2What 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.
3Why should your essay contain a thesis statement? To test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or twoTo better organize and develop your argumentTo provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument
4A good thesis will usually… Express one main ideaTake on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagreeAssert your conclusions about a subject
5How 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?
6The Main IdeaTo understand the concept of a “main idea”, it is useful to distinguish between the following terms:TopicMain ideaTopic sentence
7Topic 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 includeRecyclingMammalsTrees of Ontario
8Main 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.
9Topic SentenceA 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.
10Main 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.
11Main 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 paperCan be used to create / map your ideas
12Organize each paragraph Organizing a paragraph is easy because it’s organized just the way an entire paper is:Thesis stated in introductory paragraphFirst supporting pointSecond supporting pointAdditional supporting pointsConcluding paragraph
13Organize each paragraph Here’s the way to organize a paragraph:Topic sentenceFirst supporting detail or exampleSecond supporting detail or exampleAdditional supporting details or examplesConcluding sentence if neededEach paragraph should contain only ONE main idea.
14Transition Expressions Words/expressions like:Also In the first placeFurthermore Thereforemake paragraphs read more smoothly.
15Transition 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 AlsoSecondly Equally important FurthermoreEven more important Finally
16A Conclusion should… Be the best part of your paper Stress the importance of the thesis statementGive the essay a sense of completenessLeave a final impression on the reader
17When writing your Conclusion… Answer the question “So what?”Synthesize, don’t summarizeRedirect your readersCreate a new meaningEcho the introductionChallenge the readerLook to the future
18When 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 conclusionIntroducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusionEnding with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changesMaking sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paperIncluding evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.
19Thesis Statement, Main Idea, Conclusion Re-readRe-workReviseRe-doRepeat.
20ReferencesConclusions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, fromEstablishing the Main Idea. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, fromStrategies for Writing a Conclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008, fromThesis Statements. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2008, from