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How to Write a Thesis Statement

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					 How to Write a
Thesis Statement
 Guidelines for the Thesis
       Challenged

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                 The Map
   A thesis statement (TS) is a
    guide map to your entire paper.
     It provides a mini-summary of the
      paper’s content.
     It allows the reader to know in
      advance how the paper is
      organized.
     It lets the reader know why he/she
      should care. (The “So What?”)
          Express Yourself
   The thesis statement expresses the
    main ideas of your paper and
    previews the answer to the question
    or questions posed by your paper.
    What Can A TS Do For You?
 Helps you start drafting.
 Helps keep you focused.

 Helps to narrow your subject to a
  single, central idea.
 Serves as a point of reference if
  changes occur.
             Two Main Parts
   A Thesis Statement generally
    consists of two main parts
     Yourtopic, and then the analysis,
     explanation, or assertion, that you’re
     making about the topic.
             Two Main Parts
                         Analysis

   Topic                Explanation

                         Assertion

    Part 1                 Part 2
             To Do List
 Make a concise assertion about your
  topic.
 Limit the statement to only one idea.

 Make the assertion specific and
  significant.
             To Do List
 At least imply your purpose.
 Unify the statement so that the parts
  relate to each other.
A Thesis Statement
   Gone Wrong
A Thesis Statement Gone Wrong

This new product brought in over
 $30,000 last year.

 This is a statement of fact without an
  assertion.
 What’s the significance of the
  product’s success. (The “So What?”)
A Thesis Statement Gone Wrong
 Before: This new product brought in
  over $30,000 last year.
 After: This product succeeded
  because of its innovative marketing
  campaign, including widespread
  press coverage, in-store
  entertainment, and a consumer
  newsletter.
  General
 Examples
 of Award
  Winning
  Thesis
Statements
       General Examples
 Show that essay’s purpose is to
  explain.
 Show essay’s organization.

 Show that essay’s purpose is to
  persuade.
         Purpose to Explain
   The following examples of thesis
    statements announce that the essays’
    purposes are mainly to explain about
    their subjects.
    Pecking Order in an Office
   Two months working in a large
    government agency taught me that an
    office’s pecking order should be
    respected.

    Topic: Office’s     Assertion:
    pecking order       Should be
                        respected
     Web Distribution of Music
   Because artists can now publish their
    music directly via the Web,
    consumers have many more choices
    than traditional distribution allows.

       Topic:          Assertion: Have
     Consumers           many more
                          choices
    What Public Relations Does
   Although most of us are unaware of
    the public relations campaigns
    directed at us, they can significantly
    affect the way we think and live.

     Topic: Public      Assertion: Affect
       relations        the way we think
      campaigns             and live
             Organization
   The following example on preventing
    juvenile crime clearly predicts the
    organization of the essay.
     Preventing Juvenile Crime
   Juveniles can be diverted from crime
    by active learning programs, full-time
    sports, and intervention by mentors
    and role models.

    Topic: Juveniles     Assertion: Can
                        be diverted from
                         crime in three
                              ways
              Persuasion
   The following example on federal aid
    to college students announces that
    the essay’s main purpose is to
    convince the reader of something.
Federal Aid to College Students

   To compete well in the global
    economy, the United States must
    make higher education affordable for
    any student who qualifies
    academically.
    Topic: Affordable    Assertion: Must be
       education         made available to
                        any qualified student
                             in the U.S.
Checklist Questions
      Checklist Questions
 Does the statement make a concise
  assertion about your topic?
 Is the assertion limited to only one
  idea?
 Is the assertion specific and
  significant?
      Checklist Questions
 Does the statement at least imply
  your purpose?
 Is the statement unified so that the
  parts relate to each other?
 Specific
Examples
of Thesis
Statement
  Types
    Three Specific Types of Thesis
             Statements

 Analytical
 Expository (Explanatory)
 Argumentative
    Three Specific Types of Thesis
             Statements

   Analytical
     Compare/Contrast   essays
            Analysis Essay
   In an analytical paper, you are
    breaking down an issue or an idea
    into its component parts, evaluating
    the issue or idea, and presenting this
    breakdown and evaluation to your
    reader.
             Analysis Essay
   An analytical thesis statement will
    explain:
     What you are analyzing.
     The parts of your analysis.

     The order in which you will be
      presenting your analysis.
      Analysis Questions
 What did I analyze?
 What did I discover in my analysis?

 How can I categorize my discoveries?

 In what order should I present my
  discoveries?
          Analysis-Example
   An analysis of barn owl flight behavior
    reveals two kinds of flight patterns:
    patterns related to hunting prey and
    patterns related to courtship.
          Analysis-Example
   A reader could expect that the paper
    will provide an explanation of the
    analysis of barn owl flight behavior,
    and then an explanation of the two
    kinds of flight patterns.
    Three Specific Types of Thesis
             Statements
   Expository (Explanatory)
                 essays
     Illustrative
     Explicative essays
     Descriptive essays
         Explanation Essay
   In an expository paper, you are
    explaining something to your reader.
          Explanation Essay
   An expository (explanatory) thesis
    statement will tell your audience:
     What you are going to explain to them.
     The categories your are using to
      organize your explanation.
     The order in which you will be
      presenting your categories.
    Explanation Questions
 What am I trying to explain?
 How can I categorize my explanation
  into different parts?
 In what order should I present the
  different parts of my explanation?
        Explanation-Example
   The lifestyles of barn owls include
    hunting for insects and animals,
    building nests, and raising their
    young.
        Explanation-Example
   A reader could expect that the paper
    will explain how owls hunt for insects
    and animals, build nests, and raise
    their young.
    Three Specific Types of Thesis
             Statements
   Argumentative
     Persuasive essays
     Argumentative essays

     Cause/Effect essays
        Argumentation Essay
   In an argumentative paper, you are
    making a claim about a topic and
    justifying this claim with reasons and
    evidence.
       Argumentation Essay
   This claim could be an opinion, a
    policy proposal, an evaluation, a
    cause-and-effect statement, or an
    interpretation.
       Argumentation Essay
   This claim must be one that someone
    could possibly disagree with because
    the goal of the paper is to convince
    the reader that your claim is true
    based on your presentation of your
    reasons and evidence.
    Argumentation Questions
 What is my claim or assertion?
 What are the reasons I have to
  support my claim or assertion?
 In what order should I present my
  reasons?
     Argumentation—Example
   Barn owls’ nests should not be
    eliminated from barns because barn
    owls help farmers by eliminating
    insect and rodent pests.
     Argumentation—Example
   A reader could expect that the paper
    will present an argument and
    evidence that farmers should not get
    rid of barn owls when they find them
    nesting in their barns.
Review Checklist
      Checklist Questions
 Does the statement make a concise
  assertion about your topic?
 Is the assertion limited to only one
  idea?
 Is the assertion specific and
  significant?
      Checklist Questions
 Does the statement at least imply
  your purpose?
 Is the statement unified so that the
  parts relate to each other?
Works Cited
                Works Cited
 Most of the information provided in these
  slides was plucked (either word-for-word
  or paraphrased) from Purdue
  University’s Online Writing Lab.
 Visit the website for more information:
     http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/print
                 Works Cited
 Most of the information provided in these
  slides was plucked (either word-for-word
  or paraphrased) from The Little Brown
  Handbook, 8th ed. Instructor’s Annotated
  Edition.
 Author’s: H. Ramsey Fowler, Jane E.
  Aaron, and Janice Okoomian
 Visit the website for more information:
     http://www.awl.com/littlebrown

				
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