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Thesis Statements

a workshop explaining how to create effective thesis statements, produced for the Sacramento City College Writing Center

Elizabeth Geisser

on 10 November 2015

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Transcript of Thesis Statements

Social media is a beneficial part of society because it allows people to stay connected to the people they care about.
Social media is a detrimental part of society because it causes people to disconnect from reality, oversaturates users with information, and creates many privacy concerns.
Thesis Statements
What a Thesis Statements Is:
An unsupported opinion
If your paper would work better without a
divided thesis
, come up with more general categories that your individual reasons belong to.
An answer to the prompt's question
A "roadmap" for the paper
A sentence that controls the direction of the essay
The main idea or argument of the essay
A sentence that tells the reader what the essay plans to prove
Simply a fact that cannot be argued
A sentence that must begin with "I believe" or "I think"
What a Thesis Statement Is NOT:
A thesis statement is basically an
to the
posed in an assignment prompt. When in doubt about how to write a thesis statement, refer to the assignment and use it as a guide to help you get started.
Remember that it’s ok to
your thesis statement as you write your paper. If your essay changes directions, your thesis statement should also be changed to match it.
To avoid listing in a thesis statement, ask yourself if any of your supporting reasons have anything in common.
Example: “interesting museums,” "beautiful landmarks," and “exciting theater scene” all involve culture.
This general description can replace a list:
e.g. New York City is a wonderful place to visit because of its many cultural offerings.
In some writing courses, teachers ask students to list supporting reasons in a thesis statement (
Divided Thesis
). Example:
New York City is a wonderful place to visit because of its many interesting museums, beautiful landmarks, and exciting theater scene.
However, many other writing teachers will discourage using a list of reasons because it can limit a paper’s structure or give away all the essay’s details in the introduction.
an SCC Writing Center Workshop
What are you writing about?
Narrow your topic from general ideas
Climate Change
to specific concerns:
the effects of climate change on the Antarctic Ice Shelf
Many assignments provide a topic, so it's a good idea to refer to the prompt to be sure your paper is on the correct topic.
What do you think about this topic?
Many papers require a strict "either this or that" response: it can only be either black or white, fully agree or fully disagree. However, other papers allow for more gray area, where an opinion might partially agree and partially disagree with an idea.
If you're not sure what you think about the topic, spend some time
doing research
brainstorming ideas
before writing your thesis statement.
Why do you have this opinion about the topic?
Look back to your pre-writing to see what reasons you have listed.
If your teacher requires a
divided thesis
, or if your paper lends itself to doing so, list each reason in the order your paper will discuss them.
Prompt: Social media has become a major part of many people's lives, allowing people to connect with one another across physical and social divides; however, many argue that social media makes people less engaged in their real world lives. Is social media a beneficial part of society? Why or why not?
Or no?
lets people connect with friends
privacy issues: identity theft, security
excludes people who don't belong
many people spend more time on social media than with friends/family in real life
share stories and photos with many people at once
keep people up-to-date without much effort
helps families stay in touch
too much info
possible thesis statement:
Prompt Question
What is the most important change that should be made at Sac City College?
What does it take to be successful?
Should college students have jobs?
Are students offered enough support at Sac City College?
Students at Sac City College
are offered a lot of support
Students at Sac City College are offered a lot of support from both student services programs and trained faculty and staff members.
Full transcript