Thesis Statements

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All right welcome back.

I’m very excited about today’s topic because it is one of if not the most important part of good college

level writing and that is thesis statements so if promises before today we’re going to talk in a lot

more detail about thesis statements that we’re going to give you some strategies and some tips of how

to formulate a good thesis.

Really this is the key.

The most important part of your paper.

So let’s begin by talking about the purposes of a thesis.

A good thesis statement fulfills two purposes.

First it clearly states the focus of your paper and second provides a framework for the rest of the


The biggest tip I can possibly give you is to keep your thesis narrow.

In other words recognize that your paper no matter how long your paper is can only cover so much.

In other words you’re not going to be able to write a paper on American history.

OK that topic is way too broad to fit even within a good book or a single book.

You could however write a very good paper about the Emancipation Proclamation.


So we need to keep it narrow.

You could even narrow that down further to the process of writing the Mansome patient proclamation and

that even further so you it more and more and more narrow.

And the best thesis or the best tip I can give you right off the bat is the more narrow the better.


So good thesis also shows the limit of the material material you plan to cover.

In other words it recognizes that there is a very large context and lots and lots of materials that

you could be covering but you’ve chosen to focus or to narrow your topic down to something very specific

a specific thesis or a narrow thesis will set you up to write a very detailed and a very solid paper.

So when we talk about thesis statements especially at the college level a word that you’re going to

hear over and over and over again is the word argument.

And no we don’t mean what you get in with your parents or with your significant other.

An argument is your position or your findings or your claims on a specific topic.


So is it something that sets academic writing or college writing apart from other types of writing.

Is that college writing is meant to add new insights to any given field or subject.

So it’s not about proving how much you know.

It’s not about summarizing what other people know.

It’s about adding a new insight or putting your knowledge and your collected knowledge of others into

action to do something new.

So what I mean by an argument is that when we write an argumentative paper we write something that supports

and explains a certain claim case or a thesis statement puts that claim out there and announces our

claim and an argument supports and explains that claim.

So let’s give you some examples some really basics examples of an argumentative thesis statement number

one soccer is the world’s greatest sport.


Why is this argumentative.

Because lots of people in the world although they don’t know what they’re talking about of course lots

of people in the world claim that soccer is not the world’s greatest sport.

So there can be a debate an argument or a thesis needs to invite debate it needs to invite counter arguments.

The problem with this one though is although denounces the claim it does not in any way set up the framework

of your paper case so for now this is a very very general very broad claim.

Let’s just take it one step further.

Number two because the World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world.

Soccer is the world’s greatest sport.


So this one’s getting a little bit closer to it to authorities.

It’s giving at least one example of why you claim or why I’m claiming that soccer is the world’s greatest


So it’s announcing here the focus as the World Cup being proof of soccer’s amazing reception throughout

the world.

But this still falls short.

So let’s turn to number three which again is not perfect by any means but it shows you the development

of a thesis.

So we have although baseball continues to gain popularity internationally soccer remains the most played

viewed and funded sport in the world.

And here we get to talk about how to announce a claim and to set up the framework of the paper.

So if you see in this third example we still have the initial claim that soccer is the greatest sport

in the world.

However we also signal to counter argument.

So although baseball continues to gain popularity internationally that signals that there is a counter

argument about baseball and probably other sports as well.

And it also gives us three categories to set up the framework of the paper categories being the most

played the most viewed and the most funded sport in the world.

So have played viewed and funded.

Again we could revise and revise and revise to make this thesis even more narrow and even more concrete.

However this is a really good starting thesis for for any college level paper.

All right we announced the counterargument we give our our claim and we set up the framework by providing

categories played viewed funded that we will go ahead and address throughout the body of our paper.

So let’s get this dig a little bit deeper.

How do we how do we create an argumentative thesis.

So we’re going to do the same thing that we just did with our soccer argument by returning to our initial


You remember our assignment a critical response to the mandatory national curriculum statement.

So if you go back to our very very beginning we had no it’s not.

Not every student is the same.

Not every student has the same interests or goals or reasons for going to school.

A mandatory national curriculum stunts the potential growth of some while not addressing the learning

difficulties of others.

This is a terrible idea.

So remember we said our very basic thesis that we took out of our pre-writing exercise was no it’s not

or this is a terrible idea.

Those are our thesis statements on the very fundamental level.

So let’s revise that a little bit.

Our first revision could be a mandatory national curriculum is a bad idea because it keeps all students

at the same level.


So here again we have our claim a mandatory national curriculum is a bad idea and we have our reasoning

because it keeps all students at the same level.

So this this fulfills to some degree the purposes of a thesis that announces the claim and it supports

that claim but we’re still not setting up the framework for our paper.

So let’s do another revision Remine remembering that we need to announce the claim and set up the framework

of the paper in a concise way.

So our final revision reads although a mandatory national curriculum has proven to increase national

test score averages.

It has proven unable to address the needs awakened interest and invite innovation in the nation’s individual


So like our previous soccer argument here I began with although I will talk about this in a minute these

key thesis typed words but I start with a counter argument.

One of the really big counter arguments could be that national test score averages are rising ever since

a national curriculum has been put in place.

However the framework of our paper gives some of the categories that we’re going to talk about to support

our claim that this is not a good idea.

So we have as proven unable to address the needs so that’s category number one unable to address the

needs awaken interest category number two and invite innovation category.

Number three in the nation’s individual students.

K so this is a much more subtle way of saying no it’s not in a very academic way that announces our

claim while also providing the framework for our paper.

And again here we don’t have to be so detailed and talk about every little evidence we’re going to give.

Instead we categories that our evidence will fit into that will address our claim or support our claim.

Let me give you a key strategy that like I just promised.

Key terms for thesis writing a key strategy.

And believe me professors will never think this is too repetitive.

It’s the Although actually construction OK.

So I mean and you’ve seen this in the in the two examples we’ve done so far and easy effective way to

make sure your thesis is stating an argument is to begin with.

Although because although means we’re going to put forth a counter argument that our claim will then

work against.


So although somebody or many people say one thing there’s actually a lot of evidence that proves a new

claim perspective and so on.

Again it’s a basic strategy of thesis writing but one that if students if you will adopt will really

set up your argument clearly and will lead to a nicely written paper.

Although state the counter-argument actually and then you provide the categories of your claim categories

that you’ll use to support your claim.

And no you don’t actually need to write actually as you saw in my examples before I never used the word.

Actually I simply stated those categories and the claim.

OK so we could talk for hours and hours about these statements.

The best way to do it though is to simply start with although orzo or other key terms that’s the state

some type of contrast or difference although so-and-so thinks this although this group of people say

this although these scientists have found this.

And then you state the categories of your new claim your new findings your new reaction and so on and

that’s it.

If you follow the simple strategy you really will come up with some very good thesis statements.

So what I would suggest is to try try to write down a thesis statement or a couple and feel free to

send them to me.

I would love to give you a really quick critique kind of thesis statement or two.

But remember if you have time never write a thesis statement just once a thesis statement just like

your paper because a thesis statement is the most important component of good writing at the college


Make sure that you revise revise revise until you’re saying exactly what your paper is trying to argue.

All right that’s it for today.

See you next time.

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