Thesis Statements . Developing a Strong Thesis Statement
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What is a Thesis Statement?
Three-Part or Multi-Level Thesis Statements
Thesis Statements by Category
Beyond Stating the Obvious:
Exercises in Developing Thesis Statements
Answers the question, ““What is this paper trying to prove to its audience?””
Compresses the critical crux of your paper into one sentence.
Conveys your main argument in a nutshell.
Uses specific language and specific ideas.
Generates a multi-faceted argument.
Appears in your paper’s introduction.
NOT a statement of the inherently obvious.
NOT a vague or ambiguous statement.
NOT a simple factual sentence.
NOT a statement that doesn’t need any proof.
NOT a statement that doesn’t generate any argumentation whatsoever.
Does NOT pass the “so what”test.
After writing a thesis statement, ask yourself,
“So what? “
Example: Funding sources are available for college tuition.
Revision: Funding sources available for college tuition make private universities more affordable. (So what, and so on . . . .)
My life is busy because I am a working student.
As a working student, my life bifurcates into both the corporate world and the classroom.
Contrary to popular belief, working students do okay in both worlds.
A working student’s life, bifurcated into the corporate world and the classroom, demonstrates how these dual roles enhance rather than detract from one another.
I like it when professors encourage us to talk.
Interaction fosters collaborative learning.
The most effective learning occurs when professors combine several teaching methods, such as lecture, discussion, and hands-on
A variety of approaches to teaching works best.
Professors should accommodate a variety of learning styles.
One way to develop your thesis statement is by
increasing its specificity in three parts.
Example: Manual is the best school in the state.
Three-Part Revision: Manual is the best school in the state because we have the best students, teachers, and course offerings.
Working students benefit from their dual roles, which cultivate a mature sense of academic stewardship, practical wisdom about finances, and an appreciation for the value of both educational and vocational worlds.
Collaborative learning enhanced by project-
oriented activities, problem-solving in small
groups, and frequent teacher-student
interaction results in more effective retention
of curricular material than lecture.
There is a way to solve world hunger.
The government can assist the homeless.
Manual should not have a dress code.
Cause and Effect (If-then/because):
If creative expression fosters learning, then students in all classrooms, regardless of level, can benefit from developing creative projects.
Because creativity is a proven benefit to learning, students should be encouraged to develop creative projects.
Comparison and Contrast:
While Of Mice and Men and Grapes of Wrath appear to share little similarities, a closer look reveals they both argue for the dignity of all humans, the importance of hope, and the loss of innocence due to outside forces.
Corrective: Contrary to popular belief, ice cream is not junk food because it is a good source of calcium and milk protein.
Problem and Solution: Although college tuition is expensive, various funding sources such as scholarships and low interest loans can lower the cost.
Advantages and Disadvantages: Although ice cream is a source of calcium and milk protein, its high sugar and saturated fat content far outweigh any health benefits.
Analysis of Procedure: Revising the application process by adding three steps during initial review would increase efficiency without sacrificing thoroughness.
Revise using the three-part model for specificity. -
Tolerance is valuable.
Ehrenreich argues for a livable wage.
Revise using the if-then or because model.
Consumers should be careful about buying products over the Internet.
Revise using the corrective model.
Many seem to think teenagers are only interested in instant gratification.
Revise using the comparison-contrast model.
Liberal and conservative political agendas will be discussed in this paper.
Revise using any combination of models.
A credit card has both advantages and disadvantages.
A thesis statement should go beyond stating the obvious.
To develop a thesis statement, ask yourself the “so what”question until you’re satisfied.
Apply the three-part thesis model and any combination of thesis models to enrich your thesis statement.
1. In hope of doing what is best for the treatment of human diseases, and in effect what is best for human beings themselves, leftover embryonic stem cells from in-vitro fertilization should be used for medical therapies and should be funded by the federal government.
2. Even though there are some faults to stem cell research, it should be funded and permitted in the United States.
3. The United States should legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients because it preserves the freedom and autonomy of the patient, improves the patient’s quality of life in the final days, and upholds the Hippocratic Oath required by all physicians.
4. Legalizing same-sex marriage would benefit all members of society, strengthen the idea of marriage and unify society as a whole. The United States must legalize same-sex marriage in order to bring about these benefits.
5. In general, the benefits of sweatshops, including its fostering of economic growth for individuals and for their countries, and the globalization of production, outweigh their drawbacks; therefore, these sweatshops should continue to be allowed and funded, and American consumers should not boycott the support of these companies, although significant reform is certainly necessary. Americans should, instead, protest the mistreatment of workers, calling for legislation to prevent violation of the natural rights of humanity.
6. To avoid the issue of modification for purely vain reasons, designing should be limited to just health causes.
7. Russia should develop and head a regional economic coalition with the New Independent States focused on oil and natural gas production but also supportive of other ventures that will strengthen existing bonds in the region and create new ones without upsetting the current power, the United States. Critical to the success of the common market is the membership of Iran.
8. Although Intelligent Design is often viewed as the so-called counter-theory to evolution, this unscientific, creationist-based concept based purely on speculation is not comparable to evolution on any level, and therefore should not be taught alongside evolution in the public school classroom.
9. The purpose of American public education should be to give every student the practical knowledge and skills to function in and contribute to a democratic, capitalistic society, while emphasizing the formation and growth of the entire individual intellect, through opportunities for critical thinking, independent thought, and reflection. Such an educational aim is the one most in keeping with the American ideal of individual freedom, would be most beneficial for American society—politically and economically—and would move the nation toward a more egalitarian existence.
10. A revision of the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 could effectively solve both issues by taking the matter outside the realm of the states and by demanding a guiding code of principles pertaining to standardized coverage in addition to implementing a universal definition of an eating disorder.
11. Although the facts remain unclear on whether meat consumption affects world hunger, there is clear evidence that shows meat production does affect the environment by contributing to deforestation, air and water pollution, and inefficient land and resource usage. Eating less meat, and perhaps more importantly, knowing where that meat comes from, will make a difference in the negative impact that corporate animal agriculture has on the environment.
12. Due to the need for greater public safety and as a reaction to a changing world, the USA must now interpret the Second Amendment as a collective right meant primarily for governmental institutions.
13. Almost any method of change to our system could improve a feature of it and yield some kind of positive result, but a solution that solves virtually all of its problems is the most ideal. By this standard, a single-payer universal heath care system would be the most practical choice for the United States. A single-payer system would make insurance more accessible, more affordable, and of higher quality, thus turning all of the negative aspects of the current system into positive ones.