the institution rather than any individual.”

Dec. 15, 2022

Harvard University announces that Dr. Gay, the school’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will become president the following year. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she will be the university’s first Black leader and the second woman to hold the position. Dr. Gay received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard.

July 1, 2023

Dr. Gay, 53, officially begins in the job. A supporter of diversity in hiring and an expert on minority representation and political participation in government, she takes the reins just as the Supreme Court rejected the use of race-conscious admissions at Harvard and other universities around the nation.

The day after the Hamas attack on Israel, a coalition of more than 30 student groups at Harvard publishes an open letter, saying it holds “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” The letter receives intense backlash .

Dr. Gay and Harvard’s leadership come under fire for not publicly condemning the Hamas attack or denouncing the letter from the student groups. Amid rising pressure from alumni and donors, university leaders including Dr. Gay issue a statement expressing heartbreak over the death and destruction from the war while calling for “an environment of dialogue and empathy.”

Dr. Gay releases another letter , this time more forcefully condemning the “terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas," as well as denouncing the letter from the student groups. “While our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” she says in the letter.

A campaign targets students affiliated with the groups that signed the open letter. A truck with a digital billboard — paid for by a conservative group — circles Harvard Square, flashing students’ photos and names under the headline “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” Dr. Gay releases another statement , this time in a video format, in which she states that Harvard rejects hate.

Harvard receives an inquiry from The New York Post about what it later describes as “anonymous allegations” of plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s work.

At a Sabbath dinner at Harvard Hillel, Dr. Gay announces the formation of an advisory group to help her “develop a robust strategy for confronting antisemitism on campus.” She also condemns the phrase “from the river to the sea,” a slogan that pro-Palestinian activists use as a call for liberation but that many Jews see as a call for violence against them.

According to the university, the Harvard Corporation appoints an independent panel of three experts on this day to conduct a review of Dr. Gay’s papers that were referenced in the anonymous allegations.

After coming under criticism for weeks over what detractors said were tepid responses to rising antisemitism on campus, Dr. Gay writes a letter to members of the larger Harvard community addressing the tensions. “Harvard rejects all forms of hate, and we are committed to addressing them,” she writes. “Let me reiterate what I and other Harvard leaders have said previously: Antisemitism has no place at Harvard.”

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Education Department announces an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at Harvard.

Dr. Gay, along with the presidents of M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, testifies at a congressional hearing that House Republicans convened to address issues of bias against Jewish students. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, asks: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?”

Dr. Gay replies, “It can be, depending on the context.” She adds: “Antisemitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.”

Following heavy criticism of the presidents’ responses at the hearing, Dr. Gay apologizes in an interview with The Harvard Crimson , the campus newspaper. “What I should have had the presence of mind to do in that moment was return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community — threats to our Jewish students — have no place at Harvard, and will never go unchallenged,” Dr. Gay says.

Allegations about plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation are publicly raised in a newsletter by the conservative activist Christopher Rufo.

A group of 14 faculty members begin circulating a petition opposing Dr. Gay’s removal . It quickly garners hundreds of signatures.

The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative media outlet, publishes its own investigation of Dr. Gay’s academic papers, identifying what it said were issues with four of them published between 1993 and 2017, including the doctoral dissertation.

Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, acknowledges that Dr. Gay had made mistakes but decides that she would remain in her job . In its statement, the Corporation briefly addresses the allegations about her scholarship. It says an independent inquiry investigated her published work and found two papers needing additional citations, but no “research misconduct.”

Facing mounting questions over possible plagiarism in Dr. Gay’s scholarly work, Harvard says that it found two additional instances of insufficient citation in Dr. Gay’s 1997 doctoral dissertation — examples of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” The university says Dr. Gay will update her dissertation correcting those instances.

That same day, a congressional committee investigating Harvard sends a letter to the university demanding all of its documentation and communications related to the allegations.

Faced with a new round of accusations over plagiarism in her scholarly work, Ms. Gay announces her resignation , becoming the second Ivy League leader to lose her job in recent weeks amid a firestorm intensified by their widely derided congressional testimony regarding antisemitism on campus.

Anemona Hartocollis , Sarah Mervosh , Jennifer Schuessler , Vimal Patel , Dana Goldstein , Jeremy W. Peters , Rob Copeland , and Stephanie Saul contributed reporting.

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the time when Harvard began an investigation about Dr. Gay’s work. It was Nov. 2, not in October.

