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Thesis Statements

A Montgomery College Germantown Writing Center Workshop

Allison Hutchison

on 26 August 2014

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Transcript of Thesis Statements

Thesis Statements
A Writing Center Workshop

What is it?
Limited topic + Controlling idea = Thesis statement
Limited topic = narrowed topic
Brainstorm, cluster, or freewrite to narrow topic
Controlling idea = author's belief, opinion, or attitude toward limited topic
Ask yourself questions about the limited topic, i.e.:
How do I know if my thesis is any good?
If you answer 'yes' to any of these questions, your thesis will need revision:
Practice What You've Learned
Ask yourself whether the following thesis statements are effective or not:
Try this website for creating a cluster or mind map:
Why are electric cars better than fuel-based cars?
Do androids dream of electric sheep?
Are there better options for evaluating student progress than standardized testing?
What do I want my audience to do or to know about cancer prevention?
Is my thesis:
Stating a fact?
Asking a question?
Too wordy? (Aim for approx. 25 words)
Too broad?
An incomplete sentence?
Announcing the topic to the audience? (i.e., "The topic of my paper is...")
Your thesis statement is called a working thesis during the prewriting and drafting stages, meaning it can change.
Reasons a thesis might change:
new evidence is found
the evidence is insufficient
the writer's mind changes
1. The advantages of majoring in engineering.
2. I would like to discuss my views on basketball.
3. Students should be allowed to manage the bookstore.
4. When I came to the United States, I wasn't used to eating in fast food places, and I was amazed at the shopping centers.
5. Why do I want to be a teacher?
6. Knowing a foreign language can be beneficial to anyone.
7. This advertisement attempts to appeal to the readers' sense of patriotism.
This is not a thesis because it is not a complete sentence.
REVISED: College students should be allowed to manage the bookstore in order to learn business, personal, and academic skills.
This is a thesis because it contains a limited topic (bookstore) and a controlling idea (students should manage it).
REVISED: Basketball is a sport that teaches young players how to be successful in life.
This is not a thesis because it announces the topic to the audience, and the controlling idea is not present.
REVISED: Foreigners coming to the United States may experience difficulty adjusting to fast food places and shopping centers.
This is not a good thesis because the controlling idea is so narrow that it practically becomes a fact.
REVISED: Potential teachers should consider the challenges of the job before pursuing a degree.
This is not a thesis because it is a question, not a statement.
REVISED: Learning to speak Spanish is beneficial to almost any job-seeker in America.
Yes, this is a thesis statement! The limited topic could be narrowed a bit more, depending on the length of the paper.
REVISED: This Gucci advertisement uses patriotism to lure customers into buying expensive, poorly made clothing.
While this thesis does have a controlling idea, it is rather weak. The audience will want to know why it matters that the advertisement is using patriotism to appeal to its readers.
REVISED: The advantages of majoring in engineering far outweigh the advantages of majoring in mathematics.
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