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developing & writing a thesis statement
Transcript of developing & writing a thesis statement
Why a thesis statement is so important:
A Thesis Helps You and Your Reader
It's your blueprint for writing:
- Helps you determine your focus and clarify your ideas.
- Provides a "hook" on which you can "hang" your topic sentences.
- Can (and should) be revised as you further refine your evidence and arguments. New evidence often requires you to change your thesis.
- Gives your paper a unified structure and point.
It's your reader’s blueprint for reading:
- Serves as a "map" to follow through your paper.
- Keeps the reader focused on your argument.
- Signals to the reader your main points.
- Engages the reader in your argument.
If the topic is not assigned . . .
If the topic is assigned...
Remember, a good thesis statement causes your reader to have confidence in you.
Let's practice spotting thesis statements...
What is a thesis statement?
Does writing a thesis statement make you feel like this?
Are there different kinds of thesis statements?
Your thesis statement will depend on what kind of paper you are writing.
What is the paper’s purpose?—to
convince? to explain? to analyze?
Three Types of Thesis Statements
Argumentative Thesis Statement
- takes a position or makes an assertion or a claim and supports or justifies the position, assertion, or claim with reasons and evidence.
EX: “Smoking should be banned in all public places.”
Explanatory (Expository) Thesis Statement
- explains or acquaints your reader with something (your topic). Tells your reader what it is you will explain and what aspects or parts of the topic will be considered.
EX: ” Chinese labor played an important role in western railroad expansion.”
Analytical Thesis Statement
- tells your reader what issue or idea you are analyzing, what aspects of the issue or idea you are evaluating and how you will be
presenting your analyses.
EX: “An analysis of the ferruginous hawk reveals two kinds of flight
patterns: patterns related to hunting prey and patterns related to courtship.”
Criteria for a Good Thesis Statement
1. Arguable – Presents a viewpoint that can be questioned or challenged by the reader
2. Supportable – Can be backed up with evidence
3. Specific – Not vague, not too general, not too broad
4. “Maps out” the paper – Gives the reader a guide to the organization of the argument
5. Usually in third person – No “I” or “me”
A Thesis Statement is:
- a one- or two-sentence summary of the argument or analysis that is to follow
- it's usually near the end of the introduction in an essay/research paper
Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence summary of the argument or analysis that is to follow.
Example of Brainstorming a Thesis
Select a topic:
television violence and children
Ask an interesting question:
What are the effects of television violence on children?
Revise the question into a thesis:
Violence on television increases aggressive behavior in preschool children.
Remember this argument is your “preliminary” or “working” thesis. As you read you may discover evidence that may affect your stance. It's okay to revise your thesis!
Name one thing you
know about thesis
What a thesis statement is NOT:
- It is not an announcement of your intent.
"In this paper, I will examine the causes and effects of world hunger."
- It is not a statement of fact.
"Many college students work while they attend classes."
"Smoking can cause health problems."
- It is not a description of your subject, or a topic sentence.
"Big Spring is a small town in West Texas."
It is not a question.
"Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?"
* Why are these not effective thesis statements?
An essay without a thesis
statement is like a car
without a driver."
Tips for Writing a Good Thesis Statement
- Re-read the assignment directions and make notes. Figure out what question the assignment is asking.
EX: “Assess the benefits of team learning assignments in higher education."
Turn it into a question:
Q: “What are the benefits of team learning in higher education?”
A: The potential benefits of team learning in higher education include... The answer is a starting point to your thesis.
- Research. Get to know the topic by reading related articles, books/chapters, etc.
- Establish a position. Develop an argument that directly addresses the topic or question.
- Narrow your topic. Develop a working thesis statement.
Remember, it's normal to re-write the thesis statement during any point in the writing process.
1. Brainstorm the topic. Is there something about the topic that surprises you? Does something an "expert" says make you respond, "No way! That can't be right!" or "Yes, absolutely. I agree!"
2. Browse the literature on that topic to get a feel for what the big issues are in that area.
3. As you browse the literature, notice which topics have been written about by lots of people ... which topics have research ... which topics need more research, etc.
4. Based on that assessment of the literature, pick a topic that will work well for your particular assignment.