An earlier version of this article contained a photo caption that misstated the organization that hosted the event at which Dr. Gay spoke. She spoke at a Sabbath dinner hosted by Harvard Chabad, not Harvard Hillel (though she also appeared at another event hosted by Harvard Hillel).

How we handle corrections

Informative Speaking

In this guide, you can learn about the purposes and types of informative speeches, about writing and delivering informative speeches, and about the parts of informative speeches.

Purposes of Informative Speaking

Informative speaking offers you an opportunity to practice your researching, writing, organizing, and speaking skills. You will learn how to discover and present information clearly. If you take the time to thoroughly research and understand your topic, to create a clearly organized speech, and to practice an enthusiastic, dynamic style of delivery, you can be an effective "teacher" during your informative speech. Finally, you will get a chance to practice a type of speaking you will undoubtedly use later in your professional career.

The purpose of the informative speech is to provide interesting, useful, and unique information to your audience. By dedicating yourself to the goals of providing information and appealing to your audience, you can take a positive step toward succeeding in your efforts as an informative speaker.

Major Types of Informative Speeches

In this guide, we focus on informative speeches about:

These categories provide an effective method of organizing and evaluating informative speeches. Although they are not absolute, these categories provide a useful starting point for work on your speech.

In general, you will use four major types of informative speeches. While you can classify informative speeches many ways, the speech you deliver will fit into one of four major categories.

Speeches about Objects

Speeches about objects focus on things existing in the world. Objects include, among other things, people, places, animals, or products.

Because you are speaking under time constraints, you cannot discuss any topic in its entirety. Instead, limit your speech to a focused discussion of some aspect of your topic.

Some example topics for speeches about objects include: the Central Intelligence Agency, tombstones, surgical lasers, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the pituitary gland, and lemmings.

To focus these topics, you could give a speech about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and efforts to conceal how he suffered from polio while he was in office. Or, a speech about tombstones could focus on the creation and original designs of grave markers.

Speeches about Processes

Speeches about processes focus on patterns of action. One type of speech about processes, the demonstration speech, teaches people "how-to" perform a process. More frequently, however, you will use process speeches to explain a process in broader terms. This way, the audience is more likely to understand the importance or the context of the process.

A speech about how milk is pasteurized would not teach the audience how to milk cows. Rather, this speech could help audience members understand the process by making explicit connections between patterns of action (the pasteurization process) and outcomes (a safe milk supply).

Other examples of speeches about processes include: how the Internet works (not "how to work the Internet"), how to construct a good informative speech, and how to research the job market. As with any speech, be sure to limit your discussion to information you can explain clearly and completely within time constraints.

Speeches about Events

Speeches about events focus on things that happened, are happening, or will happen. When speaking about an event, remember to relate the topic to your audience. A speech chronicling history is informative, but you should adapt the information to your audience and provide them with some way to use the information. As always, limit your focus to those aspects of an event that can be adequately discussed within the time limitations of your assignment.

Examples of speeches about events include: the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, Groundhog's Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the World Series, and the 2000 Presidential Elections.

Speeches about Concepts

Speeches about concepts focus on beliefs, ideas, and theories. While speeches about objects, processes, and events are fairly concrete, speeches about concepts are more abstract. Take care to be clear and understandable when creating and presenting a speech about a concept. When selecting a concept, remember you are crafting an informative speech. Often, speeches about concepts take on a persuasive tone. Focus your efforts toward providing unbiased information and refrain from making arguments. Because concepts can be vague and involved, limit your speech to aspects that can be readily explained and understood within the time limits.

Some examples of topics for concept speeches include: democracy, Taoism, principles of feminism, the philosophy of non-violent protest, and the Big Bang theory.

Strategies for Selecting a Topic

In many cases, circumstances will dictate the topic of your speech. However, if the topic has not been assigned or if you are having difficulty figuring out how to frame your topic as an informative speech,the following may be useful.

Begin by thinking of your interests. If you have always loved art, contemplate possible topics dealing with famous artists, art works, or different types of art. If you are employed, think of aspects of your job or aspects of your employer's business that would be interesting to talk about. While you cannot substitute personal experience for detailed research, your own experience can supplement your research and add vitality to your presentation. Choose one of the items below to learn more about selecting a topic.

Learn More about an Unfamiliar Topic

You may benefit more by selecting an unfamiliar topic that interests you. You can challenge yourself by choosing a topic you'd like to learn about and to help others understand it. If the Buddhist religion has always been an interesting and mysterious topic to you, research the topic and create a speech that offers an understandable introduction to the religion. Remember to adapt Buddhism to your audience and tell them why you think this information is useful to them. By taking this approach, you can learn something new and learn how to synthesize new information for your audience.

Think about Previous Classes

You might find a topic by thinking of classes you have taken. Think back to concepts covered in those classes and consider whether they would serve as unique, interesting, and enlightening topics for the informative speech. In astronomy, you learned about red giants. In history, you learned about Napoleon. In political science, you learned about The Federalist Papers. Past classes serve as rich resources for informative speech topics. If you make this choice, use your class notes and textbook as a starting point. To fully develop the content, you will need to do extensive research and perhaps even a few interviews.

Talk to Others

Topic selection does not have to be an individual effort. Spend time talking about potential topics with classmates or friends. This method can be extremely effective because other people can stimulate further ideas when you get stuck. When you use this method, always keep the basic requirements and the audience in mind. Just because you and your friend think home-brew is a great topic does not mean it will enthrall your audience or impress your instructor. While you talk with your classmates or friends, jot notes about potential topics and create a master list when you exhaust the possibilities. From this list, choose a topic with intellectual merit, originality, and potential to entertain while informing.

Framing a Thesis Statement

Once you settle on a topic, you need to frame a thesis statement. Framing a thesis statement allows you to narrow your topic, and in turns allows you to focus your research in this specific area, saving you time and trouble in the process.

Selecting a topic and focusing it into a thesis statement can be a difficult process. Fortunately, a number of useful strategies are available to you.

Thesis Statement Purpose

The thesis statement is crucial for clearly communicating your topic and purpose to the audience. Be sure to make the statement clear, concise, and easy to remember. Deliver it to the audience and use verbal and nonverbal illustrations to make it stand out.

Strategies For Framing a Thesis Statement

Focus on a specific aspect of your topic and phrase the thesis statement in one clear, concise, complete sentence, focusing on the audience. This sentence sets a goal for the speech. For example, in a speech about art, the thesis statement might be: "The purpose of this speech is to inform my audience about the early works of Vincent van Gogh." This statement establishes that the speech will inform the audience about the early works of one great artist. The thesis statement is worded conversationally and included in the delivery of the speech.

Thesis Statement and Audience

The thesis appears in the introduction of the speech so that the audience immediately realizes the speaker's topic and goal. Whatever the topic may be, you should attempt to create a clear, focused thesis statement that stands out and could be repeated by every member of your audience. It is important to refer to the audience in the thesis statement; when you look back at the thesis for direction, or when the audience hears the thesis, it should be clear that the most important goal of your speech is to inform the audience about your topic. While the focus and pressure will be on you as a speaker, you should always remember that the audience is the reason for presenting a public speech.

Avoid being too trivial or basic for the average audience member. At the same time, avoid being too technical for the average audience member. Be sure to use specific, concrete terms that clearly establish the focus of your speech.

Thesis Statement and Delivery

When creating the thesis statement, be sure to use a full sentence and frame that sentence as a statement, not as a question. The full sentence, "The purpose of this speech is to inform my audience about the early works of Vincent van Gogh," provides clear direction for the speech, whereas the fragment "van Gogh" says very little about the purpose of the speech. Similarly, the question "Who was Vincent van Gogh?" does not adequately indicate the direction the speech will take or what the speaker hopes to accomplish.

If you limit your thesis statement to one distinct aspect of the larger topic, you are more likely to be understood and to meet the time constraints.

Researching Your Topic

As you begin to work on your informative speech, you will find that you need to gather additional information. Your instructor will most likely require that you locate relevant materials in the library and cite those materials in your speech. In this section, we discuss the process of researching your topic and thesis.

Conducting research for a major informative speech can be a daunting task. In this section, we discuss a number of strategies and techniques that you can use to gather and organize source materials for your speech.

Gathering Materials

Gathering materials can be a daunting task. You may want to do some research before you choose a topic. Once you have a topic, you have many options for finding information. You can conduct interviews, write or call for information from a clearinghouse or public relations office, and consult books, magazines, journals, newspapers, television and radio programs, and government documents. The library will probably be your primary source of information. You can use many of the libraries databases or talk to a reference librarian to learn how to conduct efficient research.

Taking Notes

While doing your research, you may want to carry notecards. When you come across a useful passage, copy the source and the information onto the notecard or copy and paste the information. You should maintain a working bibliography as you research so you always know which sources you have consulted and so the process of writing citations into the speech and creating the bibliography will be easier. You'll need to determine what information-recording strategies work best for you. Talk to other students, instructors, and librarians to get tips on conducting efficient research. Spend time refining your system and you will soon be able to focus on the information instead of the record-keeping tasks.

Citing Sources Within Your Speech

Consult with your instructor to determine how much research/source information should be included in your speech. Realize that a source citation within your speech is defined as a reference to or quotation from material you have gathered during your research and an acknowledgement of the source. For example, within your speech you might say: "As John W. Bobbitt said in the December 22, 1993, edition of the Denver Post , 'Ouch!'" In this case, you have included a direct quotation and provided the source of the quotation. If you do not quote someone, you might say: "After the first week of the 1995 baseball season, attendance was down 13.5% from 1994. This statistic appeared in the May 7, 1995, edition of the Denver Post ." Whatever the case, whenever you use someone else's ideas, thoughts, or words, you must provide a source citation to give proper credit to the creator of the information. Failure to cite sources can be interpreted as plagiarism which is a serious offense. Upon review of the specific case, plagiarism can result in failure of the assignment, the course, or even dismissal from the University. Take care to cite your sources and give credit where it is due.

Creating Your Bibliography

As with all aspects of your speech, be sure to check with your instructor to get specific details about the assignment.

Generally, the bibliography includes only those sources you cited during the speech. Don't pad the bibliography with every source you read, saw on the shelf, or heard of from friends. When you create the bibliography, you should simply go through your complete sentence outline and list each source you cite. This is also a good way to check if you have included enough reference material within the speech. You will need to alphabetize the bibiography by authors last name and include the following information: author's name, article title, publication title, volume, date, page number(s). You may need to include additional information; you need to talk with your instructor to confirm the required bibliographical format.

Some Cautions

When doing research, use caution in choosing your sources. You need to determine which sources are more credible than others and attempt to use a wide variety of materials. The broader the scope of your research, the more impressive and believable your information. You should draw from different sources (e.g., a variety of magazines-- Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, National Review, Mother Jones ) as well as different types of sources (i.e., use interviews, newspapers, periodicals, and books instead of just newspapers). The greater your variety, the more apparent your hard work and effort will be. Solid research skills result in increased credibility and effectiveness for the speaker.

Structuring an Informative Speech

Typically, informative speeches have three parts:


In this section, we discuss the three parts of an informative speech, calling attention to specific elements that can enhance the effectiveness of your speech. As a speaker, you will want to create a clear structure for your speech. In this section, you will find discussions of the major parts of the informative speech.

The introduction sets the tone of the entire speech. The introduction should be brief and to-the-point as it accomplishes these several important tasks. Typically, there are six main components of an effective introduction:

Attention Getters

Thesis statement, audience adaptation, credibility statement, transition to the body.

As in any social situation, your audience makes strong assumptions about you during the first eight or ten seconds of your speech. For this reason, you need to start solidly and launch the topic clearly. Focus your efforts on completing these tasks and moving on to the real information (the body) of the speech. Typically, there are six main components of an effective introduction. These tasks do not have to be handled in this order, but this layout often yields the best results.

The attention-getter is designed to intrigue the audience members and to motivate them to listen attentively for the next several minutes. There are infinite possibilities for attention-getting devices. Some of the more common devices include using a story, a rhetorical question, or a quotation. While any of these devices can be effective, it is important for you to spend time strategizing, creating, and practicing the attention-getter.

Most importantly, an attention-getter should create curiosity in the minds of your listeners and convince them that the speech will be interesting and useful. The wording of your attention-getter should be refined and practiced. Be sure to consider the mood/tone of your speech; determine the appropriateness of humor, emotion, aggressiveness, etc. Not only should the words get the audiences attention, but your delivery should be smooth and confident to let the audience know that you are a skilled speaker who is prepared for this speech.

The crowd was wild. The music was booming. The sun was shining. The cash registers were ringing.

This story-like re-creation of the scene at a Farm Aid concert serves to engage the audience and causes them to think about the situation you are describing. Touching stories or stories that make audience members feel involved with the topic serve as good attention-getters. You should tell a story with feeling and deliver it directly to the audience instead of reading it off your notecards.

Example Text : One dark summer night in 1849, a young woman in her 20's left Bucktown, Maryland, and followed the North Star. What was her name? Harriet Tubman. She went back some 19 times to rescue her fellow slaves. And as James Blockson relates in a 1984 issue of National Geographic , by the end of her career, she had a $40,000.00 price on her head. This was quite a compliment from her enemies (Blockson 22).

Rhetorical Question

Rhetorical questions are questions designed to arouse curiosity without requiring an answer. Either the answer will be obvious, or if it isn't apparent, the question will arouse curiosity until the presentation provides the answer.

An example of a rhetorical question to gain the audiences attention for a speech about fly-fishing is, "Have you ever stood in a freezing river at 5 o'clock in the morning by choice?"

Example Text: Have you ever heard of a railroad with no tracks, with secret stations, and whose conductors were considered criminals?

A quotation from a famous person or from an expert on your topic can gain the attention of the audience. The use of a quotation immediately launches you into the speech and focuses the audience on your topic area. If it is from a well-known source, cite the author first. If the source is obscure, begin with the quote itself.

Example Text : "No day dawns for the slave, nor is it looked for. It is all night--night forever . . . ." (Pause) This quote was taken from Jermain Loguen, a fugitive who was the son of his Tennessee master and a slave woman.

Unusual Statement

Making a statement that is unusual to the ears of your listeners is another possibility for gaining their attention.

Example Text : "Follow the drinking gourd. That's what I said, friend, follow the drinking gourd." This phrase was used by slaves as a coded message to mean the Big Dipper, which revealed the North Star, and pointed toward freedom.

You might chose to use tasteful humor which relates to the topic as an effective way to attract the audience both to you and the subject at hand.

Example Text : "I'm feeling boxed in." [PAUSE] I'm not sure, but these may have been Henry "Box" Brown's very words after being placed on his head inside a box which measured 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 1\2 feet for what seemed to him like "an hour and a half." He was shipped by Adams Express to freedom in Philadelphia (Brown 60,92; Still 10).

Shocking Statistic

Another possibility to consider is the use of a factual statistic intended to grab your listener's attention. As you research the topic you've picked, keep your eyes open for statistics that will have impact.

Example Text : Today, John Elway's talents are worth millions, but in 1840 the price of a human life, a slave, was worth $1,000.00.

Example Text : Today I'd like to tell you about the Underground Railroad.

In your introduction, you need to adapt your speech to your audience. To keep audience members interested, tell them why your topic is important to them. To accomplish this task, you need to undertake audience analysis prior to creating the speech. Figure out who your audience members are, what things are important to them, what their biases may be, and what types of subjects/issues appeal to them. In the context of this class, some of your audience analysis is provided for you--most of your listeners are college students, so it is likely that they place some value on education, most of them are probably not bathing in money, and they live in Colorado. Consider these traits when you determine how to adapt to your audience.

As you research and write your speech, take note of references to issues that should be important to your audience. Include statements about aspects of your speech that you think will be of special interest to the audience in the introduction. By accomplishing this task, you give your listeners specific things with which they can identify. Audience adaptation will be included throughout the speech, but an effective introduction requires meaningful adaptation of the topic to the audience.

You need to find ways to get the members of your audience involved early in the speech. The following are some possible options to connect your speech to your audience:

Reference to the Occasion

Consider how the occasion itself might present an opportunity to heighten audience receptivity. Remind your listeners of an important date just passed or coming soon.

Example Text : This January will mark the 130th anniversary of a "giant interracial rally" organized by William Still which helped to end streetcar segregation in the city of Philadelphia (Katz i).

Reference to the Previous Speaker

Another possibility is to refer to a previous speaker to capitalize on the good will which already has been established or to build on the information presented.

Example Text : As Alice pointed out last week in her speech on the Olympic games of the ancient world, history can provide us with fascinating lessons.

The credibility statement establishes your qualifications as a speaker. You should come up with reasons why you are someone to listen to on this topic. Why do you have special knowledge or understanding of this topic? What can the audience learn from you that they couldn't learn from someone else? Credibility statements can refer to your extensive research on a topic, your life-long interest in an issue, your personal experience with a thing, or your desire to better the lives of your listeners by sifting through the topic and providing the crucial information.

Remember that Aristotle said that credibility, or ethos, consists of good sense, goodwill, and good moral character. Create the feeling that you possess these qualities by creatively stating that you are well-educated about the topic (good sense), that you want to help each member of the audience (goodwill), and that you are a decent person who can be trusted (good moral character). Once you establish your credibility, the audience is more likely to listen to you as something of an expert and to consider what you say to be the truth. It is often effective to include further references to your credibility throughout the speech by subtly referring to the traits mentioned above.

