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By Worth Weller and Ashley Workman (with a little help from the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources. Writing the Thesis Statement. What is it?. for most student work, it's a one- or two- sentence statement that explicitly outlines the purpose or point of your paper.

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By Worth Weller and Ashley Workman (with a little help from the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

Writing the Thesis Statement


What is it
What is it? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • for most student work, it's a one- or two- sentence statement that explicitly outlines the purpose or point of your paper.

  • It is generally a complex, compound sentence

  • It should take a stand, or make a claim regarding your assigned topic

  • Don't be afraid to give your opinion-you must make some claim.

  • But NO “I” “YOU” “WE” etc.! 3rd person only


What does it do
What does it do? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • it should tell the reader what your paper is about, and what claim you mean to prove.

  • It should also tell the reader what points you will make, and in which order.


Where does it go
Where does it go? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • because the rest of the paper will support or back up your thesis, a thesis is normally placed at or near the end of the introductory paragraph.


What does it contain
What does it contain? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • The thesis sentence must contain an arguable point.

  • A thesis sentence must not simply make an observation -- for example, "Tim Tebow is a football player."

  • Rather, it must assert a point that is arguable:

  • “Tim Tebow changed the face of football by his unique outspokenness, his humility and determination.”


What it determines
What it determines the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • The thesis sentence must control the entire argument.

  • Your thesis sentence determines what you are required to say in a paper.

  • It also determines what you cannot say.

  • Every paragraph in your paper exists in order to support your thesis.

  • Accordingly, if one of your paragraphs seems irrelevant to your thesis you have two choices: get rid of the paragraph, or rewrite your thesis.


Ideas for a good thesis
Ideas For a Good Thesis the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • Don’t ask a question

  • Don’t use first or second person – I, you, we

  • Don’t use qualifiers that make you sound uncertain such as might, maybe, perhaps, etc.

  • Don’t use absolute qualifiers that mean everything, all, none, always, never. These are too hard to prove!

  • Don’t use “to be” verbs – am, are, is, was, were, be, being, been.They aren’t descriptive enough.

  • Do use relative qualifiers which show real-world variation such as often, primarily, frequently, too often, regularly, some, many, most. These are much easier to prove!


Is it fixed in concrete
Is it fixed in concrete? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • Imagine that as you are writing your paper you stumble across the new idea that Tim Tebow also is the most handsome football player in the NFL.

  • This observation is a good one; do you really want to throw it away? Or do you want to rewrite your thesis so that it accommodates this new idea?


A contract
A contract the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • Understand that you don't have a third option: you can't simply stick the idea in without preparing the reader for it in your thesis.

  • The thesis is like a contract between you and your reader.

  • If you introduce ideas that the reader isn't prepared for, you've violated that contract.


More attributes
More Attributes the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • it argues one main point and doesn't squeeze three different theses for three different papers into one sentence;

  • And most importantly, it passes The "So What?" Test.


An equation
An Equation the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • thesis statements are basically made up of your topic and a specific claim about that topic, therefore,

  • THESIS = TOPIC + SPECIFIC CLAIM


Summary
Summary the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

The four “shoulds” of a thesis statement:


  • a good thesis statement the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sourcesshould take a stand - don't be afraid to have an opinion; if after your research, your opinion changes, all the better - means you have been thinking; you can write a new thesis statement! But, NO I!


  • a good thesis statement the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sourcesshould justify discussion - don't leave your readers saying to themselves "So what" or "duh?" or "like what's your point?"


  • a good thesis statement the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sourcesshould express one main idea or a clear relationship between two specific ideas linked by words like "because," "since," "so," "although," "unless," or "however."


  • A good thesis statement the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sourcesshould be restricted to a specific and manageable topic – it is better if a paper does a small task well than a paper that takes on an unrealistic task and fails.


For example
For Example: the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • Poor: J.R.R. Tolkein writes readable books.

  • Good: J.R.R. Tolkein's books are so good because they contain fiction, fantasy and elves.


Which thesis is best? the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

Question: How are deserts of the world the same and different?

Thesis 1: I am going to tell you about the deserts of the world.

Thesis 2: Deserts of the world, including ones in North and South America, Antarctica, Africa, Australia, and Asia are the same and different.

Thesis 3: Although the deserts of the world have many similarities, they are vastly different in terms of temperature, vegetation, and size.


Resources
Resources the Purdue and Dartmouth OWL) and other online sources

  • users.ipfw.edu/wellerw/thesisstatement.ppt

  • www.pflugervilleisd.net/.../documents/ThesisStatement.ppt


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