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Crafting Thesis Statements and Utilizing Topic Sentences. UWC Writing Workshop Fall 2013. Thesis Statements. What do you already know about thesis statements?. Introduction to Thesis Statements . A thesis statement:

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Crafting Thesis Statements and Utilizing Topic Sentences


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    1. Crafting Thesis Statements and Utilizing Topic Sentences UWC Writing Workshop Fall 2013

    2. Thesis Statements • What do you already know about thesis statements?

    3. Introduction to Thesis Statements • A thesis statement: • Tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. • Is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper. • Directly answers the questions asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel. • Makes a claim that others might dispute • Is usually a single sentence (or possibly more than one) somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

    4. How do I get a thesis? • Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts, and think about the significance of these relationships. How can it be done?— Brainstorming!!! (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/brainstorming)

    5. Strong Thesis Statements? • Once you’ve brainstormed and obtained a “working thesis,” you will then need to see if the thesis is strong! • Ask yourself the following questions when seeing if your thesis is strong… • Do I answer the question? • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? • Is my thesis statement specific enough? • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? http://www.westga.edu/~mmcfar/Thesis%20Construction%20Revised.htm

    6. How to Construct a Thesis: An Example

    7. Thesis Statements: Make Sure to Remember… • Your thesis should be both clear and specific. • Your thesis should be relevant. • Your thesis should be debatable. • Your thesis should be original. • You should be able to state your thesis as a complete sentence. • Your thesis should be appropriate to the assignment.

    8. Next…Topic Sentences! • What do you already know about topic sentences?

    9. Topic Sentences: The Basics • A topic sentence serves to organize an entire paragraph, and you need to make sure to include one in most of your major paragraphs. • Two directions: • Relates the paragraph to the essay’s thesis & acts as a signpost/marker for the argument of the paper • Defines the scope of the paragraph itself

    10. Good Topic Sentences… • Good topic sentences can improve an essay’s readability and organization, and they meet the following criteria: • A topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph, not the last sentence of the previous paragraph. • Topic sentences use keywords or phrases from the thesis to indicate which part of the thesis will be discussed. • Topic sentences tell the reader what concept will be discussed and provide an introduction to the paragraph. • Topic sentences should point back to the subject/main idea presented within the thesis statement.

    11. Good Topic Sentences (cont’d)… • Good topic sentences also include: • Topic sentences may also signal to the reader where the essay has been and where it is headed through the use of certain words such as “first,” “second,” or “finally.” • Topic sentences may act as a mini thesis statement, essentially saying that “This is my claim, or point I will prove in the following paragraph. All the sentences that follow this topic sentence must relate to it in some way.” • Topic sentences should make a point and give reasons or examples to support it.

    12. Topic Sentences: Not Always Needed? • Although most paragraphs should have a topic sentence, there are a few situations in which a paragraph might not need a topic sentence. These situations may include: • Having a paragraph that narrates a series of events • Having a paragraph that develops an idea you introduced (with a topic sentence) in the previous paragraph • Having a paragraph where ALL the sentences in the paragraph clearly refer to a main point

    13. Let’s Practice Together!  • Let’s develop a topic sentence based on the following paragraph: • During the 1990s, I really enjoyed watching Friends on television every Thursday night. I really wanted Rachel’s haircut—I think every girl wanted Rachel’s haircut back then! Rachel’s haircut went really well with the Guess Jeans that were so popular in the 1990s. I remember all the advertisements for Guess and Calvin Klein Jeans that were in each month’s Sassy magazine. I don’t think Sassy magazine exists anymore, but it was one of the most popular magazines for young women in the 1990s.

    14. What did you come up with? • Thinking about the 1990s brings back a lot of memories for me about fashion and popular culture. During the 1990s, I really enjoyed watching Friends on television every Thursday night. I really wanted Rachel’s haircut—I think every girl wanted Rachel’s haircut back then! Rachel’s haircut went really well with the Guess Jeans that were so popular in the 1990s. I remember all the advertisements for Guess and Calvin Klein Jeans that were in each month’s Sassy magazine. I don’t think Sassy magazine exists anymore, but it was one of the most popular magazines for young women in the 1990s.

    15. Something to take with you… • “Nothing so facilitates good writing as actually having something to say.” ~T.S. Eliot

    16. Questions?? • Remember that the UWC is always here to help you! • 678-839-6513 • writing@westga.edu • TLC 1201 (First floor, past the snacks) • www.westga.edu/writing • Like us on Facebook: University Writing Center (UWG)