making a good thesis statement

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making a good 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.
As you can see in the thesis statement examples below, you must be very specific, summarizing points that are about to be made in your paper, and supported by specific evidence. Generally, your thesis statement can be the last line of the first paragraph in your research paper or essay.

Making a good thesis statement
Come up with a research question that you want to answer, or extract the question from your assignment prompt. In the examples given above, that question would be:
To meet the Paris targets and mitigate the effects of climate change, the US Government should immediately begin phasing out fossil fuels and investing in renewable energies; as the world’s most powerful economy, it can take a global lead in reducing carbon emissions.

Making a good thesis statement
Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.
One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:

Tips:

  • Avoid merely announcing the topic; your original and specific “angle” should be clear. In this way you will tell your reader why your take on the issue matters.
    • Original thesis: In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between fairy tales and early childhood.
    • Revised thesis: Not just empty stories for kids, fairy tales shed light on the psychology of young children.
  • Avoid making universal or pro/con judgments that oversimplify complex issues.
    • Original thesis: We must save the whales.
    • Revised thesis: Because our planet’s health may depend upon biological diversity, we should save the whales.
  • When you make a (subjective) judgment call, specify and justify your reasoning. “Just because” is not a good reason for an argument.
    • Original thesis: Socialism is the best form of government for Kenya.
    • Revised thesis: If the government takes over industry in Kenya, the industry will become more efficient.
  • Avoid merely reporting a fact. Say more than what is already proven fact. Go further with your ideas. Otherwise… why would your point matter?
    • Original thesis: Hoover’s administration was rocked by scandal.
    • Revised thesis: The many scandals of Hoover’s administration revealed basic problems with the Republican Party’s nominating process.

A thesis is never a list. “For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe” does a good job of “telegraphing” the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn’t advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.
Steps in Constructing a Thesis

References:

http://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/
http://www.easybib.com/guides/how-to-write-a-strong-thesis-statement/
http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/thesis/
http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis
http://examples.yourdictionary.com/thesis-statement-examples.html

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