Welcome to ‘Writing the Thesis Statement’, an action-packed adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seats!

WRITING THE THESIS STATEMENT

Special thanks to the Purdue OWL Staff

Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab

Welcome to ‘Writing the Thesis Statement’, an action-packed adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seats!

 

 

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This presentation explains:

What a thesis statement is and does

What makes a successful thesis statement

How to go about writing a thesis statement Adapted from Karen Gocsik, Writing about World Literature (New York and London: Norton, 2012), ch. 5.

 

Overview

In this presentation we will go over:

What a thesis statement is and does

What makes a successful thesis statement

How to go about writing a thesis statement

 

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A thesis statement:

… is a sentence that articulates the central argument of your essay. It is the main take-away for your reader.

 

 

 

 

What a thesis statement is and does

A thesis statement is a sentence that articulates the central argument of your essay. It is the main take-away for your reader. It proves to your audience that you know and understand what you are going to tell them in the rest of the paper.

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… is where readers find the most succinct articulation of the argument.

 

 

 

Knowing the argument intimately will help readers understand the purpose of the paper.

 

 

 

It is important to craft the thesis statement in terms of genre of essay you are writing.

 

 

 

 

A thesis statement:

What a thesis statement is and does

It is important to develop an understanding about what the main point of your essay is and why it matters. By emphasizing the thesis statement, you reflect on the importance of your whole argument, which makes you intimately familiar with what you how to achieve.

 

The thesis statement is the place where readers find the most succinct articulation of the argument.

Knowing the argument from the beginning will help readers understand the purpose of the paper.

It is important to craft the thesis statement in terms of the genre, or specific type of essay you are writing

 

Are you writing a comparison paper that asks you to show similarities and differences between two different works?

 

Are you writing an analysis paper that asks you to explore an image or theme in a text and come to a conclusion about its significance?

 

Are you writing a research paper, (see what I did there) demonstrating the relationship between a text and its political, cultural, or social environment?

 

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Ask yourself: Why should the reader care about what I am writing?

 

 

 

… is written for the reader’s point of view.

 

A thesis statement:

What a thesis statement is and does

A good thesis statement is written with the reader’s point of view in mind. I don’t mean it is written with the writer as the protagonist. I mean that a good thesis statement anticipates the questions a reader will ask if they were face-to-face with you.

 

You need to ask yourself some tough questions. Am I explaining myself clearly? Is what I am saying a succinct description of my arguments? In sort, why should the reader care about what I am writing?

 

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The Bad: “The excessive drinking of alcohol is bad.”

 

 

 

 

What’s wrong: Too broad. Needs the specific detriments of alcohol consumption to discuss.

 

 

What a thesis statement is and does

Let’s take a look at some examples of Good and Bad thesis statements.

 

 

Not a thesis statement: “The excessive drinking of alcohol is bad.”

 

Why: This is too broad. What are the specific detriments of alcohol consumption that you would like to discuss? This is one of those… ‘well, duh!’ type of statements. For the most part people know this, even those who may drink excessively, although they may not believe it applies to them.

 

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The Good: “High levels of alcohol consumption have detrimental effects on one’s personal health, such as weight gain, heart disease, and liver complications.”

 

 

 

 

What’s good: Very specific reasons. Cover the major reasons you wish to discuss

 

What a thesis statement is and does

 

The Good. “High levels of alcohol consumption have detrimental effects on one’s personal health, such as weight gain, heart disease, and liver complications.”

 

So, what’s good about this thesis statement? This thesis statement is very specific about the reasons why excess alcohol is bad for you. In your thesis statement, you don’t need to state every single detriment you’re going to lay out (in fact, you shouldn’t as it will risk becoming a run-on sentence) but you do need point to the main areas you will explore.

 

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The Bad: “Everyone should exercise.”

 

 

 

 

Answer the questions: Why should I? What’s in for me?

 

What’s wrong: Again, not specific enough. What do you say to a reader resistant to exercise.

What a thesis statement is and does

 

Bad: Everyone should exercise.

Why: This is another one of those… ‘well, duh!’ type of statements. Let’s imagine you audience or reader is someone who doesn’t want to exercise. What are you going to say, in a succinct, pithy thesis statement, that will hopefully convince that exercise is something they should consider. In other words: What should I? What’s in for me?

 

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The Good: “University students should add exercise to their daily routine because it helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of high blood pressure.”

 

 

 

 

What’s good: Very specific reasons. Covers the major reasons to be discussed.

 

What a thesis statement is and does

 

Good: University students should add exercise to their daily routine because it helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

Why good: Again… Here, is very specific. Not just “everybody… but specifically university students, daily routine (exercise is need not just two three times a week), weight maintenance, and high blood pressure prevention. Because these are the specific point you are covering, you now don’t have to research exercise in children or the elderly, or the effect of exercise on a person’s psyche or arthritis. Those are all important consideration, but outside the scope of the area of the thesis statement. Your research actually becomes easier when you have very specific objectives.

 

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The Bad: “The internet has improved the lives of many.”

 

 

 

 

Answer the questions: Why should I? What’s in for me?

 

What’s wrong: Duh statement! Not specific enough. Readers may agree with this and your statement may be true, but why should I as your reader care about this?

What a thesis statement is and does

 

One last example –

 

Bad: “The internet has improved the lives of many.”

