|how to write a thesis statement
The first question to ask yourself is what is my purpose? Once you know that, you can decide what type of thesis statement you want to write.
To informIf you are writing an informative paper, think about what information your paper is going to include. Your thesis statement must be broad enough to encapsulate all the information that appears in your body paragraphs, but it must also be narrow enough to stay specifically on topic.
Imagine you are writing an informative paper that highlights the problem of teenage binge drinking.
Example of too broad: "Alcohol abuse has consequences."
Example of too narrow: "Alcohol abuse at my high school has resulted in the expulsion of two students."
Example of usable thesis:"Cases of alcohol abuse in high schools across America have increased in number and severity over the last ten years."
To argueIf you are writing an argumentative paper, think about what you are trying to argue. Your thesis statement must take a stance that can be supported by the information in your body paragraphs. This statment is the overall point you are trying to make. It should be broad enough to encompass all of your supporting information, but narrow enough so your reader knows exactly what you are arguing.
Imagine you are writing an argumentative paper for implenting health care reform.
Example of too broad: "Health care in this country is in bad shape."
Example of unarguable thesis: "Health care costs have skyrocketed in recent years."
Example of usable thesis:"Due to the rising costs of healthcare and the number of uninsured individuals, the democratic majority in Washington must use its authority to implement health care reform legislation."
To entertainIf you are writing an entertaining paper, a thesis statement is not always needed. Sometimes it is useful to have one as a tool to forecast to readers what information the paper will concern.
Try this exercise
Creating Thesis Statements Worksheet
Subject and Commentary
a) People should avoid large corporate retailers.
b) King Lear is Shakespeare’s best work.
c) The colonists were wrong in driving out the Native American population.
d) There are many good things about public television.
2. Now, evaluate how the above theses can be more focused. Offer two revisions for each in the space below:
Brainstorm one subject idea of your own ideas: about a movie; about a book; about the political campaign; about an aspect of college life
3. Write down your subject (topic):_____________________________________
4. Now write a thesis statement (topic + commentary) for your subject here:
5. Self-evaluate: Is the thesis focused? What kind of argumentative claim is being made?
Tips for good commentary:
Arguable and Revelatory Theses
An excellent thesis statement should always be arguable and should provide fresh insight or perspective on the chosen topic
6. Explain why the following theses are not arguable and revise them to invite opposition:
a) Should people shop at Wal-Mart?
b) Computers have changed how business works.
c) Injustice hurts people.
d) Abraham Lincoln was a great president.
7. As noted, excellent theses (which generally result in excellent papers) offer a fresh revelation about the topic. Revise these rather bland sentences into revelatory thesis statements:
a) The Internet has changed the world.
b) Video games are bad for kids.
c) “Framing” political arguments is important.
written by Luke Rolfes & Dr. Richard Black
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