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How to Write a College Thesis Paper

Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

❶A one-story thesis will leave the good reader with a lingering question:

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At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons. Even though television can be educational , parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating.

First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans. Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument.

In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence—a quotation, statistic, data—that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement. Additionally, it inhibits social interaction. The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement.

Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidence—a quotation, statistic, data—that supports this point after the Assertion.

Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating. Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it's appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidence—a quotation, statistic, data—that supports your strongest point. Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don't want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.

The very best papers are built on three-story theses. Rosen and Behrens In the following examples of introductory paragraphs with three-story theses, note that every idea in the introduction builds to the thesis.

Due to the complexity of three-story theses, three-story theses often are not restricted to a single sentence. Also note the use of conjunctive adverbs to signify the relationship between ideas Common conjunctive adverbs: Yet although it initially seems that the lover's beauty will last forever, the speaker eventually reveals that only his own writing will stand the test of time.

However , these apparent discrepancies actually reveal the presence of a profound moral system, one that looks beyond the basic fact of adultery and takes into account the motivations behind it and the means by which it is carried out. Ultimately, Marie de France places a higher value on individual generosity and goodwill than on adherence to the Church's official rules of conduct.

A three-story thesis is not necessarily intuitive. Your challenge as writer is to construct an argument based on a close analysis of sources and evidence in order to persuade readers that your argument is valid. If you are successful, readers will have learned something new.

What is interesting about an idea? What is it related to? Why does it matter? Do the sources or other evidence endorse a particular viewpoint? What are the ramifications of this viewpoint? Think about relationships between ideas. Pin down the parameters of the argument. If you are interested in how different authors view a particular issue, for example, which authors or works will you examine?

And, most importantly, why does it matter that their views are different? Be guided by evidence. Read source materials multiple times. Look for patterns, connections, and themes. Is your topic more complex than you first thought?

You are not trying to create a tidy argument; your goal is to develop insight into how a text actually works, how authors think, how evidence connects, what limitations exist in other writers' ideas, and, finally, how to convey your insights to your readers. Make clear the nuances of your thinking. Show the specific logic of the relationships between ideas.

Words commonly used to link related ideas include after, although, because, despite, if, in order to, once, since, unless, until, when, and while. Common qualifiers include frequently, likely, many, most, recent, some, usually, and probably. Find someone else to help you develop your thinking.

Ask others to play devil's advocate. What are the limitations of your thinking? What are possible counter-arguments? Do you need more evidence to be convincing?

In The Republic , Plato argues that poetry often corrupts both the individual and the city. Poetry that lies or imitates seems especially pernicious to the creation and preservation of the ideal state. Consequently, poetry should relate only truth and poets should compose only narrative poetry.

For Plato, only true content and narrative form can encourage the construction and preservation of the polis. These restrictions assume, however, that poetry remains incapable of illuminating existence in a novel manner, that only philosophy can deepen our understanding of life. Plato, in this sense, establishes a hierarchy where philosophy becomes the highest vocation and poetry becomes a lowly and subservient art.

This formulation however, seems misguided and detrimentally narrow. Indeed, Stevens suggests that the aesthetic nature of poetry offers an existential perspective absent in philosophy. Poetry, in this respect, illuminates rather than corrupts, and complements rather than challenges philosophical logic. The main theological, social, and political aspects of the early Christian church and society rested on the idea and value of the individual.

While this ideal of individuality and equality seems at first liberal in essence, the early Christian church never progressed the idea past valuing the individual to valuing the individual above the common good. Where liberal individualism posits the superiority of the individual over the collective, early Christian individualism envisioned a world of individuals working towards God's common good. The early Christian church was, therefore, individualistic without being liberal, focused on the individual only as a means of glorifying God and advancing the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Claims that the American environmental movement undermines traditional democratic values are wrong. In fact, the movement emphasizes a commitment to compromise and a concern for the greater good that characterize the American democratic tradition. Critics argue that supporters of the environmental movement threaten fundamental constitutional rights.

While it is true that environmentalists often advocate the adoption of policies that may restrict individual behavior, they do so within legally sanctioned bounds, recognizing that they are but one player in the formulation of public policy. By advocating for more stringent environmental standards, supporters of the environmental movement seek to persuade the American population to look beyond individual desires and to consider the broader impact of individual decisions.

In so doing, environmentalists exhibit values consistent with the American tradition of civic mindedness, in which collective interests, rather than individual desires, represent the highest priority. Thanks also to Professor Doran Larson and the following spring writing tutors: Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Sr.

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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.

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This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Introduction Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of .

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Writing Thesis Statements 2 position on a debatable issue. In other words, when you write a thesis statement, you take a stand about something. The thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. It often reflects an opinion or judgment that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience.

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Special thanks to Professor Katherine Terrell of the Hamilton College English Department for generously providing her class handout “Creating a Three-Story Thesis,” which forms the basis for this handout. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons. Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating.