Creating an effective thesis statement is the heart of composing any essay, including one concerning the effects of prejudice. A thesis statement is a road map for the paper, telling the reader exactly how the paper will progress. Remember that your thesis about the effects of prejudice must be proven by the end of the paper, so choose a topic that is both relevant and arguable. Your topic also needs to be specific; it would be impossible to write a paper about all of the effects of all types of prejudice. Keeping this in mind, consider different aspects of prejudice you believe are important or that you are most interested in. Focus your research on a specific aspect of prejudice, and then formulate your thesis about the effects of that particular type of prejudice.
Determine the specific aspect of the effects of prejudice you wish to pursue. Start with a broad topic, and then brainstorm ways to make the topic as narrow as possible. Don't worry about constructing the actual thesis statement at this point; just get ideas down on paper. The topic does not need to be your actual thesis statement; it is most likely too broad. For example, you might start with a general topic of prejudice in elementary schools. From there, you could narrow it to the effects of bullying on interracial students.
Research the specific idea you wish to pursue concerning the effects of prejudice. For a paper on bullying in elementary schools, psychology texts would be helpful, as would sociology and education-related texts. From your school's library site, you should have access to the library's online catalogue, as well as a databases that can help you find academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other types of sources. Perform a general search through the school's library and see what is already there. Search electronic and online journals as well. You can perform a general search within the school's research database for just psychology texts, and then do more specific searches once you find the right journal. Try varying your search terms to get different results: "bullying in schools," "effects of bullying on children" and "prejudice in elementary schools," for example.
Narrow down the topic to a single idea that is relevant and interesting once you have completed the research. For example, if you began by researching the effects of prejudice on elementary schoolchildren, you might narrow this down to comparing the effects of prejudice on Middle Eastern students in rural and urban areas post-9/11. Once you've got your topic, be sure to take a clear and unequivocal position on the topic. Depending upon what the results suggest, you may argue that Middle Eastern students face the same prejudicial hurdles in both urban and rural areas, or that rural students face more prejudice than urban students, or vice versa.
Focus your research into a quantifiable, provable statement. This means developing an argument that you can prove by the end of the essay. Be sure to tell the reader what you are arguing and tend to prove by the end of the essay. Make sure your position on the issue is clear. For example: "Since 9/11, there has been a decline in the quality of education for Middle Eastern students in America; focusing on the prejudice exhibited by both teachers and fellow students, test scores and personal testimony reflect the negative environment faced by Middle Eastern students. The negative environment created by prejudice stunts intellectual growth and the esteem needed to function at their full potential."
Create a statement that passes the "So what?" test. If after reading your thesis, the reader can say, "So what?" and not have an actual answer, the thesis statement is too broad. According to the Online Writing Lab at Purdue, "The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided." The above example passes the test, because the "So what?" is that statistical evidence proves Middle Eastern students face a negative school environment, and therefore they have more difficult time succeeding.