Potential Thesis Statements

Better Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement?  

A thesis statement is the central claim that the author promises to defend in his or her paper.

 

Why do I need a thesis statement?  

A thesis statement tells the reader where the paper is headed and why s/he should bother going there. It serves to engage the reader’s interest and motivate her or him  to read on. From the writer’s perspective, a thesis statement brings her central claim into focus so that it becomes obvious how to build the rest of the paper. A thesis statement, if it is a good one, helps  the writer decide what arguments and evidence are necessary to make her point.  In a sense, the thesis statement functions as the conscience of a paper; it helps the writer recognize what belongs in the paper and what does not, depending upon the specific promise it makes to the reader.

 

 

How do I come up with a thesis statement?  

All formal papers and essays have a point. You can have some ideas on a topic, or about an issue, but until you distill what you have drawn a conclusion from your research and reflection and captured in it your thesis statement, your formal writing will lack direction and focus. To arrive at a working thesis statement, try to state out loud or write in a single sentence the most important  conclusion you have come to from your research. Here are some examples of simple claims you could make after reading and reflecting in preparation for writing your paper:

 

  • Politicians should use language responsibly if they wish to govern after the campaign.
  • The face plays an important role in human communication.
  • Migrating Atlantic seabirds need more protection along their migration paths.

 

Sentences like these, each of which makes a claim, are adequate as “working thesis statements”. As you write, research, arrange, and think through other supporting ideas in your paper, you should be moved to refine your working thesis statement to 1) narrow it, 2) make it more consequential or controversial, or 3) put it in a specific context. With more research and thought, we might revise A.-C. above as follows:

 

  • The speed, reach, and permanence of mass media today can threaten a candidate’s ability to govern once elected.
  • Although poets have always noted the role of the face in human communication, facial expression has lately become the subject of intense scientific scrutiny, with the potential for profound social consequences. 
  • Offshore wind farms, chemical pollution from industrialized livestock facilities, new coastal housing developments pose a triple threat to millions of migrating seabirds who have made their way along the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. for millennia. 

 

These revised thesis statements make specific promises to the reader. Can you predict what kinds of evidence or support a writer might include in his or her essay based on one of these thesis statements?

A good thesis statement gives you room to develop your ideas as you wish, but within the boundaries imposed by your knowledge, time, and page limits. We use the word “narrow” to describe a good thesis statement but we don’t mean “narrow-minded” or “stingy”. Instead, a narrow thesis statement is focused and fits the size and scope of your paper.  When everything in your paper is selected to support or explore your thesis statement, then you are enjoying the benefits of a good thesis statement.

Here is a worksheet to help you come up with and refine a good thesis statement.

 

Thesis Statement Worksheet

 

What is your topic (the area of study for this paper)?

What background information does the reader need to know before you state your thesis?

What is your working thesis statement?

 

Test your thesis statement. Does your thesis statement:

 

  • Make a claim that a reader can agree or disagree with?
  • Reflect knowledge of the source material?
  • Pick out an idea that can be defended in the space allowed?
  • Limit the kinds of evidence you can use to defend it?

 

What evidence, examples, or arguments will you use to support the working thesis?

Now that you have thought ahead about your evidence, can you refine your thesis statement to focus on a particular problem and context? (This is where the originality of your claim comes in.)

 

Strong and Weak Thesis Statements Illustrated

Shakespeare was the world’s greatest playwright.

trite, not defensible

The last scene in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” showcases Shakespeare’s ability to manipulate subtle linguistic differences among his characters for comic effect.

intriguing, has an edge

 

This essay will show that the North American Free Trade agreement was a disaster.

emotional, vague

Neither neo-protectionism nor post-industrial theory explains the downswing of the Canadian furniture industry in 1988-1994. Data on productivity and profits, however, can be closely correlated with provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement that took effect in the same period.

gives context, reflects research, shows intent

 

In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal. This paper will describe the history of  euthanasia and give case studies.

doesn’t reveal a central claim or focus

Recent cases show that Dutch law on euthanasia has encountered difficulty  with issues involving technological interventions and unconscious patients.

focused, promisesfacts and analysis

The occurrence of measles in medical settings is higher than nosocomial infections, rubella, pertussis, influenza, and nosocomial hepatitis B according to a survey of hospital records.

distracting detail, hard to follow, no context

 

In recent years, transmission of measles in hospitals has been described only rarely. New data suggest that the spread of measles in hospitals is more frequent than previously recognized.                                        

shows purpose andcontext, promises new information of consequence

 

 

 

Myths about thesis statements
  •  A thesis statement is the topic of a paper or what the paper is ‘about.’

