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Thesis Statements

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by

Elise Phillips

on 12 September 2013

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Transcript of Thesis Statements

Thesis Statements
Why?
to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
to better organize and develop your argument
to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
What?
take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
express one main idea
tells what you are going to prove
ONLY ONE SENTENCE!!!!!!!!
How?
Easy Way:
Ask a question. Answer the question. The ANSWER is your thesis statement.
Hard Way:
1. Brainstorm the Topic.
Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume. You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.
2. Narrow your topic.
Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.
You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.
3. Take a position on the topic.
After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.
You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.
4. Provide a clear, specific "road map" for your paper
You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.
Samuel Mudd.
Deciding if Samuel Mudd was guily or innocent of conspiracy against the United States government.
Samuel Mudd was not guilty of conspiracy against the United States government.
Though Samuel Mudd had been engaged in suspicious activity at the the time of Lincoln's assassination, he can be proven "not guilty" based on evidence from three key witnesses: Sarah Mudd, Alfred O'Donahugue, and Lettie Hall.
Deciding whether or not Samuel Mudd received a fair trial.
Samuel Mudd did not receive a fair trial.
Samuel Mudd did not receive a fair trial becuase the rules of a military court did not require a unanimous decision about his case and because many of the prosecutor's witnesses were not reliable sources of information.
Samuel Mudd.
September 11.
Deciding if increased air travel security procedures have been worth it.
The increase in air travel security procedures is not worth it.
Adding extra security measures such as body scans and pat-downs in airports diminishes Americans' freedom and dignity, and according to recent reports by the 9/11 Commission, does not make our skies significantly safer.
Full transcript