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U.S. History | Mr. Gappa: How to Write a Thesis Statement

Thesis Statements

CRITERIA FOR GOOD THESIS STATEMENTS

  1. ARGUABLE—Reasonable people could disagree
  2. SUPPORTABLE—Can be backed up with evidence, reasons
  3. SPECIFIC—Not vague, not general, not too broad
  4. MAPS OUT THE PAPER—Gives the reader a guide to the organization of the argument

Rule One: Make an Assertion
A thesis statement makes an assertion; it is not a simple statement or observation.

Fact or observation: More people are attending community colleges.

Thesis: Community colleges are attracting more students because they offer job training programs as well as academic courses of study.

 

Rule Two: Take a Stand - What's Your Opinion?
A thesis takes a stand; it does not make an announcement.

Announcement: The thesis of this paper is the difficulty of solving the environmental problems of the Indian River Lagoon.

Thesis: Solving the environmental problems of the Indian River Lagoon will prove more difficult than many people believe.

 

Rule Three: It's a MAIN IDEA
A thesis is a main idea, not a title.

Title: The effect of the Internet on society.

Thesis: Continuing advances in the Internet are having a great impact upon communication in modern society.

 

Rule Four: Narrows Your Topic
A thesis statement narrows the topic.

Broad: The American automobile industry has many problems.

Narrow: The primary problem facing the American automobile industry is competition from foreign auto makers.

 

Rule Five: It's Specific
A thesis statement is specific.

Vague: John D. MacDonald’s stories are very good.

Specific: John D. MacDonald’s stories advanced the thriller genre by employing intelligent dialog, introducing environmental and economic concerns, and delving into moral issues.