A thesis statement is a sentence that tells readers the main points your paper covers and in what order they appear. It is your entire paper squeezed in 1-2 sentences at the end of the introduction.
A thesis statement includes • your distinct standpoint on the subject; • a brief summary of the main arguments; • a roadmap for the paper.
FAQ on thesis statements: 1) Does every paper need a thesis statement? - Yes, no exceptions. 2) Where do I put it? - At the end of the introduction. 3) Can it be longer than 1 sentence? - No. Ok, maximum is 2 sentences. 4) Can I rewrite it if I change my mind? - Sure. Revisit your thesis statement as you work on the paper.
Formula of a thesis statement: Main claim (your specific standpoint) + Argument 1 (to be provided in paragraph 1) + Argument 2 (to be provided in paragraph 2) + Argument 3 (to be provided in paragraph 3) …
3 questions on evaluating a thesis statement: • Could somebody argue for or against it? • Does the author argue for it? • Will readers want to read more about it? If you answer YES to all the 3 questions, your thesis statement rocks! How to achieve this? Keep on reading!
6 steps to write a thesis statement: Steps Examples 1. Find a problem and think Can boys and girls be friends? Hmm… about it 2. Take a firm position I say yes! 3. Find arguments – research Umm… they can share common interests; and brainstorm the problem and the gender roles are not that rigid today; and life views matter more than gender specifics for friendships…What else? 4. Express your position in a Boys and girls can be friends. thesis statement 5. Add arguments and voila - Due to the shift in the gender roles in today’s your thesis statement is society, boys and girls can be friends, sharing ready: common interests and life values. 6. Test it with the 3 questions Yes – Yes – Yes! from the previous slide Wow, it rocks!
A thesis statement and how it relates to the rest ofthe paper A thesis statement should: • answer the questions ‘how’ and/or ‘why’; • provide the logic of the paper; • cover the entire paper. The rest of the paper should: • echo a thesis statement in every sentence; • prove that the thesis statement is correct; • repeat a rephrased thesis statement in the conclusion.
Hard to make a claim?1- 7 ready-to-use templates for thesis statements: Simply insert other words instead of X, Y and Z: 1) X is one of the most …; 2) X is an effective method of Y; 3) X has impact on Y; 4) X should be legalized (prohibited); 5) X plays an important role in Y; 6) X can significantly improve Y by… 7) An analysis of X reveals that… * Don’t forget to include the ‘because’ part!
8 - 14 ready-to-use templates: 8) Although some researchers have concluded that X…, there is much stronger evidence to the contrary that Y. 9) While X contributed to Y, Z played a key role in … 10) There are concerns that X will drastically change Y. 11) The potential benefits of using X are … 12) The differences/similarities between X and Y are…, and they deserve… 13) Though X and Y are similar in…, they are different in… 14) The debate over X is very complicated, and it can best be explained by considering Y. * Never forget to include the ‘because’ part in your thesis statement.
15– 20 ready-to-use templates: 15) The general argument made by the author in his/her work is that X… 16) Because of advances (changes) in X, Y is very different from Z. 17) X should be required to do…, in order to … 18) X marked a turning point in the history of Y. 19) Even though X claim to be…, the problem of Y still prevails in the society. 20) X has grown rapidly in this country, because it offers advantages for Y. *Sure, you won’t forget to add the ‘because’ part.
5 Groups of Never-Use Words: • Personal pronouns – I, you, we • Uncertainty qualifiers – might, maybe, perhaps • Extremism symptoms – everything, all, none, always, never • Vague formulations – some, kind of, somewhat • Obvious exaggerations – life-saving, best of the best
6 Groups of Must-Use Words: • Sources of information: studies reveal, research shows • Realistic views: many, significant, most • Characteristics: primarily, frequently, often • Clear explanations: because, thus, for, due to, since • Relationships: impact, influence, tendency, contribute to • Active verbs: demonstrate, illustrate, identify, elucidate, present, inform, reveal, show, express, justify, convey
10 Common Mistakes in thesis statements: 1) Declaration of topic: Friendship between boys and girls. 2) Questions: Can boys and girls be friends? 3) Captain Obvious: Overeating is bad for health. 4) Falling between 2 stools: Sometimes boys and girls can be friends, but sometimes they can’t. 5) Too many words – keep it brief (up to 25 words). 6) Making vows: I am going to discuss, this paper will analyze, the purpose of my paper is… 7) Random list: Argument 1; argument 2; argument 3 To be continued…
10 Common Mistakes in thesis statements(continued) 8) “I don’t care that you don’t care” – Birds can divorce. 9) Random sentence – The origin of this concept dates back to 1487. 10) Ambiguity overload – This concept may have a number of practical implications, even though this theory has certain limitations.
Best and Worst Examples - Part 1 • Declaration of topic: Weak: Nursing as a demanding profession. Strong: Nursing requires not only substantial education, but also perfect self-discipline and enhanced professional ethics. • Questions: Weak: Is study during sleep possible? Strong: The recent studies have revealed that people can learn during sleep and subconsciously modify their behavior after they wake up.
Best and Worst Examples - Part 2 • Captain Obvious: Weak: Internet can be addictive. Strong: Recent research shows that the unpredictable way in which the useful e-mails arrive can make checking for them addictive. • Falling between 2 stools: Weak: Sometimes students enjoy their studies, but sometimes they don’t. Strong: There is a direct relationship between students’ attitudes towards study and their learning outcomes.
Best and Worst Examples - Part 3 • Too many letters Weak: I am going to discuss the importance of reducing the sugar consumption in American elementary school children who consume nine times the recommended daily amount of sugar because of the prevalence of soda machines and unhealthy snacks in the school canteens. (41 words) Strong: Sugar consumption of American elementary school children should be reduced by controlling the menus of school canteens and raising children’s awareness of healthy diets. (26 words)
Best and Worst Examples - Part 4 • Making vows: Weak: I am going to write about the movie Titanic. Strong: The 1997 movie Titanic was a huge success owing to the talents of the leading actors, the film director and the original genre of epic romantic disaster movie. • Random list: Weak: This paper will discuss Titanic, James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio. Strong: see above.
Best and Worst Examples - Part 5 • “I don’t care that you don’t care” Weak: Everyone’s happiness is different. Strong: While the individual’s definition of happiness always depends on life values and experience, the concept of happiness doesn’t have a universal meaning. • Random sentence Weak: I enjoyed reading the novel. Strong: Coelho’s fresh ideas and philosophical messages conveyed in his Alchemist produced a long-lasting impression on me.
Best and Worst Examples Part 6 10) Ambiguity overload Weak: Sleep deprivation can have some negative effects on people. Strong: The study reveals that sleep deprivation can lead to difficulties concentrating and weight problems in adolescents aged 10 – 14. * Some more examples are here
Free online thesis statement generators: • Thesis generator from MPCFaculty http://www.mpcfaculty.net/molly_may/thesis_generator.html • Thesis creator from JohnMcGarvey http://johnmcgarvey.com/apworld/student/thesiscreator.html • Thesis builder from TomMarch http://www.tommarch.com/electraguide/thesis.php * Note that these thesis builders give you only standard examples, and it is always better to write a thesis statement on your own.