A Closer Look at Thesis Statements

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NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 19-21. 3. Construct a working thesis. Begin to focus your ideas into a central idea that will be ...

A Closer Look at Thesis Statements How do I write a thesis statement? 1. Identify a topic. Know what kind of thesis statement is needed. Always consult with your professor if you have any questions regarding your assignment or what is expected of you from the prompt. Here are some generic examples of what certain types of papers are looking for. Proposal Paper A thesis should identify a problem and propose a solution. Example: Because recycling bins are not used properly on some college campuses, colleges should provide each room with its own designated recycling bins.

Evaluation Paper A thesis should provide criteria that will be used to establish the effectiveness of what is being evaluated (a judgment). Example: Bridesmaids is an example of a romantic comedy because it has strong character development which, in turn, allows the movie plot to escalate with conflict between two romantically-involved protagonists, but still end happily.

Rhetorical Analysis A thesis should include whether the author’s argument is effective based upon logical fallacies, rhetorical devices (such as pathos, ethos, and logos), writing style, etc. Example: The author makes a compelling argument that encourages readers to take action because he clearly establishes his credibility, there are few logical fallacies, and appeals to the reader through satire.

Research Paper A thesis should state your position on an issue and preview evidence that is used in supporting your position. Example: Facebook can damage a student’s academic career because it encourages incorrect grammar, it is an easy distraction, and it can lead to other internet distractions.

2. Take a stand. If you do not know what you need to defend, you will not be able to make your thesis arguable. For your thesis to be arguable, you should make it clear that you have taken a position on a topic that is debatable. For example, “Indiana is east of Illinois” would not be a good thesis statement because it is a fact. On the other hand, “Indiana is not as fun as Illinois” would be a better thesis because people can disagree on the topic. If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you have an arguable thesis. [ ] Can a reasonable person disagree with my thesis statement? [ ] Can I find evidence to support my thesis? [ ] Is my thesis specific? [ ] Is my thesis NOT a fact, an opinion, or a question? NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 19-21. 3. Construct a working thesis. Begin to focus your ideas into a central idea that will be defended with evidence throughout the duration of your paper. The thesis statement will usually be placed at the end of your first paragraph. Follow these guidelines in constructing your thesis. [ ] Your thesis should be clear and specific. o Both WHAT you are saying and HOW you are saying should be clear.



] Your thesis should be applicable to your audience, meaning you should be telling your reader pertinent information for what you will be discussing, and sometimes, why they should listen to what you have to say. You should identify your audience by understanding why you are writing (to inform, to persuade, to entertain, etc.), considering how informed your audience is of your topic, and your relationship to your readers. (NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 3, 10). ] Your thesis should answer the prompt you are given. If you are unsure whether or not you are on the right track, consult your professor or a writing tutor at the Writing Center.

NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 19-21.

4. Revise your thesis. As you are writing your paper, sometimes your ideas will change and the outline of your paper will be different. When you are finished writing your paper – or while you are you are writing your paper – reread your thesis statement and be sure that it is still supported throughout your paper. Keep in mind that your thesis points the reader in a specific direction, and the more you draft, the more specific your thesis can be. NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 19-21, 46. How do I know if I have a strong thesis? What a thesis should be:

How to get it there: Your thesis should be of applicable length to the prompt. Concise Too long: Can I take out unnecessary words? Too short: Will the reader ask “so what?”, “why?”, or “how?” Your thesis should be written in a way that makes it easy to understand. Both HOW you say Clear it and WHAT you say are important. Reread your thesis aloud to check the clarity. Your thesis statement should be focused. It should demand attention, answer the prompt, Compelling allow for disagreement, and be supported by evidence. NOTE: For more information, see the Bedford Handbook, pp. 27. Finally, if you still have questions, visit the Writing Center. Located on the 3rd floor of Mellinger Mon-Thurs 3PM-5PM Sun-Thurs 7PM-10PM

CAC, Professor Draxler and Durante, The Bedford Handbook and http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/ , 2012