Presentation on theme: "LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Unit 2 Seminar Developing a Strong Thesis Statement Information for this presentation is adapted from The Online Writing Center."— Presentation transcript:
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Unit 2 Seminar Developing a Strong Thesis Statement Information for this presentation is adapted from The Online Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Purdue University OWL
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar In the Unit 2 discussion board, you will draft a preliminary thesis statement that presents the position you’ll take in your Persuasive Essay. In addition, you will “pick a fight” with three of your classmates’ thesis statements, offering a one-sentence “rebuttal” of their positions. The purpose of this rebuttal is to help your classmates understand potential opposing positions and, if necessary, adjust their own positions accordingly.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar A thesis statement tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion is a road map for the paper—it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar A thesis statement is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself—the subject or topic of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick, but a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel makes a claim that others might dispute
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar A thesis statement is usually a single sentence somewhere in your first paragraph that presents your position to the reader; the rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will convince the reader of the logic of your interpretation
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Did I answer the assignment? Re-reading the assignment prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you make adjustments to a statement that misses the focus of the question.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it's possible that you are simply providing a summary or report, rather than making an argument.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like "good" or "successful," try to be more specific: –why is it "good“? –what specifically makes it "successful"?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Does my thesis pass the “so what" test? If a reader's first response is "So what?" then you need to clarify, to present a relationship between ideas, or to connect to a larger issue.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It's okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Re-assess and revise your writing as necessary.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask yourself: Does my thesis pass the "how and why" test? If a reader's first response is "how?" or "why?" your thesis may be too open- ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better understanding of your position right from the beginning.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Example: Suppose you are taking a course on 19th- century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War. You come up with the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Why is this thesis statement weak? It restates the question without providing any additional information that would suggest a thoughtful and reasoned position. This weakness may prompt a reader to ask questions like “What reasons?” “How are they the same?” “How are they different?”
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar A partial answer might be: The South believed slavery was right, and the North thought slavery was wrong. “Right” and “wrong” are still pretty general terms, though. By pushing this thinking a bit further toward interpretation, you might find that the North believed slavery was immoral while the South believed it upheld the Southern way of life.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar New thesis-level thinking: While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. Further investigation might lead you to refine this position even more, showing that both sides had what they believed to be a moral reason for fighting, but the moral reasoning involved was quite different.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Even stronger thesis statement: While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self- government.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar The final version of the thesis statement works because it presents a way of interpreting evidence to illuminate the significance of the question. Keep in mind that this is only one of many possible interpretations of the Civil War—it is not the one and only right answer to the question. There isn't one “right” answer; there are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Another example: Suppose your professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn. You come up with: Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Why is this thesis weak? It will most likely provide a general, appreciative summary of Twain's novel. The question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze. Instead of focusing on your opinion of the novel, focus on why you hold that opinion, looking for a specific perspective on the subject and what it tells us about American life, culture, etc.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar With those ideas in mind, you come up with: In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore. This thesis is workable – it is more specific, and it will guide your further investigation.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Ask: Why is this contrast significant? By looking at specific examples of this contrast within the novel, you might come up with this more developed and revealing position: Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain's Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave "civilized" society and go back to nature.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar More thesis statement examples, taken from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): A non-debatable thesis statement: Pollution is bad for the environment. A debatable version: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar A more refined, narrowed version: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade businesses to clean technologies, researching renewable energy sources, and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution. Why is this thesis statement an improvement over the previous examples? What kind of paper would it produce?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Another example of a debatable thesis: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars. How might this thesis be improved? What questions does it leave you with?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar How about this example? America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because this focus would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome. Is this better? If so, why?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Thesis statements can make different kinds of claims, depending on the writing situation. Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. What some people refer to as global warming is actually nothing more than normal, long-term cycles of climate change.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. The popularity of SUV's in America has caused pollution to increase.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Claims about value: These are claims made about what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Global warming is the most pressing challenge facing the world today.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Instead of drilling for oil in Alaska we should be focusing on ways to reduce oil consumption, such as researching renewable energy sources.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar As you prepare to write your preliminary thesis statement, you will find two pre-writing techniques useful: brainstorming and freewriting. Both of these techniques, like the mapping you practiced in Unit 1 for the expository essay, will help you generate and assess ideas about your topic that may prove to be of interest in developing your argument.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Brainstorming Describe the topic: Describe your subject in detail. What is your topic? What are its components? What are its interesting and distinguishing features? What questions does it raise? Distinguish your subject from those that are similar to it. How is your subject unlike others?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Trace its history and significance: What is the history of your subject? How has it changed over time? Why? Why is it worth studying? What are the important events that have influenced your subject?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Map its relationships to other topics: What is your subject related to? What is it influenced by? Who has a stake in your topic? Why? What fields do you draw on for the study of your subject? Why? How has your subject been approached by others? How is their work related to yours?
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar Freewriting At the end of Unit 2, you will submit a 2- page “freewrite” for the persuasive essay. Freewriting is a way to generate ideas and assess the state of your current knowledge and thinking about the issue you’ve chosen to write about. Don’t edit this paper or worry about grammar, spelling, etc. The idea is just to get your thoughts about the topic out on paper.
LS526-01 Unit 2 Seminar If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know at email@example.com or 912-429-9739 Thanks, and good luck!