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Writing Effective Thesis Statements

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  1. Writing EffectiveThesis Statements Writing Centre Ryerson University

  2. Introduction: Thesis Statements • There is no one “catch all” way to write a thesis statement. • There are stronger and weaker thesis statements. • It is the intention of this presentation to review the most effective way to write a thesis statement and the most efficient way to use your thesis statement in your research.

  3. Thesis Statement • The thesis statementrefers to the focused part of your paper which outlines the arguments and ideas you will present in your paper. • When written in advance, a thesis statement can help you structure and outline the rest of your paper.

  4. Thesis Statements A thesis statement can be thought of as: • one perspective on a topic • one mode of interrogating an issue • one possible answer to a research question

  5. The Writing Process Don’t forget: writing involves revision of writing, ideas and argumentation. As you research, write and edit, your ideas might change and your thesis statement should be updated accordingly.

  6. A Working Thesis Statement A working thesis or preliminary thesis statement is a rough version of your thesis. A working thesis: • names the topic • indicates your position on the topic

  7. A Working Thesis Statement • This helps to focus your research • This helps to organize your thoughts about the topic as they develop Your working thesis statement should change to reflect the content of your paper

  8. Qualities of a Good Thesis A thesis statement should: • stimulate thoughtful inquiry • outline the content of your paper • articulate the main idea/argument of your paper using precise language

  9. Qualities of a Good Thesis A thesis statement should: • be one or two sentences in length (verify with your professor!) • be found at the end of the introductory paragraph

  10. Qualities of a Poor Thesis A thesis statement should not be: • open-ended, either thematically or as a question • so broad that it loses scope • a contradiction or a rhetorical question • difficult to locate within the introduction

  11. Generating Thesis Statements • Start off with the general topic you want to write about. Your professor may or may not assign you a topic. • What is your opinion or position on the topic? • Generate a thesis statement from that opinion or position.

  12. Example I Topic • MP3 Players Opinion/Position • iPods are too expensive. Thesis Statement • “Today’s MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPods, are priced so high that many middle-class individuals are unable to afford them.”How can you improve this thesis statement?

  13. Example II Topic • Obesity Among Children Opinion/Position • We should reduce the consumption of fried foods by elementary school children. Thesis Statement • “Since half of all Canadian elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of fat, schools should replace the French fries with carrots during lunch time.”How can we improve this statement together?

  14. Example IIICreate your own thesis statement Topic: • Rights to education Opinion/position: • Higher education is too expensive. It should be accessible to all. Some arguments to consider: • Free universities in some European countries • Entrance exams might restrict entrance • Effects of more people going to university (better quality of life) • University preparation in high school

  15. Visit the Writing Centre: • We provide one-on-one help with writing strategies and referencing formats • We offer workshops on APA and other topics (grammar, group work, etc.) • Our website also contains useful handouts (including abridged style guides) • Here’s how you can reach us: • We are located in the library, LIB 272 B • www.ryerson.ca/writingcentre • (416) 979-5000 ext. 7192 Monday - Thursday: 10:00–8:00 / Friday: 10:00-3:00