Show your listeners that you are qualified to speak by making a specific reference to a helpful resource. This is one way to demonstrate competence.

Example Text : In doing research for this topic, I came across an account written by one of these heroes that has deepened my understanding of the institution of slavery. Frederick Douglass', My Bondage and My Freedom, is the account of a man whose master's kindness made his slavery only more unbearable.

Your listeners want to believe that you have their best interests in mind. In the case of an informative speech, it is enough to assure them that this will be an interesting speech and that you, yourself, are enthusiastic about the topic.

Example Text : I hope you'll enjoy hearing about the heroism of the Underground Railroad as much as I have enjoyed preparing for this speech.

Preview the Main Points

The preview informs the audience about the speech's main points. You should preview every main body point and identify each as a separate piece of the body. The purpose of this preview is to let the audience members prepare themselves for the flow of the speech; therefore, you should word the preview clearly and concisely. Attempt to use parallel structure for each part of the preview and avoid delving into the main point; simply tell the audience what the main point will be about in general.

Use the preview to briefly establish your structure and then move on. Let the audience get a taste of how you will divide the topic and fulfill the thesis and then move on. This important tool will reinforce the information in the minds of your listeners. Here are two examples of a preview:

Simply identify the main points of the speech. Cover them in the same order that they will appear in the body of the presentation.

For example, the preview for a speech about kites organized topically might take this form: "First, I will inform you about the invention of the kite. Then, I will explain the evolution of the kite. Third, I will introduce you to the different types of kites. Finally, I will inform you about various uses for kites." Notice that this preview avoids digressions (e.g., listing the various uses for kites); you will take care of the deeper information within the body of the speech.

Example Text : I'll tell you about motivations and means of escape employed by fugitive slaves.


For example, the preview for a speech about the Pony Express organized chronologically might take this form: "I'll talk about the Pony Express in three parts. First, its origins, second, its heyday, and third, how it came to an end." Notice that this preview avoids digressions (e.g., listing the reasons why the Pony Express came to an end); you will cover the deeper information within the body of the speech.

Example Text : I'll talk about it in three parts. First, its origins, second, its heyday, and third, how it came to an end.

After you accomplish the first five components of the introduction, you should make a clean transition to the body of the speech. Use this transition to signal a change and prepare the audience to begin processing specific topical information. You should round out the introduction, reinforce the excitement and interest that you created in the audience during the introduction, and slide into the first main body point.

Strategic organization helps increase the clarity and effectiveness of your speech. Four key issues are discussed in this section:

Organizational Patterns

Connective devices, references to outside research.

The body contains the bulk of information in your speech and needs to be clearly organized. Without clear organization, the audience will probably forget your information, main points, perhaps even your thesis. Some simple strategies will help you create a clear, memorable speech. Below are the four key issues used in organizing a speech.

Once you settle on a topic, you should decide which aspects of that topic are of greatest importance for your speech. These aspects become your main points. While there is no rule about how many main points should appear in the body of the speech, most students go with three main points. You must have at least two main points; aside from that rule, you should select your main points based on the importance of the information and the time limitations. Be sure to include whatever information is necessary for the audience to understand your topic. Also, be sure to synthesize the information so it fits into the assigned time frame. As you choose your main points, try to give each point equal attention within the speech. If you pick three main points, each point should take up roughly one-third of the body section of your speech.

There are four basic patterns of organization for an informative speech.

  • Chronological order
  • Spatial order
  • Causal order
  • Topical order

There are four basic patterns of organization for an informative speech. You can choose any of these patterns based on which pattern serves the needs of your speech.

Chronological Order

A speech organized chronologically has main points oriented toward time. For example, a speech about the Farm Aid benefit concert could have main points organized chronologically. The first main point focuses on the creation of the event; the second main point focuses on the planning stages; the third point focuses on the actual performance/concert; and the fourth point focuses on donations and assistance that resulted from the entire process. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that could be followed on a calendar or a clock.

Spatial Order

A speech organized spatially has main points oriented toward space or a directional pattern. The Farm Aid speech's body could be organized in spatial order. The first main point discusses the New York branch of the organization; the second main point discusses the Midwest branch; the third main point discusses the California branch of Farm Aid. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that could be traced on a map.

Causal Order

A speech organized causally has main points oriented toward cause and effect. The main points of a Farm Aid speech organized causally could look like this: the first main point informs about problems on farms and the need for monetary assistance; the second main point discusses the creation and implementation of the Farm Aid program. In this format, you discuss main points in an order that alerts the audience to a problem or circumstance and then tells the audience what action resulted from the original circumstance.

