Research Log 2: Creating a Thesis Statement Survey of American Literature
What is a thesis statement? • The thesis is a one-sentence statement that clearly and concisely explains what you’re going to talk about in your paper
What is a thesis statement? • An opinionated statement: something you believe that others may not • The LAST sentence of the introduction • Names the topic and asserts something specific and significant about it • Often provides a concise preview of how you will arrange your ideas in your paper
A Thesis is NOT… • A question • You need to TELL us • The first sentence of your introduction
How will we write one? • 3 prong thesis format for a 5 paragraph essay • Thesis will have a claim and the prongs will provide the support/proof • Prongs can come before or after the claim
How will we write one? • Narrow the topic to a single, central idea that you want your reader to gain from your research • Example: General topic: Dinosaurs
What questions should I ask to narrow my topic? • What conclusions can I draw from the work I have done so far? • How can I express that idea by naming the topic and making an assertion? • How can I convey my purpose in that assertion?
How will we write one? • Since prongs come from research… You NEED to pre-research to narrow your topic EXAMPLE: Narrowed topic from research = Extinction of dinosaurs
What will I prove? • Prove what you find from research • No prongs come from your mind, only research • This will make your thesis STRONG!!!! • EXAMPLE: I am proving why dinosaurs became extinct • Proof: • 1. onset of paeolithic era • 2. global climate changes • 3. meteorite bombardment of Earth • 4. Have a fourth in your pocket just in case
What about my thesis in my paper? • Once thesis is final, you CAN NOT change it • Parallel (follows same grammatical structure) • No prongs will have repetitive qualities • Order of proof: order which supports are in the thesis is the order they should appear in the paper
The Final Piece • MY THESIS!! • Dinosaurs became extinct because of the onset of the paeolithic era, global climate changes, and meteorite bombardment of the Earth.
How do I test my thesis? • Ask yourself… • Does the sentence make an ASSERTION about your topic? • Is the assertion LIMITED to only one idea? • IS the assertion SPECIFIC and SIGNIFICANT? • Does the sentence convey your PURPOSE for writing? • Is the sentence UNIFIED so its parts relate to each other and are parallel?
Let’s Practice • The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers. YES NO • WHY?
Let’s Practice • This paper will consider the advantages and disadvantages of certain restrictions on free speech. YES NO WHY?
Let’s Practice • Stanley Fish's argument that free speech exists more as a political prize than as a legal reality ignores the fact that even as a political prize it still serves the social end of creating a general cultural atmosphere of tolerance that may ultimately promote free speech in our nation just as effectively as any binding law. YES NO WHY?
Let’s Practice • Strip-mining should be tightly controlled in this region to reduce its pollution of water resources, its destruction of the land, and its devastating effects on people’s lives. YES NO WHY?
Let’s Practice • Active learning programs, full-time sports, and intervention by mentors are three ways to divert juveniles from crime. YES NO WHY?
REVIEW PLEASE! 1. Order of proof: order which supports are in the thesis is the order they should appear in the paper. 2. parallel structure 3. ONE SENTENCE STATEMENT! 4. Placement: last sentence in introductory paragraph.