thesis statement by t354gt

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What is a thesis statement?
A proposition put forward for consideration and discussion—
a thesis is a cousin to a topic sentence, a main idea sentence—
and also a cousin to the hypothesis (a tentative explanation that can be tested and studied
further, a possible explanation for an observed phenomenon)

Note: thesis (a claim or proposition) → antithesis (equally worthy but opposite claim) →
      synthesis (a deeper understanding, higher level of truth) – a way of approaching an
      issue or problem

How is a thesis statement developed?
A Start with a broad subject—freedom of speech

B Move toward a narrower topic—banning books in schools and public libraries

C Form a critical thinking question—According to the ALA, sex and profanity are the
leading causes of book challenges by parents and school boards. Should high school
students be denied the opportunity of studying books such as Salinger’s Catcher in the
Rye or Huxley’s Brave New World?

D Push your question into a claim or proposition—High school students must be
protected by the first amendment and allowed to study books such as Salinger’s Catcher
in the Rye or Huxley’s Brave New World. Furthermore, high school teachers must also
be protected by the first amendment so they can assign books of literary merit that may
contain sexual content or profane language. What’s at stake is no less than freedom of
speech and academic freedom, protected by the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

What is a weak thesis statement?
A weak thesis statement is usually too vague or too generalized—providing little solid
ground for explanation, analysis, and critical thought—often a personal opinion rather
than a fully reasoned thought.

Weak thesis statement:
--High school students should be able to read whatever they want.
--High school teachers and students are always unfairly judged by parents and school
boards, especially when it comes to controversial books.
--Everybody, including high school students, should be able to read whatever they want
because of their right to freedom of speech.

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From the online Purdue OWL Writing Lab:

Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

1.Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates
the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.

An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.

An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with
specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a
cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to
convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

Note: If you are writing a text which does not fall under these three categories (ex. a
narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to
your reader.

2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss
in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

3. The thesis statement usually appears at the beginning or end of the first paragraph of a

4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement
to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
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Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

An analysis of the college admission process reveals two principal problems facing
counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong
extracurricular backgrounds.

The paper that follows should:

--Explain the analysis of the college admission process
--Explain the two problems facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending
class, and socializing with peers.

The paper that follows should:

Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service
projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

The paper that follows should:
Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue
community projects before entering college

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