Topical Order

A speech organized topically has main points organized more randomly by sub-topics. The Farm Aid speech could be organized topically: the first main point discusses Farm Aid administrators; the second main point discusses performers; the third main point discusses sponsors; the fourth main point discusses audiences. In this format, you discuss main points in a more random order that labels specific aspects of the topic and addresses them in separate categories. Most speeches that are not organized chronologically, spatially, or causally are organized topically.

Within the body of your speech, you need clear internal structure. Connectives are devices used to create a clear flow between ideas and points within the body of your speech--they serve to tie the speech together. There are four main types of connective devices:


Internal previews, internal summaries.

Within the body of your speech, you need clear internal structure. Think of connectives as hooks and ladders for the audience to use when moving from point-to-point within the body of your speech. These devices help re-focus the minds of audience members and remind them of which main point your information is supporting. The four main types of connective devices are:

Transitions are brief statements that tell the audience to shift gears between ideas. Transitions serve as the glue that holds the speech together and allow the audience to predict where the next portion of the speech will go. For example, once you have previewed your main points and you want to move from the introduction to the body of the Farm Aid speech, you might say: "To gain an adequate understanding of the intricacies of this philanthropic group, we need to look at some specific information about Farm Aid. We'll begin by looking at the administrative branch of this massive fund-raising organization."

Internal previews are used to preview the parts of a main point. Internal previews are more focused than, but serve the same purpose as, the preview you will use in the introduction of the speech. For example, you might create an internal preview for the complex main point dealing with Farm Aid performers: "In examining the Farm Aid performers, we must acknowledge the presence of entertainers from different genres of music--country and western, rhythm and blues, rock, and pop." The internal preview provides specific information for the audience if a main point is complex or potentially confusing.

Internal summaries are the reverse of internal previews. Internal summaries restate specific parts of a main point. To internally summarize the main point dealing with Farm Aid performers, you might say: "You now know what types of people perform at the Farm Aid benefit concerts. The entertainers come from a wide range of musical genres--country and western, rhythm and blues, rock, and pop." When using both internal previews and internal summaries, be sure to stylize the language in each so you do not become redundant.

Signposts are brief statements that remind the audience where you are within the speech. If you have a long point, you may want to remind the audience of what main point you are on: "Continuing my discussion of Farm Aid performers . . . "

When organizing the body of your speech, you will integrate several references to your research. The purpose of the informative speech is to allow you and the audience to learn something new about a topic. Additionally, source citations add credibility to your ideas. If you know a lot about rock climbing and you cite several sources who confirm your knowledge, the audience is likely to see you as a credible speaker who provides ample support for ideas.

Without these references, your speech is more like a story or a chance for you to say a few things you know. To complete this assignment satisfactorily, you must use source citations. Consult your textbook and instructor for specific information on how much supporting material you should use and about the appropriate style for source citations.

While the conclusion should be brief and tight, it has a few specific tasks to accomplish:

Re-assert/Reinforce the Thesis

Review the main points, close effectively.

Take a deep breath! If you made it to the conclusion, you are on the brink of finishing. Below are the tasks you should complete in your conclusion:

When making the transition to the conclusion, attempt to make clear distinctions (verbally and nonverbally) that you are now wrapping up the information and providing final comments about the topic. Refer back to the thesis from the introduction with wording that calls the original thesis into memory. Assert that you have accomplished the goals of your thesis statement and create the feeling that audience members who actively considered your information are now equipped with an understanding of your topic. Reinforce whatever mood/tone you chose for the speech and attempt to create a big picture of the speech.

Within the conclusion, re-state the main points of the speech. Since you have used parallel wording for your main points in the introduction and body, don't break that consistency in the conclusion. Frame the review so the audience will be reminded of the preview and the developed discussion of each main point. After the review, you may want to create a statement about why those main points fulfilled the goals of the speech.

Finish strongly. When you close your speech, craft statements that reinforce the message and leave the audience with a clear feeling about what was accomplished with your speech. You might finalize the adaptation by discussing the benefits of listening to the speech and explaining what you think audience members can do with the information.

Remember to maintain an informative tone for this speech. You should not persuade about beliefs or positions; rather, you should persuade the audience that the speech was worthwhile and useful. For greatest effect, create a closing line or paragraph that is artistic and effective. Much like the attention-getter, the closing line needs to be refined and practiced. Your close should stick with the audience and leave them interested in your topic. Take time to work on writing the close well and attempt to memorize it so you can directly address the audience and leave them thinking of you as a well-prepared, confident speaker.

