thesis statement development

thesis statement development

Tip: In order to be as clear as possible in your writing:
Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the “meat” of it. Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don’t settle for three pages of just skimming the surface.

Exercise B: Continuing with your preliminary or open thesis from Exercise A, formulate a focused question and then answer that question with your tentative thesis or hypothesis.
In Kate Chopin’s book The Awakening and Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s novella The Yellow Wallpaper, the female protagonists veer from the collective mainstream of a patriarchal society because of their pronounced feelings of alienation, frustration, and emotional and creative repression within this social structure, marked by the subordination of women. Ultimately, both characters escape the narrow restraints of this early 20th century mentality either by suicide—as in The Awakening—or through insanity—as in The Yellow Wallpaper. However tragic this may appear on the surface, the implication of deliverance from their restricted environments is one of liberation and transgression from and of the dominant culture. In this way, the women’s actions are equally heroic.

Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.
Once you have a working thesis, write it down. There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you’ll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.

Weak Thesis:
The lack of funding in public schools is a major issue in the American education system.
Write your thesis statement in third person voice. Rather than addressing “I,” “we,” “you,” “my,” or “our” in your thesis, look at the larger issues that affect a greater number of participants. Think in terms like “citizens,” “students,” “artists,” “teachers,” “researchers,” etc.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

References:

http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/rwc/handouts/the-writing-process-1/invention/Developing-a-Thesis-Statement
http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis
http://libguides.seminolestate.edu/researchfoundations/thesisstatement
http://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis/
http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/thesis/

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