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Writing Thesis Statements and Claims

Thesis Statements
by

Elanna Killackey

on 29 August 2013

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Transcript of Writing Thesis Statements and Claims

Writing
Thesis
Statements
& Claims
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement consists of one sentence that guides an essay. It introduces the essay's topic and includes a summary of the essay.

A thesis statement is found in the introductory paragraph of a essay, and is normally the last sentences.
Argumentative
Your thesis statement should challenge people’s beliefs and provoke an argument. It should be confrontational, but still rational.
For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe.
High School Example
College Example
While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline.
Medical errors occur when doctors, especially new doctors, don’t get enough sleep.
Your claims should also attempt to be argumentative statements, not just topic sentences.
Hospital workers, especially new doctors, are overworked and do not get enough sleep, which increases the likelihood that they will make errors.
Vs.
Trick
of the
Trade
Are doctors/hospital workers overworked?
Position A
Position B
Balanced
High-stakes tests are not effective, and when forced upon entire school systems, these tests lead to boring teaching styles, high drop out rates, and curriculum cut backs.
High School Example
College Example
High-stakes tests, like all standardized assessments, are ineffectual tools for gauging the learning abilities of a student, and when forced upon entire school systems, the tests cause harmful side effects that severely handicap the education process.
Your claims should be more specific and should focus your reader on only one or two ideas.
Vs.
Scope
Your thesis statement should be general enough to cover all the details you will bring up in the essay. It should not be too specific (i.e. a list) or too broad (i.e. a vague, sweeping statement).
Trick
of the
Trade
Harmful Side Effects
Specific
Boring Teaching Styles
High Dropout Rates
Narrowed Curricula
Broad
Grammatically
Your thesis statement and claims should be grammatically complex. They should contain subordinating conjunctions (unless, whenever, as if, because, although, until, since, after, while, in order to, etc.) and interesting verbs (something other than “to be”).
High school graduates should take off a year after graduating to do community service projects.
High School Example
College Example
In order to increase their maturity and global awareness, high school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college.
Vs.
Complex
Trick
of the
Trade
Subordinate Conjunctions
After
Although
As
As If
Before
Because
For
If
Since
Then
That
In Order That
So That
Though
Until
Unless
When
Where
While
Thesis
Bring in the Opposition
Strategies
Embed the opposition’s stance into your thesis.
Example
Although many feel regulations are too restrictive, they are necessary for the efficiency and accountability of the organizations which adopt them.
Make a Concession
Concede a point and then transition into your stance.
Example
While hospitals and doctors do attempt to avoid complications, more regulations and procedures are still needed to ensure that fewer medical errors occur.
Multi-Part Thesis Statements
Some thesis statements will contain a progression of arguments, where you'll need to argue one point to get to the next.
Example
The way literature is valued in the market today has significantly changed; because of this, literary artists must enter a-traditional marketing venues to ensure their work is purchased.
Claims
Thesis Echo
Strategies
Restate your thesis somehow in your claims
Example
Another negative side effect of high-stakes testing is that the tests provoke schools to narrow their curricula, which ultimately leads to a less fulfilling education.
Connect Claims to Other Claims
Use transitions to remind your reader of your other claims.
Example
Not only are medical students not properly trained in the classroom, but even when they become doctors working in hospitals, they do not receive appropriate training.
Weak Thesis Statements
Are vague: Raise an interesting topic or question but do not specify an argument
Offer plot summary or obvious truths instead of an argument
Offer opinion rather than an argument (cannot be proven with textual evidence)
Are too broad or too complex for the length of the paper
Strong Thesis Statements
Answer a specific question
Take a distinct position on the topic
Are debatable
Appropriately focused for the page length of the assignment
Allow your reader to anticipate the organization of your argument
FORMULAS
Subject of the essay + your position/idea + essay road map.

Discussion of _____ proves _____.

Analysis of _____ suggest _____.

The author wants to move the audience to do _____.

Although most readers of _____ have argued that _____, closer examination shows that _____.

_____ uses _____ and _____ to prove that _____.
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