Writing Thesis Statements
A thesis is a concise statement of your argument, usually written in one sentence. It must be more than simply a restatement of the topic you are addressing-?it should let the reader know about the conclusions you have reached in the process of your reading and research.
As Mary Lynn Removal writes, “A thesis is not a statement of fact, a question, or an opinion, although it is sometimes confused with all these things. Neither is a thesis the same as the topic…. A thesis informs the reader about the conclusions you have reached..
..As a result, the thesis is the central point to which all the information in the paper relates. “l For that reason, it should always be written before the rest Of the paper because it will set the tone for the rest Of the work. Write your working thesis sentence (a working thesis is subject to some tweaking) and put it in bold italics in the header of your paper drafts. This way you can easily refer back to it without toggling through several pages (of course, change the formatting back to normal before you submit it to your professor).For a writer in the drafting stages, the thesis establishes the focus of the paper.
This helps you decide which information to include and which information to exclude. Essentially, a thesis “is a road map for the paper. “2 For the reader, the thesis anticipates the author’s discussion, sets the tone Of the paper, and illustrates exactly what you are trying to prove. Thesis statements are central to argumentative and persuasive essays. First, you must figure out the goal of the assignment and if there is a particular question your professor expects you to address in your essay.Knowing the goal of the assignment is essential. Then, “before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for Seibel relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships.
“3 A large part of this preparation involved taking notes on the source(s) you are using in your essay and brainstorming. This is a compelling thesis statement from a first-year student whose paper was a detailed primary source analysis.One of the strengths of this thesis is that she did more than say, “This paper will discuss Richard Legion’s account of slavery in Barbados. ” That sentence simply explains what her topic is-?not what she thinks about it. The paper title should provide the subject Of your paper, while your thesis sentence should summarize what you think about this particular primary document or secondary source. Also, in history papers you should not use first person pronouns (e. G.
L, me, my, etc. ) in your thesis (or elsewhere in the essay for that matter).This is her introduction, with her thesis in italics (her wording has not been altered): In 1 673, Richard Logon wrote a description of his experiences in Barbados and his assumptions of what he thought Africans were like and the African slave trade. This account was titled “A West Indian Planter Reflects Slavery in Barbados. ” Legion’s narrative was significant because it demonstrated how the white population of Barbados viewed slaves, and it also gave a personal view of what the Africans went through on the slave trade and the Middle Passage.Here is another example. This student’s paper was on several primary documents giving first-hand accounts of the Boston Massacre, which took place in 1770.
He joined two full clauses with a semicolon, which kept his thesis to one sentence (his thesis has not been altered): Although it was wrong for British troops to shoot into the mob, the rioters’ raucous behavior as partly to blame for the five deaths that occurred; thus the Boston Massacre was the inevitable result of tension and conflict building up between British troops and colonists.As you can see, he took a position on who was to blame for the massacre, and he gives a reason for why the massacre happened in the first place. Most importantly, he does more than just tell me the paper topic! Hopefully these two examples have demonstrated the distinctions between a good thesis and a weak one. Scholarly works generally do not have the thesis at the end of the first arcograph, but for students this is the best place to put it. It is very important to give your thesis at the end of your introduction; otherwise the reader (namely me! Has to search for your argument, wondering which sentence it is, instead of having it jump right off the page. Part of the challenge of writing a thesis is trying to condense your argument into one sentence. This is the preferred format for undergraduate papers.
Try to keep your thesis to one, longer sentence joined by a semicolon. However, sometimes it is necessary to use two sentences to avoid writing one, very long, convoluted thesis sentence. When in doubt, check with your professor.The goal of a conclusion is to restate your argument (I. E. Your thesis), summarize the main points of your paper, and most importantly, draw larger conclusions and discuss historical significances. Your conclusion, therefore, serves a different purpose than an introduction, since it ties up any loose ends.
However, part of tying up loose ends will involve bringing the reader full circle by re-emphasizing your argument. So, simply put, you need to restate your thesis.