 If a reader knows that your paper is about migrating birds, she still doesn’t know what your point is. Only a thesis statement can tell the reader that. A topic merely names the field or subject area of your paper; it doesn’t propose anything. Topics are identified in other sentences that give background information that usually lead up to the thesis statement. Compare the topic sentence below with the thesis statement that follows it:

Topic sentenceThere are few people totally unfamiliar with bingo—that game of chance in which numbers, called at random, are plotted on cards to form patterns and to win prizes.

Thesis statement: In order to understand bingo as a cultural phenomenon it should be studied not as a cultural ‘thing’ but as behavior compatible with a patterned way of life.

 

  •  Some writers put their thesis statement at the end of their paper. 

This myth confuses the concluding section of a paper with the intellectual conclusion a writer must reach in order to begin writing a paper in earnest. Since a good thesis statement is the result of research, reflection, and, sometimes, a draft or two of the entire paper, it might seem that it ought to come at the end of one’s essay. But, in academic writing, what is the outcome of thinking and writing for the writer is best presented as the starting point for the reader. Many writers restate their thesis statement/hypothesis in the concluding section of their papers but few choose to delay revealing their central claim until after they have argued in favor of it

 

  • There are strict rules about the form of a thesis statement. 

You can learn to write better thesis statements by practicing with specific forms, e.g. one where a premise (“If term limits were adopted in today…”) precedes a conclusion (“we would lose valuable legislative experience.”). Yet if you grasp the function of a thesis statement, many forms are possible. It may take the form of a supported assertion as in “I agree with the author because…” or it can direct the reader’s attention to a scientific or philosophical issue as in “Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences has applications in the kindergarten classroom for..” or “The relationship between body and soul remains a central issue in…” Short pithy thesis statements are also possible as in “Television kills”—a claim, to be sure, but one which needs elaboration in nearby sentences to correctly direct the reader’s focus.  

 

  • A thesis statement is just your opinion. 

While a thesis statement does present the reader with a claim, it should go well beyond a simple assertion that anyone can make without detailed information about the topic. Statements such as People are too lazy to solve the environmental crisis we face or Today’s educators need to know how to deal with students who don’t speak English don’t convey that the writer has researched his topic and come away with something new or non-obvious to say. A thesis statement offers an informed opinion that the writer is prepared to support with facts, arguments, analysis, and research-based evidence. It might be helpful to remember that a thesis statement takes a ‘point of view’ which the paper develops so that the reader can decide for himself on the issue.

Resources for Learning


What does a good thesis statement look like?
There is one big tip on writing a good essay almost every article on the web gives you. It’s to come up with a clear and specific thesis statement.
But how one does it? You need to understand what is the main idea of your paper and how to communicate it in a comprehensive and concise way. Here are some of the thesis statement examples to help you make this task less problematic.

Thesis statement formula

As you can see, there is no universal thesis statement formula as every type of a writing assignment requires a different approach. In some cases, you will have to include counterarguments, and in others presenting solely your point of view will suffice. Here are a couple of examples:

While there is a common belief that ……., a closer examination proves that …….
Despite the ……., the recent facts show that ……
The reason for is …… and as a result …….

Contents:

 

Argumentative Essay

    1. Endorsement of child labor by international companies should not be supported.
      Consumers should not buy items from the countries that endorse child labor because this kind of financial approval encourages big corporations to increase the production, the exhaustion of a child’s body can lead to severe health problems, and the hard work deprives children of their childhood.
    2. The morality of atheists and theists.
      Even though atheists do not have an instruction of good behavior provided by the superior beings, they are not less moral than theists. They have their own moral compass and laws established by society to differentiate good deeds from the bad ones.
    3. Testing drugs on animals is the sacrifice we have to make.
      The greatest value we have is a human life. If testing a new drug on a cute little rabbit could result in saving your mother or father from a terminal illness, then this is the sacrifice we need to make. Animal testing can lead to our healthier future, less incurable diseases, and more saved lives.
    4. Getting a university diploma is necessary.
      Even though there are some examples of successful people without a college degree, everybody should go through this stage of self-development. The years in college give you knowledge, improve your soft skills, and connect you with other bright people who can help you get to the top in the future.
    5. Personal information on the web should have a legislative basis.
      Even though we can’t imagine our life without social media, we have to be careful about the information we provide as it can be used for research reasons. There should be specific laws about the availability of big data and who can use it because it will be easy to manipulate people’s minds, gather the personal information without permission and use it for someone’s benefits.
    6. Landing on the Moon is a fake.
      Despite the presence of a documentary video of landing on the Moon, it should be recognized as the biggest fraud. The details of the video and the fact that we still have not made a come back there after more than 40 years indicate that it could not be filmed on the Moon surface.
    7. Parents monitoring their children internet use is the right thing.
      While there is a lot of useful and educational information on the internet, parents should regulate the internet use of their children. Children get distracted, spend more time on harmful web sites, and avoid social interaction.
    8. Money as a motivation for good grades is an option.
      The approach of encouraging the children to get good grades by paying them can be a model of the real world situation. If you work hard and get good results, you will get paid accordingly. This way of encouragement is acceptable and can be used by parents.
    9. The line between exaggeration and lies in advertising.
      There are not enough regulatory norms to make the modern advertisement less deceiving. The line between exaggeration and lies is not clear and the products advertised turn often don’t meet the customers’ expectations. If we introduce more rigid rules to advertising, there will be less disappointed customers.
    10. Space missions should not be a priority.
      We spend billions of dollars on developing the strategies of Mars colonization while there are millions of people suffering from famine here, on our planet. It would be more beneficial to spend more on saving people in Africa from starvation and water shortages than sending someone to a distant planet.
    11. Unfair salary rates of doctors.
      In the world where human life is the biggest value, doctors should get the highest salary rates, not actors and singers. They save lives, deprive us of physical pain, and have to spend years of studying and practicing to be able to do that.
    12. Euthanasia should be legalized.
      Euthanasia should be recognized as one of the possible ways of ending a person’s life. The right of life is given to every person and we are free to take decisions we consider to be right.
    13. Homeschooling is effective.
      Homeschooling is an effective way of educating children as it gives an opportunity to focus on personal strength and weaknesses, make emphasis on the particular subjects a child has an interest in, and adapt the studying approach to the most convenient for a child.
    14. Diets are just waste of time.
      Multiple cases show that all the diets have a short-term effect on the body. Diets are ineffective because people start gaining weight once they stop and the organism goes through an unnecessary stress.
    15. The production of cigarettes should decrease by 90%.
      The production of cigarettes should decrease by 90% so that with time, the harmful habit could disappear. A significant decrease in the production of tobacco products will lead to the minimization of demand on it as the price will get higher, the supply will decrease and people will not be able to buy it.
    16. Reverse discrimination at the workplace is a problem.
      The fear of being punished for the discrimination of ethnical minorities at the workplace leads to the discrimination of the rest of the population. There should be a law that balances out this inequality.
    17. Redistribution of money spent on the space programs is needed.
      The government should not spend money on the search for new exoplanets as it has no practical value for people on Earth. Instead, they should focus on asteroid mining projects to be able to get the vital resources after they are all used on our planet and survive.
    18. Plastic surgeries should not be allowed to everyone.
      Even though plastic surgeries are aesthetically justified, they do not solve the psychological problems of desire to change one’s appearance. They should be allowed only in severe cases because they give people the fake satisfaction, can cause an addiction, and support the objectification of one’s image.
    19. Video games advocating violence should be banned.
      Video games featuring violent episodes should be banned as they lead to violence at schools, damage the mentality of minds, and create the perverted image of reality.
    20. Abortions should be legal.
      The legalization of abortions should be legalized as women should have the freedom to make decisions regarding their bodies and there are cases when there could be no other solution to the problem.

