Thesis Statement

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HOW TO WRITE A STRONG THESIS STATEMENT A WRITING CENTRE HANDOUT

1. UNDERSTAND THE ACADEMIC WRITING TASK

You can begin to formulate a good thesis statement only after you have got a solid grasp of the purpose of the assignment. If you’re asked to write a paper in response to a specific assignment question, then your first task is make sure that you clearly understand the academic writing task. Determine which of the following critical thinking skills you are primarily being asked to apply to your object(s) of study: • • • • • • analysis comparison evaluation argumentation interpretation reflection

Your thesis statement, then, should take a form that reflects the goal of the writing task.

2. BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF
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Remember that a tentative thesis statement is not something set in stone; rather, it is something meant to help you focus your analysis and research so that the writing task becomes manageable. You should not attempt to start collecting and analyzing evidence until you have an idea of the main argument you would like make in your paper. Generating the thesis statement, then, can be thought of as a recursive process. In the early stages of planning and writing, the tentative thesis helps you focus on the evidence in a certain way, but as you get further along in the writing process the analysis of evidence should also help you clarify the thesis statement (Rosenwasser et al. 132). The writers of Writing Analytically recommend that you ask yourself the following questions as you go through the process of generating a main claim for your essay:

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What kinds of patterns or implications emerge when I look closely at my evidence?

• • •

What kind of evidence and support do I need to support my tentative thesis? What kind of evidence cannot be adequately accounted for by my tentative thesis? How can I explain the mismatches between my thesis statement and my selected evidence?



How can I rewrite my thesis statement in order to accommodate the evidence that doesn’t fit?

This practice of constantly readjusting the thesis statement to match the evidence and analysis will ultimately lead you to write a polished and defensible thesis statement in your final

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