Thesis Development and Study Skills in Social Sciences John Holzinger Natasha Laraway
What is a Thesis? It’s the main idea and point that the writer is trying to convey in an essay. The thesis can be one to two sentences. Your thesis needs to be strong enough that it can be proven through your writing throughout your essay. It needs to be simply worded yet explains your complex position.
Why do you need a Thesis? A thesis is necessary because it provides structure and order to the rest of the paper. It explains to your reader two things: 1. Topic 2. The writer’s opinion A good thesis aids the reader in understanding the basis of your paper
Thesis Strategies Write a preliminary thesis statement Change and revise your preliminary statement and curtail it to be more precise Continue to revise this statement until a final and well encompassing thesis is created.
A Good Thesis Statement… Clearly suggests an essay’s direction, emphasis, and scope. Is neither too broad nor too narrow. Usually argues a point of view. Is concise. Is specific, not vague. Is strong.
Good Questions to ask about your Thesis 1. Is it clear what the project will be about? 2. Is it arguable? Is there something that has to be proven? 3. Can I prove what I am stating in my thesis? 4. Is there only one main idea? 5. Does this fully answer the question asked and is my opinion developed?
Websites related to your social science class Philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/ - stanford encyclopedia of philosophy http://www.btinternet.com/~glynhughes/squashed/ - Squashed philosophers Political Science: http://votesmart.org CIA Factbook
Websites related to your social science class Anthropology http://www.aaanet.org/ - American Anthropological Association Psychology http://apa.org/ - American Psychological Association
How is studying for the Social Sciences different than other subjects? Math, science, etc = memorization, application, (i.e. memorizing the formula to the Pythagorean theorem and how to use it in your homework) The social sciences are like a combination of memorization and critical thinking. Memorize: key terms, key concepts Critically think: how does this affect me, the world, and those around us?
Studying a social science: READ assigned texts LEARN the key terms and key concepts RESEARCH supplementary sources for things you do not understand APPLY /DISCUSS what you have learned to the real world, think outside the box, talk to people about what you have learned and what you feel about it
General tips: Develop a system of study – flash cards, acronyms, etc Plan time for studying - have a set time, at a set day, for a limited amount of time. Work on the hardest assignments first Keep up with reading and assignments Study with a group – make friends, study with people, especially for a test
Exam tips Sleep well the night before—do not try to stay up all night cramming. Avoid energy drinks Eat a good breakfast Get to class early—this allows you to relax before the test, briefly study with classmates, and be 100% ready
Test anxieties/study troubles Problems you encounter while studying or taking tests?
Study tricks What are some of your tricks for studying for a social science course?