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Introductions and Thesis Statements. Writing Both Effectively. Thesis Statements. A thesis is a sentence (one only!) that presents the main idea of a paper—an idea that every fact and detail should support. Thesis Statements. A good thesis statement should have two qualities:

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introductions and thesis statements

Introductions and Thesis Statements

Writing Both Effectively

thesis statements
Thesis Statements

A thesis is a sentence (one only!) that presents the main idea of a paper—an idea that every fact and detail should support.

thesis statements3
Thesis Statements
  • A good thesis statement should have two qualities:
    • It should state the paper’s topic
    • It states a specific point of view concerning that topic
thesis statements4
Thesis Statements
  • Your purpose for your Type IV essay is to inform. The following sample thesis statement is a great example of an informative thesis:

To complete the law school admissions process successfully, students need to give adequate time to choosing schools, preparing for the LSAT exam, and completing the applications.

(Topic: The law school admissions process)

thesis statements5
Thesis Statements
  • The previous thesis statement lets us know that the essay will discuss the time it takes to:
    • choose possible law schools
    • prepare for the LSAT
    • complete applications
thesis statements6
Thesis Statements

Here is an example from the last essay we did:

The boys and teachers at Helton faced multiple man vs. man, man vs. self, and man vs. society conflicts, helping to develop the movie’s plot.

bad better thesis statements
Bad & Better Thesis Statements


College can teach students so many lessons.


Our sociology department’s new requirement of three hours of community service allows students to apply lessons they learn in their classes.

*The first thesis is too big and vague to develop in a short paper. A narrower choice might work better.


I like the new movie version of Hamlet.


The new Hamlet movie succeeds by portraying Hamlet as a tentative and tortured member of Generation X.

*The writer should pick a more arguable viewpoint—one that will involve readers.

bad better thesis statements8
Bad & Better Thesis Statements


Skateboarding is an excellent hobby.


Skateboarding is an excellent hobby because it gives teenagers a chance to form their own groups, have their own parks, and feel free.

*The writer might choose a more specific focus.


This paper is about capital punishment in our state.


Our state should substitute the sentence of life without parole for capital punishment.

*The writer’s viewpoint is unclear

bad better thesis statements9
Bad & Better Thesis Statements


The women’s soccer team has strengths and weaknesses.


Key changes in personnel and institutional support will make the women’s soccer team the best in our conference this year.

*Everything has strengths and weaknesses—the writer must have a more specific focus!


More than eight million children are taking Ritalin; prescriptions have quadrupled in the United States since 1990.


Ritalin is being over prescribed to American elementary school children.

*The first statement is nothing but facts; the writer needs to state a viewpoint concerning the facts!

introductory paragraphs
Introductory Paragraphs
  • An introduction should bring your readers into your text, spark their interest, and acquaint them with your topic.
  • Your Type IV essay must:
    • give the author
    • give the title
    • Give an overview of the story
introductory paragraphs11
Introductory Paragraphs
  • Some introductory paragraphs describe a general topic, problem, or solution and then move to a thesis concerning it:

By August 15, many college students have finally finished that guelling summer chemistry class or construction job. They see those back-to-school ads in newspapers across North Carolina as indicators that all those children and their parents are easing into their school-year regimens. These college students might conclude that the last weeks of August would be the perfect time for a beach trip before their own fall term begins. But they might do better heading for the mountains or lakes. Because of enviornmental changes that have occurred in the past three years, tourists should avoid the North Carolina beaches in late August.

introductory paragraphs12
Introductory Paragraphs
  • Many authors introduce the thesis through a relevant quotation or paraphrase:

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” When you go to see a movie of Hamlet, you expect to hear this famous line. In the new version out this year, directed by Michael Almereyda, Ethan Hawke utters the line while walking through the action section of a Blockbuster Video store. He records his own subsequent inaction on video and computer as he finds himself unable to begin a campaign against his uncle’s corrupt corporate empire, called Denmark. In this film, the portrayal of Hamlet as a tentative and tortured member of Generation X gives the famous question and the entire story new meaning.

introductory paragraphs13
Introductory Paragraphs
  • Here’s an example from one of your peers:

In the film The Dead Poets’ Society,” a variety of conflicts are presented. Two such conflicts are man versus man and man versus self. These conflicts help to build the plot of the story.