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Thesis Statement, Main Idea, Conclusion. What is a ‘thesis statement’?.

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what is a thesis statement
What is a ‘thesis statement’?
  • It is usually a single sentence 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.
  • It must be a statement you can explain or defend – not simply a fact that no one would deny.
  • It must be a sentence – not merely a topic.
why should your essay contain a thesis statement
Why should your essay contain a thesis statement?
  • To test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • To better organize and develop your argument
  • To provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
a good thesis will usually
A good thesis will usually…
  • Express one main idea
  • Take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • Assert your conclusions about a subject
how do i know if my thesis is strong
How do I know if my 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?
the main idea
The Main Idea
  • To understand the concept of a “main idea”, it is useful to distinguish between the following terms:
    • Topic
    • Main idea
    • Topic sentence
topic
Topic
  • The topic of a text is the subject, or what the text is about.
  • A topic can be expressed as a noun or a noun phrase.
  • Some examples of topics include
    • Recycling
    • Mammals
    • Trees of Ontario
main idea
Main Idea
  • An idea is what you say about a topic.
  • Ideas are expressed as sentences.
  • Some examples of main ideas include:
    • Recycling is expensive in the short term, but yields long-term savings.
    • All mammals are the same in certain ways.
    • The trees of Ontario are the most beautiful in the world.
topic sentence
Topic Sentence
  • A topic sentence is the sentence in a paragraph that contains the main idea.
  • Usually the topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph.
  • Topic sentences are useful in determining the relationship between main ideas and supporting details.
main idea supporting ideas
Main Idea, Supporting Ideas
  • The points supporting a thesis are not always reasons. They may be:
    • Examples (to make your thesis clear)
    • Steps (in a how-to paper)
    • Descriptions (in a descriptive paper)
    • Anecdotes (in a narrative paper)

Whatever they are, they should convince your reader that your thesis is true for you.

main idea supporting ideas11
Main Idea, Supporting Ideas
  • Graphic organizers (word web, spider map) can be useful for showing a main idea and the details, facts, arguments that support it.
    • Can be used for analyzing a paragraph or a paper
    • Can be used to create / map your ideas
organize each paragraph
Organize each paragraph
  • Organizing a paragraph is easy because it’s organized just the way an entire paper is:
    • Thesis stated in introductory paragraph
    • First supporting point
    • Second supporting point
    • Additional supporting points
    • Concluding paragraph
organize each paragraph13
Organize each paragraph
  • Here’s the way to organize a paragraph:
    • Topic sentence
    • First supporting detail or example
    • Second supporting detail or example
    • Additional supporting details or examples
    • Concluding sentence if needed

Each paragraph should contain only ONE main idea.

transition expressions
Transition Expressions
  • Words/expressions like:
    • Also In the first place
    • Furthermore Therefore

make paragraphs read more smoothly.

transition expressions15
Transition Expressions
  • Transition expressions are also important in an entire paper.
  • They help the reader move from one supporting point to the next.
  • It’s a good idea to start each supporting paragraph in a paper with a transition expression such as:
    • The first reason Another example Also
    • Secondly Equally important Furthermore
    • Even more important Finally
a conclusion should
A Conclusion should…
  • Be the best part of your paper
  • Stress the importance of the thesis statement
  • Give the essay a sense of completeness
  • Leave a final impression on the reader
when writing your conclusion
When writing your Conclusion…
  • Answer the question “So what?”
  • Synthesize, don’t summarize
  • Redirect your readers
  • Create a new meaning
  • Echo the introduction
  • Challenge the reader
  • Look to the future
when writing your conclusion avoid
When writing your Conclusion, AVOID…
  • Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion”, “in summary” or “in closing”
  • Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion
  • Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion
  • Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes
  • Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper
  • Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.
thesis statement main idea conclusion19
Thesis Statement, Main Idea, Conclusion
  • Re-read
  • Re-work
  • Revise
  • Re-do
  • Repeat.
references
References
  • Conclusions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, from http://unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/conclusions.html
  • Establishing the Main Idea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/skill-builder/reading-comprehension/48706.html
  • Strategies for Writing a Conclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, from http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html
  • Thesis Statements. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2008, from http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml