Presentation on theme: "What is a thesis? The thesis is the main or controlling idea of your paper The remainder of your paper should work towards proving your thesis Any information."— Presentation transcript:
What is a thesis? The thesis is the main or controlling idea of your paper The remainder of your paper should work towards proving your thesis Any information which does not work towards this end will come across as irrelevant Your thesis should answer a question It should be clearly stated in a single sentence
How to write a thesis As a thesis answers a question, a good thesis derives from a good question Start with a topic (ie Free Speech) Develop a list of quality questions (ie Should there be limits on Free Speech?) Choose one question and begin to research Most likely, you will not know your thesis until you are almost done your research (avoid confirmation bias) Come up with an answer to your question
Good vs. Bad Theses Bad thesis #1: This paper will consider the advantages and disadvantages of certain restrictions on free speech. Does not answer a question Better thesis: Even though there may be considerable advantages to restricting hate speech, the possibility of restricting open dialogue on crucial racial issues is too great and too high a price to pay.
Good vs. Bad Theses Bad Thesis #2: The government has the right to limit free speech. Too Broad, consider scope of paper Better Thesis: The government has the right to limit free speech in cases of overtly racist or sexist language because our failure to address such abuses would effectively suggest that our society condones such ignorant and hateful views.
Good vs. Bad Theses Bad Thesis #3: Although we have the right to say what we want, we should avoid hurting other people's feelings. No point in arguing it Better Thesis: If we can accept that emotional injuries can be just as painful as physical ones we should limit speech that may hurt people's feelings in ways similar to the way we limit speech that may lead directly to bodily harm.
Good vs. Bad Theses Bad Thesis #4: There are many reasons we need to limit hate speech. Too vague, avoid list in thesis Better Thesis: Among the many reasons we need to limit hate speech the most compelling ones all refer to our history of discrimination and prejudice, and it is, ultimately, for the purpose of trying to repair our troubled racial society that we need hate speech legislation.
Good vs. Bad Theses Bad Thesis #5: Hate speech can cause emotional pain and suffering in victims just as intense as physical battery. Proven only with scientific data (consider scope) Better Thesis: The various arguments against the regulation of hate speech depend on the unspoken and unexamined assumption that emotional pain is trivial.