Possibly the two most important things a writer must consider are audience and purpose. Communication can’t happen without an other and it is useless without a general or specific agenda. For a writer, it just makes good sense to know who you are directing your work toward and what it is you want your work to accomplish. And it’s equally important that your reader feels a part of your intended audience and that she understands what you want your work to say to her. In this sense, audience and purpose work in two directions: A writer’s audience will influence his purpose, while his purpose will influence which audience the writer chooses to address. The terms are symbiotic.
While audience and purpose are the writer’s main concerns, the way a paper’s purpose is offered to the audience lies in the paper’s thesis, the presentation, in writing, of the paper’s main idea. The thesis is what connects audience with purpose and thus deserves much attention.
Even though the concept of thesis itself seems quite simple, thesis is a slippery subject. Primarily the thesis presents a work’s main idea by making a statement that implies or shows the direction the rest of the work will take. For example, if a paper’s purpose is to show that Hitler’s politcal rise in Germany was the product of a sound resurent industrial economy, the thesis would not make a statement of purpose by starting out with, “My paper will show that . . .,” rather, a thesis statement will directly state the writer’s views: “Hitler's Nazi party was the product of a sound resurgent industrial economy.” In the process of making such a statement, the paper’s purpose and the main idea by which this purpose can be realized bring the reader into a sense of what she will be reading in the following pages and the writer’s promise to deliver the goods.
The thesis not only connects audience with purpose, it also promises the reader that the work will follow through on the idea the thesis presents....