Presentation on theme: "Keys to Successful Essay Writing. A thesis statement is a one-sentence summarization of the argument or analysis that is to follow. Think of the thesis."— Presentation transcript:
Keys to Successful Essay Writing
A thesis statement is a one-sentence summarization of the argument or analysis that is to follow. Think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.
A thesis statement will test your ideas by condensing them into a sentence or two A thesis statement will better organize and develop your argument A thesis statement will provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument Source:
Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to condense the assignment into a specific question. For example: Topic: Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class Question:What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class? Thesis: The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are... Source:
A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand. Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight- loss product to evaluate.
Look at this sample thesis statement: There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement. This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase “negative and positive aspects” is vague. Now look at this sample thesis statement: Since Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers. This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand and it focuses on specific negative aspects of the weight-loss product.
A strong thesis statement justifies, or gives good reason for, discussion. It isn’t simply a fact or observation. Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. For Example: In the early 1970s, California was in the top five in the nation for education. Now it is in the bottom five. This is just a fact. There is nothing to argue here. What this needs is some kind of opinion or some kind of insight. For instance, the writer could try to look at WHY this change happened, or HOW this change has affected students in California. Following either one of these routes would result in an arguable, and STRONG, thesis statement. Source:
Another strong style of thesis statement writing is to demonstrate controversy, or, “pick a fight”. While most of the football-watching American public believe that the New York Jets should start Tim Tebow at quarterback, the majority of Jets fans correctly believe that Mark Sanchez gives their team the better chance of winning. This is a strong thesis because it shows how your stance contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.
Here is an example of a too-broad thesis statement: Many creative suggestions have been made for how to fix the educational crisis in California. This is just too big a topic to cover in three to five pages. Everyone in the state has an opinion about how to fix the educational system, so the writer needs a narrower focus. What the writer could do here is focus on the one or two suggestions that the writer feels would be the most successful. Not only would this give the essay a manageable focus, but it would also provide a more arguable thesis, since the writer would have to show why the suggestions are more likely to work. Source: probs.pdf
A strong thesis statement is specific. A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you were writing a paper on hunger, you might say: World hunger has many causes and effects. This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, “world hunger” cannot be discussed thoroughly in your allotted page limits. Second, “many causes and effects” is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects.
A revised thesis statement might look like this: Hunger continues in Appalachia because jobs are scarce and farming in the poor soil is rarely profitable. This is a strong thesis because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.
Now it is your turn to apply what you have learned today about writing thesis statements to your upcoming work on your research paper. Topic Selection will be TOMORROW. If you have any questions or need any help developing a thesis statement for your topic, please make arrangements to meet with me AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Good Luck.