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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
sentence.
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


what?
Example: Funding sources are available for college
tuition.
 (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
lecture.


Turn the Following into Specific Three-Part Thesis
Statements

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)


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

vBecause:
 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:

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



C. Thesis Statement by Category:

1.
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:


v
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:


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

ØExercise #3 for developing Thesis Statements:


vRevise using the Corrective Model


v
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


v
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
v So many high-school students fail the HSGQE.
Summary


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
satisfied.
3.Apply the three-part thesis model and any
combination of thesis models to enrich
your thesis statement.