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Thesis Statements

Ms. Watts
PRPE 108
University of Alaska Anchorage
Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

A.What is a Thesis Statement?
B.Three-Part or Multi-Level Thesis Statements
C.Thesis Statements by Category
D.Beyond Stating the Obvious: Exercises in Developing
Thesis Statements

A. What is a Thesis Statement?

1. Answers the question, “What is this paper trying to
prove to its audience?”
2.Compresses the critical point of your paper into one
3.Conveys your main argument in a nutshell.
4.Uses specific language and specific ideas.
5.Generates a multi-faceted argument.
6.Appears in your paper’s introduction.

What is NOT a Strong Thesis Statement?

NOT a statement of the inherently obvious.

 It is more dangerous to go for walks in the dark than the daytime.
NOT a vague or ambiguous statement.
 There are many events that have had an affect on me.
NOT a simple factual sentence.
 Alaska is the 49th state in the union.
NOT a statement that does NOT need any proof.
 Brad Pitt is my favorite actor.
NOT a statement that does NOT generate any
argumentation whatsoever.
 The United States is a capitalist society.
Does NOT pass the “so what” test.
 The Grand Canyon is a great vacation destination.

The “So What” Test

After writing a thesis statement, ask yourself: “So

Example: Funding sources are available for college
 (So what?)
Revision: Funding sources available for college tuition
make private universities more affordable… (So
what, and so on . . . .)

Activity: Choose the More Effective
Thesis Statement.

1. I like it when professors encourage us to talk.
2.Interaction fosters collaborative learning.
3.The most effective learning occurs when professors
combine several teaching methods, such as lecture,
discussion, and hands-on on activities.
4.A variety of approaches to teaching works best.
5.Professors should accommodate a variety of styles.

B. Three -Part or Multi-Level
Thesis Statements:
Developing your thesis statement for specificity
vOne way to develop your thesis statement is by
increasing its specificity in three parts.
v Example (non-specific): The government can do more to
combat illegal immigration.
vThree-Part Revision:
vThe government can combat illegal immigration by hiring
more border guards, building a border fence, and
developing better relations with the President of Mexico.

Three-Part Thesis Statements

Working students benefit from their dual roles, which
cultivate a mature sense of academic stewardship,
practical wisdom about finances, and an
appreciation for the value of both educational and
vocational worlds.
Collaborative learning enhanced by project-oriented
activities, problem-solving in small groups, and
frequent teacher student interaction results in more
effective retention of educational material than

Turn the Following into Specific Three-Part Thesis

There is a way to solve world hunger.
The government can assist the homeless by providing
affordable shelter.
Coping with the loss of a loved one is hard.
Choosing the right college to attend can be difficult.

C. Thesis Statement by Category:

1. Cause and Effect (If….then/Because)

 If creative expression fosters learning, then students in
all classrooms, regardless of level, can benefit from
developing creative projects.

 Because creativity is a proven benefit to learning, students
should be encouraged to develop creative projects.

C. Thesis Statement by Category:

2.Comparison and Contrast

vWhile the Bible and Greek mythology
seem to be completely different, a
closer examination reveals many
similarities in beliefs about rituals,
deities, and ancient histories.
C. Thesis Statement by Category:

vContrary to popular belief, ice cream is not
junk food because it is a good source of
calcium and milk protein.
vAlthough college tuition is expensive, various
funding sources such as scholarships and low-
interest loans can lower the cost.

C. Thesis Statement by Category:

6.Advantages and Disadvantages:
v Although ice cream is a source of calcium and milk
protein, its high sugar and saturated fat content
far outweigh any health benefits.

6.Analysis of Procedure:
v Revising the application process by adding three
steps during initial review would increase
efficiency without sacrificing thoroughness.

D. Go Beyond the Obvious

ØExercise #1 for developing Thesis Statements:

vRevise using the three-part model for specificity:

vOptimism makes you a more successful person.
D. Go Beyond the Obvious

ØExercise #2 for developing Thesis Statements:

vRevise using the If…then or Because model:

vConsumers should be careful buying products over the
D. Go Beyond the Obvious

ØExercise #3 for developing Thesis Statements:

vRevise using the Corrective Model

v The world seems to think that straight-A students have less
fun than everyone else.

D. Go Beyond the Obvious

ØExercise #4 for developing Thesis Statements:

vRevise using the Comparison and Contrast

vI will discuss Beowulf and Grendel in this paper.
D. Go Beyond the Obvious

ØExercise #5 for developing Thesis Statements:

vRevise using the Problem/Solution model

v So many high-school students fail the HSGQE.

1.A thesis statement should go beyond stating
the obvious.
2.To develop a thesis statement, ask yourself
the “so what” question until you are
3.Apply the three-part thesis model and any
combination of thesis models to enrich
your thesis statement.