Monthly Archives: January 2016

Writing a Thesis Statement

Why You need a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organise and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument


Making (Thesis Statement  l  Topic given)

  • Almost all assignments can be reduced to a single question.
  • Distill the assignment into the specific question.
  • Compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?

A: The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are…
A: Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve…


Making (Thesis Statement  l  Topic NOT given)

  • Your thesis statement needs to answer a question about the issue you would like to explore.

<Good Thesis Statement Conditions>

  • take on a subject on which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

–> “Sugar Consumption”   –   Very General, Just a Subject

–> “Reducing sugar consumption of elementary school children”
+) Narrowed down the topic + raised a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
-) BUT the reader does NOT know your conclusions (Why?, So What?, How?)

–> “More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children”
+) Shows your position
-) “more attention” & “food and beverage” is VAGUE

–> “Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar”
+) more specific than “food and beverage” and “more attention”
-) No stance

“Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives”

<Always Think of the Counter Arguments>

Possible Parties for Counter Arguments: Soft Drinks Companies

Possible Arguments: The main source of the children’s sugar intake is NOT from the soft drinks but rather from the instant food like McDonalds

Consider the counter arguments and try to strengthen your idea.


Distinguishing Strong Thesis Statements

  • Takes Stance  (If everyone agrees -> NOT a Thesis Statement)
    Weak: “There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement”
    Strong: “Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.” 
  • Justifying Discussing
    Weak: “My family is an extended family”  —-  just an observation
    Strong: “While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.” 
  • Express One Main Idea
    Weak: “Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.”   —-  readers can be confused
    Strong: “Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.”  —- Linked two ideas
  • Specific
    Weak: “World hunger has many causes and effects”
    Strong: “Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable”




Data Retrieved from a print from “Wells Library Information Commons Indiana University” on 08 / 11 /11