What’s wrong with I’m just going to come out and say it… duh! Readers may agree with this and your statement may be true, but why should I as your reader care about this? “What’s in it for me?” test. Why should readers care?” How has the internet improved people’s lives?

 

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The Good: “The internet is a means of communication that expediently connects people across the globe, fosters new friendships and promotes the exchange of ideas that wouldn’t have occurred prior to its inception.”

 

 

 

 

What’s good: Very specific reasons. Covers the major reasons to be discussed.

 

What a thesis statement is and does

 

The Good: “The internet expediently connects people across the globe, fosters new friendships and promotes the exchange of ideas that wouldn’t have occurred prior to its inception.”

Notice how this thesis statement combines a complex idea in to a succinct sentence. We all know that the internet offers a host of benefits (and detriments), this thesis statement in on the internet’s ability to foster new friendships and exchange ideas. Those are the areas to study… not medical information or political views… but fostering new friendships and exchange of ideas. Also, these is a further narrowing of the scope of the thesis by proving how this couldn’t have happened prior to the internet’s inception – and that is good. A tight focus of the thesis means research that is more specific and a better paper.

 

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A thesis statement should express only one idea toward one topic; if a thesis statement contains two or more ideas, the essay runs the risk of lacking unity and coherence.

 

 

 

What makes a successful thesis statement?

Now, let’s think about What makes a successful thesis statement. Well, A thesis statement should express only one idea toward one topic; if you include two or more ideas in your thesis statement, the paper runs the risk of lacking unity and coherence because you are trying to answer too many question too much information.

 

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Thesis statement: It is necessary to national development to have a wide variety of highly skilled writers.

 

Not a thesis statement: It is necessary to national development to have a wide variety of writers and most writers are highly skilled.

 

What makes a successful thesis statement?

Here is an example: Not a thesis statement: It is necessary to national development to have a wide variety of writers and most writers are highly skilled.

 

Not only would the writer be forced to investigate the benefits a wide verity of writers would have on national development… a second line of investigation is necessary to determine if most writers are highly skilled. Neither of these ideas is necessary to be prove or add support to the other.

 

Thesis statement: It is necessary to national development to have a wide variety of highly skilled writers.

 

Here the “highly skilled” supports the first idea that it is necessary to national development. Dropping the qualifier “most” eliminates a second line of research.

 

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“A good thesis statement makes a claim” (Gocsik 75).

A good thesis statement is arguable.

 

What makes a successful thesis statement?

A thesis statement should express only one idea toward one topic.

A good thesis statement signals the argument’s scope and structure.

In addition to expressing only one idea toward one topic,

…a good thesis statement also makes a claim” (Gocsik 75).

…is arguable.

…signals the argument’s scope and structure.

 

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First, identify your topic.

 

How to go about writing your thesis

 

Finally, compose a thesis that answers the question.

Next, develop a question about that topic and gather relevant evidence.

So, how do you go about writing your thesis?

First, identify your topic.

Next, develop a question about that topic and gather relevant evidence.

Finally, compose a thesis that answers the question.

 

Let’s take a look at how a couple of experts deal with a thesis statement

 

 

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I want to discuss how the internet has changed things.

Ok, that’s pretty broad. What things?

People can connect to each other.

What about connecting with each other?

It’s easier to make friends and share ideas than before.

Before what?

Before the internet existed.

So, put all that into a question.

How to go about writing your thesis

Let’s say, “I want to discuss how the internet has changed things.”

-Ok, that’s pretty broad. What things?

People can connect to each other.

-What about connecting with each other?

It’s easier than before.

-before what?

The internet existed.

-So, put all that into a question.

 

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Does the internet connect people to form new friendships and exchange ideas in a way that didn’t happen before the internet existed?

Now answer that question!

The internet is a means of communication that expediently connects people across the globe, fosters new friendships and promotes the exchange of ideas that wouldn’t have occurred prior to its inception.

How to go about writing your thesis

Does the internet connect people to form new friendships and exchange ideas in a way that didn’t happen before the internet existed?

 

-Now answer that question

 

The internet is a means of communication that expediently connects people across the globe, fosters new friendships and promotes the exchange of ideas that wouldn’t have occurred prior to its inception.

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That’s your thesis statement!

How to go about writing your thesis

That’s your thesis statement!

 

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“Although many people think ____, in reality, ____ because ____.”

 

“_____ is the most significant _____ because _____.”

 

“______ illuminates the role of ______ in people’s lives by showing us how _______, _____, and _____.”

 

Use a fill-in-the-blank sentence.

If you having some difficulty in just phrasing your thesis statement, here are a few statement templates you can use to structure your thesis.

 

 

“Although many reasons have been suggested for _____, they all boil down to _____.”

 

“_____ is true for these reasons: _____, _____, _____, and _____.

 

“X has argued that _____, but Y’s position is stronger because _____.”

 

“The more important effects of _____ went beyond those of _____.”

 

More fill-in-the-blanks

Here are some more. Keep in mind these are just to help you get started and organize your thoughts. More than likely you will need to expand upon these suggestions.

 

That’s all for thesis statements, until next time… stay healthy and keep in touch.

 

 

WORKS CITED

Gocsik, K. and Kirschen, R., 2012. Writing About World Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

 

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