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Published on January 30, 2008

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Thesis statements:  Thesis statements Susan Hellstrom EPD 155 Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Begin writing rough draft with working thesis. Formulate final thesis only after you have completed (or nearly completed) writing. Photo from Lexington College Thesis statement/claim:  Thesis statement/claim Is your “point of view” about your subject (DiYanni and Hoy, 2001, p. 100) Photo by Michael Rothbart, 2002 Thesis statement/claim:  Thesis statement/claim Is really your “conclusion” about what the evidence means or what action should be taken (DiYanni and Hoy, 2001, p. 100) Thesis statement/claim:  Thesis statement/claim Is the statement you will defend in the rest of your essay (DiYanni and Hoy, 2001, p. 100) Don’t worry if ...:  Don’t worry if ... … you find yourself wanting to change sides on an issue. That can happen after you do additional research. It’s a sign that you’re flexible and that you’re learning something. Photo from Connecticut College A sturdy thesis is:  A sturdy thesis is Open to debate Open to evidence and counter-evidence Clearly defined Not based simply on personal opinions or feelings (Hult & Huckin, 2001) Can you deliver?:  Can you deliver? Make sure your evidence supports your thesis. In other words, don’t make a claim (or a promise to your reader) that you can’t deliver. Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Narrow your thesis statement. Too broad: Newspapers cater to the taste of the American public. Better: The success of USA Today indicates that people want newspapers that are easy to read and entertaining. (Nadell, Langan, McMeniman, 1996, p. 33) Thesis statements with “however”:  Thesis statements with “however” Or similar words But Nevertheless, nonetheless Instead Consequently Sometimes show tension, intellectual risk Sometimes refute benefits of current system Sample “however” thesis (informative not argumentative):  Sample “however” thesis (informative not argumentative) “Genetically engineered crops can marshal a plant’s natural defenses against weeds and viruses and will flourish with only a minimal application of chemical fertilizer; however, such biotechnology could threaten the biosphere.” (Van Alstyne & Tritt, 2002, p. 547) Sample “however” argumentative thesis:  Sample “however” argumentative thesis “Genetically engineered crops can marshal a plant’s natural defenses against weeds and viruses and will flourish with only a minimal application of chemical fertilizer; however, such biotechnology could threaten the biosphere” and therefore should not be used in U.S. farms. (Van Alstyne & Tritt, 2002, p. 547) Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Be specific, not vague. news.bbc.co.uk/media/images Poor: Today’s shopping malls are too impersonal. Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Be specific, not vague. news.bbc.co.uk/media/images Better: Shoppers today do not go to the malls in search of community, as shoppers used to do, but rather to buy in a predictable, safe, and anonymous environment. (Rosen and Behrens, 1997, p. 602.) Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Indicate paper’s structure. Two defects in the design of the Titanic contributed to her sinking. Her steering was sluggish and unresponsive, even for a ship of her immense size; [and] her traverse bulkheads, which should have made her virtually unsinkable, did not extend all the way up to her deck. (Winkler and McCuen, 1989, p. 53) www.educationplanet.com What is a traverse bulkhead?:  What is a traverse bulkhead? Horizontal wall that divides a ship into compartments Prevents spread of leaks or fire Drawing from JMS Naval Architects & Salvage Engineers Thesis statement (policy):  Thesis statement (policy) Can be more than 1 sentence Thesis: Flextime scheduling, which has proved its effectiveness at the Library of Congress, should be introduced on a trial basis at the main branch of the Montgomery County Public Library. By offering flexible work hours, the library can boost employee morale, cut down on absenteeism, and expand its hours of operation. (Student David Warren, as quoted in Hacker, 1998, p. 34) Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) An announcement of paper’s intent is not same as thesis statement. Announcement: My essay will discuss whether a student pub should exist on campus. Thesis: The college should not allow a student pub on campus. (Nadell, Langan, McMeniman, 1996, p. 32) Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Don’t base thesis only on your opinion or values The college should not allow a student pub on campus because it would be morally wrong. Photo by Jeff Miller, 2000 Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Don’t word your thesis as a question. It should be the answer. Poor: Does cigarette smoking hurt the body? Better: Cigarette smoking harms the body by constricting the blood vessels, accelerating the heartbeat, paralyzing the cilia in the bronchial tubes, and activating gastric strictures in the stomach. (in Winkler and McCuen, 1989) ? Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Almost always, thesis statement follows paper’s introduction Especially in technical and business writing, readers should not have to search to find your main point Thesis statement (claim):  Thesis statement (claim) Rarely, it may come later If you need to provide background info before it can be understood Or if your audience is likely to be hostile or strongly against your side at first Put this thesis later in essay?:  Put this thesis later in essay? “Exposure to a cellular phone, against or very near to the head, for an hour or more per day, can be hazardous to human health.” (Former EPD 155 student thesis, Fall 1999) Should be most ambitious:  Should be most ambitious “Wilderness camping teaches that we must preserve what is brutal in nature, even at the expense of public safety.” (Rosen & Behrens, 2003, p. 81) Photo: Univ. of Saskatchewan Most ambitious:  Most ambitious Similar idea, more specific: Even though campers in Yellowstone National Park may be attacked by wolves, the government should allow wolves to populate naturally and to roam freely throughout the park. Photo: Evergreen State College Slide26:  Writing expert Diana Hacker says: “You feel that a thesis sentence will not be significant unless it makes a grand, sweeping statement about life. But you lack the evidence to back up such a sweeping statement.” What to do? “Aim to do less, and you will accomplish more.” (1998, p. 37) Questions?:  Questions? Agenda:  Agenda Midterm grades Rough draft guidelines 2 lessons learned from presentations Nutshell worksheet Thesis statement slides

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