Outlining an Informative Speech

Two types of outlines can help you prepare to deliver your speech. The complete sentence outline provides a useful means of checking the organization and content of your speech. The speaking outline is an essential aid for delivering your speech. In this section, we discuss both types of outlines.

Two types of outlines can help you prepare to deliver your speech. The complete sentence outline provides a useful means of checking the organization and content of your speech. The speaking outline is an essential aid for delivering your speech.

The Complete Sentence Outline

A complete sentence outline may not be required for your presentation. The following information is useful, however, in helping you prepare your speech.

The complete sentence outline helps you organize your material and thoughts and it serves as an excellent copy for editing the speech. The complete sentence outline is just what it sounds like: an outline format including every complete sentence (not fragments or keywords) that will be delivered during your speech.

Writing the Outline

You should create headings for the introduction, body, and conclusion and clearly signal shifts between these main speech parts on the outline. Use standard outline format. For instance, you can use Roman numerals, letters, and numbers to label the parts of the outline. Organize the information so the major headings contain general information and the sub-headings become more specific as they descend. Think of the outline as a funnel: you should make broad, general claims at the top of each part of the outline and then tighten the information until you have exhausted the point. Do this with each section of the outline. Be sure to consult with your instructor about specific aspects of the outline and refer to your course book for further information and examples.

Using the Outline

If you use this outline as it is designed to be used, you will benefit from it. You should start the outline well before your speech day and give yourself plenty of time to revise it. Attempt to have the final, clean copies ready two or three days ahead of time, so you can spend a day or two before your speech working on delivery. Prepare the outline as if it were a final term paper.

The Speaking Outline

Depending upon the assignment and the instructor, you may use a speaking outline during your presentation. The following information will be helpful in preparing your speech through the use of a speaking outline.

This outline should be on notecards and should be a bare bones outline taken from the complete sentence outline. Think of the speaking outline as train tracks to guide you through the speech.

Many speakers find it helpful to highlight certain words/passages or to use different colors for different parts of the speech. You will probably want to write out long or cumbersome quotations along with your source citation. Many times, the hardest passages to learn are those you did not write but were spoken by someone else. Avoid the temptation to over-do the speaking outline; many speakers write too much on the cards and their grades suffer because they read from the cards.

The best strategy for becoming comfortable with a speaking outline is preparation. You should prepare well ahead of time and spend time working with the notecards and memorizing key sections of your speech (the introduction and conclusion, in particular). Try to become comfortable with the extemporaneous style of speaking. You should be able to look at a few keywords on your outline and deliver eloquent sentences because you are so familiar with your material. You should spend approximately 80% of your speech making eye-contact with your audience.

Delivering an Informative Speech

For many speakers, delivery is the most intimidating aspect of public speaking. Although there is no known cure for nervousness, you can make yourself much more comfortable by following a few basic delivery guidelines. In this section, we discuss those guidelines.

The Five-Step Method for Improving Delivery

  • Read aloud your full-sentence outline. Listen to what you are saying and adjust your language to achieve a good, clear, simple sentence structure.
  • Practice the speech repeatedly from the speaking outline. Become comfortable with your keywords to the point that what you say takes the form of an easy, natural conversation.
  • Practice the speech aloud...rehearse it until you are confident you have mastered the ideas you want to present. Do not be concerned about "getting it just right." Once you know the content, you will find the way that is most comfortable for you.
  • Practice in front of a mirror, tape record your practice, and/or present your speech to a friend. You are looking for feedback on rate of delivery, volume, pitch, non-verbal cues (gestures, card-usage, etc.), and eye-contact.
  • Do a dress rehearsal of the speech under conditions as close as possible to those of the actual speech. Practice the speech a day or two before in a classroom. Be sure to incorporate as many elements as possible in the dress rehearsal...especially visual aids.

It should be clear that coping with anxiety over delivering a speech requires significant advanced preparation. The speech needs to be completed several days beforehand so that you can effectively employ this five-step plan.

Citation Information

Thad Anderson and Ron Tajchman. (1994-2024). Informative Speaking. The WAC Clearinghouse. Colorado State University. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/repository/resources/writing/guides/.

Copyright Information

Copyright © 1994-2024 Colorado State University and/or this site's authors, developers, and contributors . Some material displayed on this site is used with permission.


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