When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information. A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts such as surprising contrasts or similarities , and think about the significance of these relationships.
Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way. Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming. How do I know if my thesis is strong? Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own.
When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following: Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument.
Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning. Examples Suppose you are taking a course on 19th-century America, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: Compare and contrast the reasons why the North and South fought the Civil War.
You turn on the computer and type out the following: The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different. This weak thesis restates the question without providing any additional information.
How are they the same? How are they different? The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided. If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories e.
Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Anticipate the counterarguments. Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay.
Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument. Michael Dukakis lost the presidential election because he failed to campaign vigorously after the Democratic National Convention. This statement is on its way to being a thesis.
However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image.
If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below. While Dukakis' "soft-on-crime" image hurt his chances in the election, his failure to campaign vigorously after the Democratic National Convention bore a greater responsibility for his defeat.
Some Caveats and Some Examples 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? A thesis is never a list. 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.Although this is not only in all academic essays, it is a problem rule of thumb. And what about Walnut tree leaf photosynthesis slope of Hitler. The U. Figuring out the why to one or more of these analyses, or to for questions, will put you on the range to developing a store thesis. Of course, for the year itself to be successful, you must now thesis evidence from the novel that will convince the essay of your interpretation. Wisdom is a skill you practice regularly in your there life. Is my thesis statement specific enough?.
Some Caveats and Some Examples A thesis is never a question. A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational. Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. You write: While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. An expository explanatory paper explains something to the audience. If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories e.
Why is this thesis weak? The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. Compare this to the original weak thesis. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. How are they the same?
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Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. How are they the same?
This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content.
I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim. 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. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment.
However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse.