2 thesis_writing

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2 thesis_writing

  1. 1. Lesson 2Lesson 2 The ThesisThe Thesis SentenceSentenceThanks to Keith Wood, Honors English and AP U.S.Thanks to Keith Wood, Honors English and AP U.S. History teacher at Murray High School, MurrayHistory teacher at Murray High School, Murray Utah. Edited slightly for VCHS use.Utah. Edited slightly for VCHS use.
  2. 2. •The thesis sentence is the most important sentence in any essay. • It must be clear, properly structured, and in the correct place.
  3. 3. A thesis sentence isA thesis sentence is a singlea single declaratory sentencedeclaratory sentence thatthat ““answersanswers”” the promptthe prompt with a clearly and simply statedwith a clearly and simply stated opinionopinion that does not restate the prompt.that does not restate the prompt.
  4. 4. Tip #1Tip #1 After reading the whole prompt, markingAfter reading the whole prompt, marking the verbs and conjunctions, and sketchingthe verbs and conjunctions, and sketching out how you intend to proceed. . .out how you intend to proceed. . . Answer the prompt in a simple sentence.Answer the prompt in a simple sentence. For instance, consider this DBQ prompt:For instance, consider this DBQ prompt: How successful was organized labor inHow successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the periodimproving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors thatfrom 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved.contributed to the level of success achieved.
  5. 5. Tip #1 (continued)Tip #1 (continued)  What do you think about this prompt?What do you think about this prompt?  Were labor unions successful in improving workingWere labor unions successful in improving working conditions and the power of working people during thisconditions and the power of working people during this time?time?  At the end of the period had the lives of working peopleAt the end of the period had the lives of working people substantially improved due to organized labor?substantially improved due to organized labor?  What factors caused or stopped improvement fromWhat factors caused or stopped improvement from happening?happening?  YOUR OPINION IS ESSENTIAL!YOUR OPINION IS ESSENTIAL!  And your opinion must be clear.And your opinion must be clear.  So. . .So. . .
  6. 6. Tip #1 (continued)Tip #1 (continued) LetLet’’s say that you think this time period wass say that you think this time period was not a period of labor success.not a period of labor success. Write a simple statement that answers theWrite a simple statement that answers the prompt with your opinion. Like this. . .prompt with your opinion. Like this. . . Labor unions failed to improve the condition ofLabor unions failed to improve the condition of working people at the end of the 19working people at the end of the 19thth century.century. Or. . .Or. . . Government antagonism to labor unions keptGovernment antagonism to labor unions kept them from effectively helping working peoplethem from effectively helping working people during this period.during this period.
  7. 7. Tip #1 (continued)Tip #1 (continued) ItIt’’s extremely important to get your thinkings extremely important to get your thinking clearly into a simpleclearly into a simple ““answeranswer”” to the prompt.to the prompt. Do NOT restate the wording of the prompt.Do NOT restate the wording of the prompt. Rather thanRather than ““the time period 1875 tothe time period 1875 to 1900,1900,”” writewrite ““the last decades of the 19the last decades of the 19thth centurycentury”” oror ““the three decades followingthe three decades following the Civil War.the Civil War.”” Rather thanRather than ““organized labor,organized labor,”” refer torefer to labor unions.labor unions.
  8. 8. Tip #2Tip #2 Choosing a thesis structureChoosing a thesis structure The key to writing a clear, strong thesis isThe key to writing a clear, strong thesis is toto ““answeranswer”” or address the prompt withor address the prompt with your opinion clearly in front of you.your opinion clearly in front of you. They you need to decide what shape yourThey you need to decide what shape your thesis sentence should take.thesis sentence should take. Your thesis will provide the readerYour thesis will provide the reader’’s firsts first and guiding impression. Give great careand guiding impression. Give great care with this sentence!with this sentence!
  9. 9. Tip #2 Choosing a thesis structureTip #2 Choosing a thesis structure (continued)(continued) Two excellent ways of writing thesisTwo excellent ways of writing thesis sentences aresentences are 1.1. A concept thesis.A concept thesis. 2.2. An organizational thesis.An organizational thesis. Sometimes this last is known asSometimes this last is known as an organizational statement.an organizational statement.
  10. 10. Concept ThesisConcept Thesis Now that you have your opinion, you canNow that you have your opinion, you can write a sentence that is both complex andwrite a sentence that is both complex and specific.specific. One wayOne way of doing this is to write aof doing this is to write a sentence that begins with the wordsentence that begins with the word ““although.although.”” This may seem odd, but recent APThis may seem odd, but recent AP grading rubrics award high scores only tograding rubrics award high scores only to essays thatessays that ““address the complexity of theaddress the complexity of the question.question.””
  11. 11. Concept Thesis (continued)Concept Thesis (continued) A thesis written like this may look like this:A thesis written like this may look like this: Although this was a period of intense laborAlthough this was a period of intense labor pressure, unions failed to make the livespressure, unions failed to make the lives and status of workers better.and status of workers better. Or. . .Or. . . Although this period saw increased laborAlthough this period saw increased labor involvement, state and federal governmentinvolvement, state and federal government antagonism kept unions from beingantagonism kept unions from being effective.effective.
  12. 12. Concept Thesis (continued)Concept Thesis (continued) This kind of thesis sentence sets you upThis kind of thesis sentence sets you up from the very beginning to acknowledgefrom the very beginning to acknowledge ““complexitycomplexity”” in the essay prompt.in the essay prompt. Your opinion, yourYour opinion, your ““answeranswer”” to the prompt,to the prompt, goes in the second half of this thesis, aftergoes in the second half of this thesis, after the comma. This is the point you arethe comma. This is the point you are going to make, the destination at whichgoing to make, the destination at which you want the reader to arrive.you want the reader to arrive.
