Presentation on theme: "Thesis Statement (Focus on slides 1-8). A topic is NOT a thesis: Topic from topos: “a (common) place” Thesis from tithēmi: “to place or position (oneself)”"— Presentation transcript:
Idea Must be about something Not just a general topic Must be a complete thought Audience can agree or disagree with it
How can I FIND my thesis? Focus on an area of your topic that is open to opposing viewpoints –search for something that raises questions. When you see conflicting evidence, don’t abandon your thesis; rather, use the conflict to expand, qualify, and refine your thesis
Stasis questions generally take one of six forms: Questions of fact: “Does this exist?” Questions of definition: “What is this?” Questions of interpretation: “What does this mean?” Questions of value: “Is this good?” Questions of consequence: “What will this cause? Did/will this cause that?” Questions of policy: “What should be done about this?”
Look deeper, and avoid a yes/no answer: What... caused something to happen effect does a particular event, or image, or point of view, or metaphor (etc.) have on the whole strengths and weaknesses does a particular theory have are the advantages and disadvantages of a series of images, or a particular narrative voice or frame or tone are the similarities and differences Caveat (again): with these and any other questions, it is vitally important to also define why this matters. Why are you choosing to write about this? What significance does it have for you, or should it have for your reader? How does your argument move forward everyone’s understanding? A good word to begin with: “Although...”
Thesis Statement Checklist: Does your thesis statement do more than restate the topic or question? Does your thesis statement reflect the restrictions which your essay will impose on the subject? Is your thesis statement written clearly so that it states the central idea of your essay precisely? Does your thesis statement convey the priorities of your argument? Is your thesis statement written in one or two sentences? Does your thesis statement present a proposition which can be proven (and/or argued against)? And the biggest question:
Rosenwasser and Stephen offer the following guidelines for developing a thesis statement: A thesis is an idea that you formulate and reformulate about your subject. It should offer a theory about the meaning of evidence that would not have been immediately obvious to your readers. Look for a thesis by focusing on an area of your subject that is open to opposing viewpoints or multiple interpretations. Rather than trying to locate a single right answer, search for something that raises questions. Treat your thesis as a hypothesis to be tested rather than an obvious truth. Most effective theses contain tension, the balance of this against that, this degree with that qualification. They are conceptually complex, and that is reflected in their grammatical shape— often they begin with although or incorporate however. The body of your paper should serve not only to substantiate the thesis by demonstrating its value in selecting and explaining evidence, but also to bring the opening version of the thesis into better focus. Evolve your thesis—move it forward—by seeing the questions that each new formulation of it prompts you to ask. Develop the implications of your evidence and of your observations as fully as you can by repeatedly asking, So what? When you encounter potentially conflicting evidence (or interpretations of that evidence), don’t simply abandon your thesis. Take advantage of the complications to expand, qualify, and refine your thesis until you arrive at the most accurate explanation of the evidence that you can manage. Arrive at the final version of your thesis by returning to your initial formulation—the position you set out to explore—and restating it in the more carefully qualified way you have arrived at through the body of your paper. To check that you thesis has evolved, locate and compare the various versions of it throughout the draft. Have you done more than demonstrate the general validity of an unqualified claim? For a more detailed discussion about evolving thesis statements, please see Chapter 6 Rosenwasser, D. and Stephen, J. (2006). Writing Analytically. Boston, MA: Thomson Wadsworth.