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Writing a Thesis Statement

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Dan Jatovsky

on 20 July 2017

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Transcript of Writing a Thesis Statement

The Thesis Statement Journey
Introductory Paragraph
It states the main idea of the essay in a complete sentence.
If you have a good thesis statement, creating an outline or plan is relatively easy.
Outlining: Your Trail Map
The thesis statement is the essay's main idea summarized in one complete sentence at the end of the introduction
What is a Thesis Statement?
After you have completed the
prewriting stage
and generated some main ideas of what you would like to write in your essay, you can begin thinking about writing a
thesis statement
.
Definition: Thesis Statement
A
thesis statement
is a complete sentence that contains one main idea. This idea controls the content of the entire essay. A
thesis statement
may also contain a list of points which directs the audience on the reading journey they are about to embark upon. The thesis tells the reader how the essay will be organized and what to expect in the rest of the paper.
The
thesis statement
will appear in the
introductory paragraph
of your essay. It is usually located near the end of the paragraph. It is usually one or two sentences long. It should be clear and concise.
Why locate it in the introduction?

Do Not Take a Misstep in Your Path to Developing an Effective Thesis
Don't Forget to Include a
Point Of View
2nd False Step: Don't Make an Announcement!
In your thesis statement, you should avoid using statements like, "This essay will discuss..." or "I am going to write about...". Try to write a thesis statement that captures your reader's attention without
announcing
your main topic and stating the obvious.

Example:
This essay will explore the disastrous effects
of drug abuse.
The Right Step
Example:
Long-term drug abuse can have disastrous effects on
one's marriage, career, and health.

Note: This type of thesis statement includes a plan of development. In other words, you are promising the reader that you will discuss, in order, the effect on marriage, then on career, and finally on health. A plan of development is not required, but it can help guide a reader, especially if the subject is complex.
3rd False Step: Do not state a fact or make an obvious point!
If you begin by stating a fact or an obvious point as your thesis statement, then you have no place to go next because a fact does not invite much discussion. Remember that your thesis statement should provide your point of view or attitude.
The Right Step

Example:

Attending a two-year community college has many advantages over enrolling in a four-year university.

Note: This thesis does not include a plan of development. It does promise the reader that it will contrast two subjects. The points will be made clear in the body of the essay.
4th False Step: Do Not Use Broad Statements or You
Could Lose Your Way!
A topic that is too broad will make it difficult for you
to convey your paper's central idea within the boundaries of your
paper and make it difficult for your reader to understand your
essay's point.
The Right Step
Example:
Although a trip to the casino is harmless entertainment for most people, for some it can lead to a gambling addiction that can ruin their lives.

Note: This is an example of a two-part thesis. The first half (casinos are harmless for most) will be established in either the introduction or the first body paragraph. The bulk of the essay will concentrate on proving the main idea that addiction can ruin people's lives.
Let's Review: The Key Steps to a
Thesis Statement
What does your thesis statement do?
It narrows your subject to a
single
, central idea
Where Will a Thesis Statement Lead Us?
Let's practice with the following example:
Comics have been part of America since the 1930s and their appeal has survived to the present day. Graphic novels are comics in a trade paperback format; the story is told both through text and through images. Graphic novels first appeared on the scene in 1978 and are steadily becoming mainstream in American culture. In recent years, much debate has been stirred regarding whether or not graphic novels have a place within a library's collection. To most, comics and graphic novels are silly, violent, and chauvinistic. However, comics are no longer simply men in tights; many graphic novels deal with current issues and serious subjects. Graphic novels have matured to become a legitimate form of literature with many titles winning major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize. While the overall general public tends to feel that graphic novels are a frivolous use of a library's budget, more and more librarians are finding that graphic novels are powerful tools in getting reluctant students to read.

Can you identify the thesis statement?
Can the reader identify how the essay will be organized?

Co
mics have been part of America since the 1930s and their appeal has survived to the present day. Graphic novels are comics in a trade paperback format; the story is told both through text and through images. Graphic novels first appeared on the scene in 1978 and are steadily becoming mainstream in American culture. In recent years, much debate has been stirred regarding whether or not graphic novels have a place within a library's collection. To most, comics and graphic novels are silly, violent, and chauvinistic. However, comics are no longer simply men in tights;
many graphic novels deal with current issues and serious subjects. Graphic novels have matured to become a legitimate form of literature with many titles winning major literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.

While the overall general public tends to feel that graphic novels are a frivolous use of a library's budget, more and more librarians are finding that graphic novels are powerful tools in getting reluctant students to read.

The thesis statement contains the main ideas that controls the content of the essay.
The points listed in the thesis or close to the thesis statement signal how the essay will be organized.
Thesis Statement = Essay's Map
Conclusion
Other False Steps

Thesis statements are not questions.
Incorrect: Why do people smoke?

Thesis statements do not include examples.
Incorrect: People smoke to relieve stress,
for example, because of job pressures.

Thesis statements must be focused on only one main idea.
Incorrect: People smoke to relieve stress and to satisfy their cravings.
How do you come up with a thesis statement?
Look at your prewriting!!!!!!
What ideas stand out the most?
Are there similar ideas that can be grouped together? (But be careful not to group together unrelated ideas, or your essay will lack unity.)
1st False Step: Don't Forget to Include a Point of View
A plan of development, i.e. your three supporting ideas by themselves, is not a thesis. Your thesis must contain a strong point of view.
Example: Owning a home can improve a family's financial situation,
strengthen ties to the community, and provide a safe environment
for children.
The Right Step
Example: Owning a home can improve a family's
stability.
This thesis has a point of view. If you want, you can add a
plan of development to it:
Owning a home can improve a family's stability by enhancing
its financial situation, strengthening its ties to
the community, and providing a safer environment
for children.
It claims something
specific and significant
about your subject
It conveys your
purpose

It lets the
reader
know what to expect
The Essay Paradigm
The thesis statement controls every aspect of the essay.
Readers want to know where they are going, in other words, what the essay will be about.
Don't Make an
Announcement
Don't Make a
Factual

Statement
Don't Make a
Broad

Statement
Example:
Over 12,000 students attend Essex County College.

Example:
Gambling addiction is a growing problem
in our country.
Correct: People smoke to relieve stress.

Usually it is written at the end of the introductory paragraph.
It contains the main topic [limited subject]and your point of view.
It can (but is not required to) list the points that will be discussed in the body of the essay (a plan of development).
It narrows your topic to a specific focus that you will investigate in your paper.
It makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
Remember that the thesis statement focuses both the writer's [you!] and the reader's [your instructor and your fellow students] attention on the specific issues (points) to be developed within the essay.
The points listed in your plan of development (if you have one) can be turned into topic sentences for the supporting paragraphs in the body of your essay.
You will support it with evidence and specific details in the body paragraphs
It evolves as you draft your essay and discover what you have to say about your topic
You will restate (not repeat) or refer to your thesis in the conclusion
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