a working thesis statement

a working thesis statement

Bad: Organ donors should be financially compensated.
– Why? What happens to them that causes you to take this stance?
Good: Given the grueling surgery and lifelong changes they endure, kidney donors should be financially compensated for their act of self-sacrifice.
– There are many forms of living organ donation. As with any good thesis, you want to get as specific as possible. Now, our stance is clear and the reader will understand that we’re about to describe the grueling process of kidney donation as well as any forthcoming lifestyle changes.
It’s worth reiterating that a strong thesis statement is specific. If you find yourself using general words like “good,” then you’re not digging deep enough.

Compare the following:
Your thesis statement should be as clear and specific as possible. Normally you will continue to refine your thesis as you revise your argument(s), so your thesis will evolve and gain definition as you obtain a better sense of where your argument is taking you.

A working thesis statement
The following video offers a writing instructor’s perspective about how fundamental a thesis statement is to organizing an effective persuasive, researched essay. While he talks about many aspects of a thesis, it particularly stresses the flexibility you’re allowed while writing, revising, and revisiting a thesis many times as you build an essay.
The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill offers these questions to consider as you examine the effectiveness of a thesis statement. It’s effective strategy to revisit these questions several times throughout the writing process, to measure how well your thesis serves your project as it continues to grow and evolve.

An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. “While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline” is an effective thesis sentence that “telegraphs,” so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, “Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim.”
A thesis is never a question. Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question (“Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?”) is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.

A working thesis statement
“Gandhi’s understanding of poverty, which takes into account the spiritual side of human nature, is better than that of Marx, whose analysis is solely economic.”
This sentence contains the same claim as the previous sentence (Gandhi understands poverty better than Marx), but takes it one step further by saying exactly how Gandhi’s understanding is better than Marx’s: because Gandhi’s understanding of poverty takes into account the spiritual side of humanity, whereas Marx only accounts for the economic aspects. The writer argues that Gandhi’s understanding of poverty is more comprehensive than Marx’s because he includes the spiritual side of things. Not only is this a complete thesis (contains both a claim and support), but it’s arguable: people can disagree and, in the following paper, the writer will have to examine how Gandhi addresses the spiritual side of poverty and make it clear that Marx doesn’t.

References:

http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/thesis/
http://courses.lumenlearning.com/engcomp1-wmopen/chapter/video-working-thesis-statements/
http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis
http://writingcenter.gmu.edu/articles/7605
http://www.thoughtco.com/thesis-statement-examples-and-instruction-1857566

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