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Writing a thesis statement

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  1. Writing a thesis statement What Are You Trying to Prove in Your Paper?

  2. What is a Thesis Statement? • The thesis statement is “the main idea” of your paper. • It is one sentence that tells the reader what you want them to get from your paper.

  3. Thesis Continued • The thesis is not your topic: It is what you are saying about your topic. • Look at it like this: • You have developed a question for your paper. • Your thesis is the answer to your question.

  4. Working Thesis • Your thesis will not be complete until you turn in your final draft. • It must be considered a working thesis. • It will be edited numerous times before you finish your paper.

  5. Where To Put It • The thesis goes in your introductory paragraph. It prepares the reader to listen to your ideas before the body of the paper. • The body of the paper will prove your thesis. • A well-written thesis answers the questions the reader should have about the paper.

  6. Thesis STATEMENT • Your thesis should be written in statement form, not question form. Questions do not express opinions or perspectives like a statement does. • Example: • NO:Can the rainforest be saved? • YES: “Society can save the Amazon rain forest by limiting tourist presence, boycotting goods made by companies that deplete the forest's resources, and generally educating people about the need to preserve the rain forest in order to preserve the earth's ecological systems."

  7. Don’t Over Do It! • Make sure your thesis expresses your true opinion and not an exaggerated version of it. Don't say "Computers are wonderful" or "Computers are terrible" if what you really believe is "Computers do more good than harm" or "Computers do more harm than good." Why commit yourself to an extreme opinion that you don't really believe in, and then look like you're contradicting yourself later on?

  8. Focus Further • Make sure your thesis covers exactly the topic you want to talk about, no more and no less. "Drugs should not be legalized" is too large a thesis if all you want to talk about is marijuana. "Boxing should be outlawed" is too small a thesis if you also want to discuss wrestling and football. Bite off as much as you can chew thoroughly--then chew it!

  9. Choose the Right Shape • Shape your thesis to fit the question you wish to answer. A thesis can come in many forms, including the following: • Simply stating an opinion • "Langston Hughes was a master stylist." • Indicating categories or reasons • "Langston Hughes was a master stylist because of his vivid imagery, surprising metaphors, and effective alliteration." • Showing two aspects of a topic and emphasizing one (in this sample, the 2nd topic in the sentence is emphasized) • "While Langston Hughes was a master stylist, as a critic he had several blind spots."

  10. Exercise 1 • You are going to write a paper on adult illiteracy. Choose the thesis statement that is best for this paper: Adult illiteracy poses the greatest threat to America today.Adult illiteracy has many causes, but it can be eliminated.How can the problem of adult illiteracy in America be effectively addressed?Subsuming a myriad of causal factors, adult illiteracy manifests itself throughout contemporary American society.We can eliminate adult illiteracy in America now!

  11. Exercise 2 • Choose the best working thesis for a persuasive essay about school uniforms. • THESIS A: There are many reasons not to have school uniforms. • THESIS B:School uniforms are bad because they are confining, expensive, and controversial. • THESIS C:School uniforms have a negative impact on school life because they do not allow students to express themselves, they are too expensive, and they create discipline problems.

  12. Bibliography • http://www.esc.edu/htmlpages/writerold/menud.htm#devthesi