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What is a Thesis? A thesis makes all the difference... Information courtesy of:

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1 What is a Thesis? A thesis makes all the difference... Information courtesy of:

2 A Good Thesis… Declares what you believe and what you intend to prove. Makes the difference between a thoughtful research project and a simple retelling of facts. Avoids vague language (“it seems”) Avoids the first person (“I believe,” “In my opinion”) Passes the “So what?” or “Who cares?” test. Would your most frank friend ask why he/she should care or respond with “but everyone knows that”? Ex. People should avoid driving under the influence of alcohol. It would be unlikely to evoke any opposition.

3 Five Tests to the Perfect Thesis Does the thesis inspire a reasonable reader to ask, “How?” or “Why?” Would a reasonable reader NOT respond with “Duh!” or “So what?” or “Gee, no kidding!” or “Who cares?” Does the thesis avoid general phrasing and/or sweeping words such as “all” or “none” or “every”? Does the thesis lead the reader toward the topic sentences (the subtopics needed to prove the thesis)? Can the thesis be adequately developed in the required length of the paper or project?

4 If You Answered No… If you cannot answer “YES” to the five tests, what changes must you make in order to pass the tests? Examine these sample thesis statements.sample thesis statements Visit this thesis generator for more advice.thesis generator Visit this thesis generator to get you started.thesis generator

5 Proficient vs. Advanced Proficient: Inspires the reasonable reader to ask “How?” or “Why?” Advanced: Inspires the reasonable reader to ask “How?” or “Why?” and to exclaim “Wow!” This thesis engages the student in challenging or provocative research and displays a level of thought that breaks new ground. Remember: Reading and coaching can significantly improve the tentative thesis.

6 Thesis Brainstorming As you read look for: Interesting contrasts or comparisons or patterns emerging in the information Is there something about the topic that surprises you? Do you encounter ideas that make you wonder why? Does something an “expert” says make you respond, “No way! That can’t be right!” or “Yes, absolutely. I agree!” Examples of brainstorming a thesis: Select a topic: television and children Ask an interesting question: What are the effects of television violence on children? Revise the question into a thesis: Violence on television increases aggressive behavior in preschool children. Remember this argument is your “preliminary” or “working” thesis. As you read you may discover evidence that may affect your stance. It is okay to revise your thesis! For more ideas on brainstorming visit Purdue’s Thought StartersPurdue’s Thought Starters

7 Examples of Good Theses Although both chefs and cooks can prepare fine meals, chefs differ from cooks in education, professional commitment, and artistry. A first water rafting experience can challenge the body and spirit and transform an adolescent into an adult. Our American family structure encourages men to repress their true feelings, leaving them open to physical, psychological, and relationship difficulties. Steroids, even those legally available, are addictive and should be banned from sports. Though many people dismiss hip hop as offensive, hip hop music offers urban youth an important opportunity for artistic expression, and allows them to articulate the poetry of the street. Despite their high-tech special effects, today’s graphically violent horror movies do not convey the creative use of cinematography or the emotional impact that we saw in the classic horror films of the 1940s and 1950s?

8 Additional Information Purdue OWL's Thesis or QuestionThesis or Question Harvard University's Developing a ThesisDeveloping a Thesis Indiana University's How to Write a ThesisHow to Write a Thesis Northwestern University Writing Center's Developing a ThesisDeveloping a Thesis University of Wisconsin's Developing a Thesis StatementDeveloping a Thesis Statement Dartmouth's Developing a ThesisDeveloping a Thesis Hunter College's Developing a ThesisDeveloping a Thesis Hamilton College's Introductions and Thesis StatementsIntroductions and Thesis Statements Capital Community College's The Thesis StatementThe Thesis Statement Developing a Thesis Statement Using Thesis Statements (U. Toronto) Write Place: Thesis Statement

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