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Thesis statement


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Discusses ways to write effective thesis statements.

Published in: Education
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Thesis statement

  1. 1. Thesis Statement The Foundation of a Paper
  2. 2. Objectives • Understand the purpose of a thesis statement • Recite the two characteristics of a thesis statement • Define the attributes of a thesis statement • Identify a good thesis statement • Write a thesis statement Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 2
  3. 3. Definition A thesis statement is the central opinion in a paper. It is this opinion that the writer tries to prove in the paper. A thesis statement is sometimes called the focus of the paper, controlling idea, or central idea. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 3
  4. 4. Characteristics Is a sentence Is an opinion Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 4
  5. 5. A Sentence • Do not confuse the title for the thesis statement • The thesis statement is part of the essay Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 5
  6. 6. An Opinion • A thesis statement • It gives a point of is not a list of view information • It is the focus of • It is not a fact the entire paper Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 6
  7. 7. Elements A thesis statement usually has three parts: topic, position and limit.
  8. 8. Topic The topic is usually the topic of the paper. It is usually the subject of the sentence. • Mortgage crisis • Assisted suicide • The best movie Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 8
  9. 9. Position The position is the writers position on the topic. It is usually the verb in the sentence. • The mortgage crisis has affected people. • Assisted suicide should be banned. • The best movie is The Blind Side. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 9
  10. 10. Limit The limit narrows the topic to a workable size. • The mortgage crisis has led America to the brink of economic meltdown. • Assisted suicide should be banned in the United States. • The best movie for demonstrating the power of compassion is The Blind Side. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 10
  11. 11. Attributes of a Good Thesis Writing a thesis that holds together
  12. 12. Clear Language is straight forward and simple. The main idea is in an independent clause. 1. Although the movie Avatar, which starred Zoé Saldana as princess of the Omaticaya, even with the great fight scenes, it is an ecological story. Weak 2. The movie Avatar has a strong ecological message about preserving the environment. Better Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 12
  13. 13. Specific The thesis statement is narrow enough to follow. 1. Avatar is a great movie. Weak 2. The movie Avatar has some of the best fight scenes of any recent movie. Better Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 13
  14. 14. Not a Promise The thesis statement should not contain a promise or a statement of purpose. 1. I will demonstrate why the movie Avatar is an modern love story. Weak 2. The movie Avatar is an modern love story.. Better Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 14
  15. 15. Not a Question Although a question is sometimes used as a thesis statement, it should be avoided because questions are not as emphatic as statements. 1. Is Avatar the best movie Zoé Saldana ever made? Weak 2. Zoé Saldana in the movie Avatar is convincing as the blue alien Na’vi. Better Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 15
  16. 16. Not a Negative Avoid using not or other negative words in a thesis sentence. A negative thesis is weaker than positive one. 1. Avatar is not the best movie Zoé Saldana ever made. Weak 2. Zoé Saldana in the movie Avatar lacked real depth of expression as computer generated image. Better Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 16
  17. 17. Other Considerations • The thesis statement is usually in the first or second paragraph of a paper. – Frequently it is the last sentence of the first paragraph. • Change the thesis if it does not reflect what the paper is about. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 17
  18. 18. Grammar • Extra attention should be paid to the grammar of the thesis statement since it is the most important sentence in the paper. – Fragment – Run-on or comma splices Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 18
  19. 19. Exercise 1 1. What are the causes of the Civil War? 2. Although slavery is thought of as the cause of the Civil War, states rights was the true cause. 3. The Civil War was fought between 1861 and 1865. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 19
  20. 20. Exercise 2 1. Prison sentences in the United States. 2. Prison sentences in the United States have become more punitive. 3. Since the 1980s and the War on Crime, prison sentences for repeat offenders are based more on punishment than justice. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 20
  21. 21. Exercise 3 1. Homer’s Iliad is still read today because it explores basic human emotions. 2. Homer’s Iliad is good reading. 3. Writers and artists through the centuries have used Homer’s Iliad as a source of inspiration. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 21
  22. 22. Exercise 4 1. Stanley Kubrick was a visionary director. 2. Stanley Kubrick’s movie Lolita shocked and challenge the movie-going public because of the adult-teenager affair that is the basis of the story. 3. Stanley Kubrick’s directorial style is as important to his movies as are the topics. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 22
  23. 23. Exercise 5 None 1. U.S. government policies on health care have changed during the past 20 years. 2. U.S. government policies on health care differ greatly from those of Asian nations and the different social and economic structures that underlie the government. 3. The purpose of this paper is to show that the U.S. government policies on health care should be changed to reflect citizen’s current concerns. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 23
  24. 24. Summary • The thesis statement is the most important part of the essay. • The thesis statement is an opinion. • The thesis statement is a sentence. • The thesis statement must be clear and to the point. Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 24
  25. 25. Resources • The DK Handbook, pages 102-103 • How to Write a Thesis Statement sis_statement.shtml • Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements 545/01/l Rev 2/2010 Thesis Statement 25