Thesis or Thesicle? How to make a smashing thesis

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Created for a 12th grade history seminar class at Windward School

Created for a 12th grade history seminar class at Windward School

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  • 1. Answering your research question and making a smashing claim. Thesis or Thesicle?
  • 2. Don't laugh... it's a real word. Source: the Oxford English Dictionary
  • 3. Talk to a partner about the following:
      • What is a thesis? Why is it important for a paper?
      • What should you consider when crafting a thesis for a 20 page paper versus a short paper or essay?
      • What are the elements of a good thesis?
  • 4. Thesis defined:
    • A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved : his central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world.
    • ORIGIN late Middle English (sense 3) : via late Latin from Greek, literally ‘placing, a proposition,’ from the root of tithenai ‘to place.’
    Source: Oxford American Dictionary
  • 5. What makes a strong thesis?
    • A strong thesis is...
    •     ... debatable.
    •     ... narrowed and specific.
    •     ... answers your research question.
    •     ... can be supported with evidence from multiple sources.
    •     ... is significant and interesting.
  • 6. What's wrong with this thesicle?
    • Thesicle: Pollution is bad for the environment.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
  • 7. How would you revise this to be DEBATABLE?
    • Thesicle: Pollution is bad for the environment.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ Thesis:
  • 8. How would you revise this to be DEBATABLE?
    • Thesicle: Pollution is bad for the environment.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ Thesis 1: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution.
  • 9. How would you revise this to be DEBATABLE?
    • Thesicle: Pollution is bad for the environment.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ Thesis 2: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.
  • 10. What's wrong with this thesicle?
    • Thesicle: Drug use is detrimental to society.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
  • 11. What needs to be defined or specified?
    • Thesicle: Drug use is detrimental to society.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
      • What is meant by drugs? (recreational, illegal, medical?)
      • In what specific ways are drugs harmful?
      • Who is society? America or the global population? Is there a distinction between children or adults?
  • 12. How would you revise this to be FOCUSED?
    • Thesicle: Drug use is detrimental to society.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ Thesis:
  • 13. How would you revise this to be FOCUSED?
    • Thesicle: Drug use is detrimental to society.
    Source: the Purdue Online Writing Lab,  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/ Thesis focus: illegal drugs and gang violence. Thesis: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence.
  • 14. You Get the Idea
  • 15. Any Questions?
  • 16. Articulating your thesis Moving from your research question and notes to a working thesis.
  • 17. Creating a Working Thesis
    • For the next 10 minutes, you will begin to synthesize your evidence and begin to articulate a working thesis. You will have two options for how to do this work.
  • 18. Option 1: Organize your Evidence
    • Option 1:
    • Organize and categorize your evidence.
      • What is the evidence telling you? What is the story?
      • How can you use the evidence to answer your research question?
      • Potential creations: mindmap, list of categories, etc.
  • 19. Option 2: Freewrite
    • Option 2:
    • Freewrite about your topic.
      • What are the trends in the research you have done so far?
      • Based on your research, what do you think you might argue about?
      • What will be the most important evidence to support your claim?
  • 20. Creating a Working Thesis
    • After 10 minutes of working independently, you will meet with your research group and report on the following:
      • State your research question
      • Talk about the reflective work you did today.
      • State your working thesis.
    • Each group will then give feedback to the presenter, ask questions, and make suggestions.
  • 21. Get started!
    • Option 1:
    • Begin by organizing and categorizing your evidence.
      • What is the evidence telling you? What is the story?
      • How can you use the evidence to answer your research question?
      • Potential creations: mindmap, list of categories, etc.
    • Option 2:
    • Begin by freewriting about your topic.
      • What are the trends in the research you have done so far?
      • Based on your research, what do you think you might argue about?
      • What will be the most important evidence to support your claim?
  • 22. Meet with your Research Team
    • After 10 minutes of working independently, you will meet with your research group and report on the following:
      • State your research question
      • Talk about the reflective work you did today.
      • State your working thesis.
    • Each group will then give feedback to the presenter, ask questions, and make suggestions.
  • 23. Created by Sarah Clark for Windward School. Find out more about what is happening at Windward at ctl.windwardschool.org