  13. 13. Organizational ThesisOrganizational Thesis Another way of writing a clear thesis is toAnother way of writing a clear thesis is to use anuse an ““organizational statement.organizational statement.”” This is a sentence that specifically mentionsThis is a sentence that specifically mentions what will be the topics of the following bodywhat will be the topics of the following body paragraphs.paragraphs. Look at the prompt one more time:Look at the prompt one more time: How successful was organized labor inHow successful was organized labor in improving the position of workers in the periodimproving the position of workers in the period from 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors thatfrom 1875 to 1900? Analyze the factors that contributed to the level of success achieved.contributed to the level of success achieved.
  14. 14. Organizational Thesis (continued)Organizational Thesis (continued) Some essay prompts lend themselves to organizational thesis sentences. For instance, consider the following prompt:  Analyze the factors that contributed to the successAnalyze the factors that contributed to the success or failure of organized laboror failure of organized labor’’s efforts to improve thes efforts to improve the position of workers during the period 1875 to 1900.position of workers during the period 1875 to 1900. An organizational thesis for this promptAn organizational thesis for this prompt could specify which three things werecould specify which three things were going to be discussed without re-statinggoing to be discussed without re-stating the prompt.the prompt.
  15. 15. Organizational Thesis (continued)Organizational Thesis (continued) The following sentences specifically mention what will be the topic sentences of the next paragraphs. Labor unions failed because they were confused in their goals and were aggressively opposed by both state and federal governments. Organized labor unions were unsuccessful because they were not unified in their demands and were associated with radical European political groups.
  16. 16. Whether you choose a concept thesis or an organizational thesis, this sentence will shape the first impression you make on the reader. Think carefully about your task and make sure your thesis addresses the prompt.
  17. 17. Tip #3Tip #3 Having written your thesis sentence, you areHaving written your thesis sentence, you are ready to put it into your essay introduction.ready to put it into your essay introduction. For most AP U. S. History essays, anFor most AP U. S. History essays, an introductionintroduction ““paragraphparagraph”” may only be two ormay only be two or three sentences in length.three sentences in length. The thesis sentence should be the lastThe thesis sentence should be the last sentence in your introduction paragraph.sentence in your introduction paragraph. Take a step back from your thesis and writeTake a step back from your thesis and write a general sentence that introduces the topic.a general sentence that introduces the topic.
  18. 18. Tip #3 (continued)Tip #3 (continued) The general topic of this prompt is theThe general topic of this prompt is the effectiveness of organized labor.effectiveness of organized labor. Using aUsing a concept thesisconcept thesis sentence, thesentence, the introduction might look like this:introduction might look like this: American workers have organized to improveAmerican workers have organized to improve pay and working conditions since the earliestpay and working conditions since the earliest period of industrialization. By the end of the 19period of industrialization. By the end of the 19thth century these unions made a major effort tocentury these unions made a major effort to make the lives of working people better.make the lives of working people better. Although this was a period of intense laborAlthough this was a period of intense labor pressure, unions failed to make the lives andpressure, unions failed to make the lives and status of workers better.status of workers better.
  19. 19. Tip #3 (continued)Tip #3 (continued) Using anUsing an organizational thesisorganizational thesis sentences, the introduction might look likesentences, the introduction might look like this:this: American workers have organized to improveAmerican workers have organized to improve pay and working conditions since the earliestpay and working conditions since the earliest period of industrialization. By the end of the 19period of industrialization. By the end of the 19thth century these unions made a major effort tocentury these unions made a major effort to make the lives of working people better. Theymake the lives of working people better. They failed, however, since they were unclear in theirfailed, however, since they were unclear in their demands and both state and federaldemands and both state and federal governments used force to stop them.governments used force to stop them.
  20. 20. Tip #3 (continued)Tip #3 (continued) AP essay rubrics award high scores toAP essay rubrics award high scores to essays that haveessays that have ““a clear, well-developeda clear, well-developed thesisthesis”” that isthat is ““focused on the promptfocused on the prompt”” andand ““guides the essay throughout.guides the essay throughout.”” By clearlyBy clearly ““answeringanswering”” the prompt with yourthe prompt with your opinion, writing a strong thesis sentence,opinion, writing a strong thesis sentence, and putting it at the beginning of your essay,and putting it at the beginning of your essay, you do as much in two or three sentencesyou do as much in two or three sentences as you can do to get yourself off to a greatas you can do to get yourself off to a great start.start.
  21. 21. Lesson 2 SummaryLesson 2 Summary A thesis is a single declarative sentenceA thesis is a single declarative sentence thatthat ““answersanswers”” the prompt with yourthe prompt with your opinion.opinion. The thesis should address the complexityThe thesis should address the complexity in the prompt.in the prompt. The thesis should be carefully crafted to fitThe thesis should be carefully crafted to fit the demands of the specific essay prompt.the demands of the specific essay prompt. The thesis should be the last sentence inThe thesis should be the last sentence in the introduction paragraph.the introduction paragraph.

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