 

Personal Reflection

    1. Studying abroad.
      Although the idea of studying abroad might sound costly, the experience one will get from the interaction with another culture and different approach to teaching is worth it.
    2. Marriage at a young age.
      There is nothing good about getting married at a young age except for it being romantic. People’s personalities change dramatically between 20 and 30 years old and young marriages are almost never a good idea.
    3. Getting a degree.
      Higher education is no longer a requirement for getting the dream job. Online short-term courses can give you the necessary theoretical information.
    4. Women choosing not to have children.
      There is nothing scandalous about a woman who chooses not to have children and our society has to understand that. It is her time and body that are at stake but not someone’s beliefs.
    5. Modern art.
      Modern art becomes more and more meaningless as almost every creative project has a goal of provoking negative emotions.
    6. National identity.
      We will see more and more regions demanding independence in the upcoming years because the question of national identity has become extremely the top of the agenda in Europe.
    7. AIDS.
      There is an urgent need of educating people about AIDS as there are many countries even in Europe where the information about this disease is inaccurate and unspecific.
    8. Protecting animals.
      Every civilized country should ban circuses that use animals for their shows. This kind of entertainment is not worth the sufferings those animals go through.
    9. Vegetarianism.
      Becoming a vegetarian is a new stage of the human development as you stop being an animal and make a conscious choice of not eating meat for the sake of other animals just like you.
    10. Suicide.
      Choosing death instead of life is a selfish deed by which you take the joy of your life not from yourself but from the people who love you.

 

 

Research Paper

    1. Plants in the developing countries.
      International companies having their factories in the developing countries provide thousands of people with work and stable income. The question of ethics should not stand in the way of helping those people to survive.
    2. 6 hour work day
      The U.S. should introduce a 6 hour work day for office workers to reduce sick-leave and increase the motivation.
    3. The importance of exams.
      Exams are not an effective way of assessing students’ knowledge. There should be an alternative to measuring the abilities while exams will be banned.
    4. School uniforms.
      School uniforms work perfectly for erasing the difference of families’ income levels and can always be individualized by the students to express their creativity.
    5. Space debris.
      Space debris is a serious threat to our planet and there should be more information and publicity on the topic.
    6. Personal information.
      The federal government should not have access to the personal information we state online and should not be able to use it.
    7. Food at school cafeterias
      The food at school cafeterias is one of the main reason of children’s obesity in the U.S. the government should introduce legal regulations regarding this issue.
    8. Maternity leave
      The period of paid maternity leave should increase up to 2 years. A woman should be able to get a salary from the government during this time while staying with children at home.
    9. Harmful ads.
      The ads of alcohol and cigarettes should be banned as they advocate the unhealthy way of life.
    10. Beauty contests.
      Beauty contests do not have any value for the society and should be eliminated from the lives of civilized societies.

 

Comparative Essay

    1. Plato and Socrates.
      While the two Greek philosophers had their differences in understanding the world around us, they both were the founders of Western philosophy and made a huge impact on philosophy as we know it today.
    2. Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
      The similarities between the two dictators are striking and they need a thorough investigation to understand the specific reasons for their horrid behavior.
    3. Judaism and Christianity.
      Although they bear some similarities, the differences between Judaism and Christianity are remarkable and cause massive disputes until today.
    4. Online and on-campus studies.
      While online classes provide students with more flexibility, they require more organizational and time-management skills to succeed at studies.
    5. Darwin and Lamarck
      Although Darwin and Lamarck had similar views on the idea of species evolving over time, they had reached to different results in terms of the acquired traits inheritability.
    6. Hobbes and Locke
      While Hobbes and Locke both had a major impact on the political philosophy, their views on the origin of moral principles of the right and wrong a man has.
    7. TV series and full-length film
      The quality of modern TV series has increased immensely and sometimes matches the one of a full-length film, even though the two forms have some dramatic differences.
    8. Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir
      Although the two painters had a close working relationship, they used different approaches to communicating their inner understanding of the world’s beauty.
    9. eBooks and paper books
      While both eBooks and paper books have the same goal, the experience they bring to a reader is different and leads to several major distinctions between the two.
    10. Google and Facebook
      Although Google and Facebook are designed for different purposes, they have multiple similarities of influencing people’s perceptions.

 

Analytical Essay

    1. Gambling.
      Gambling addiction can be caused by several factors – impulse control disorder, genetics, past trauma syndrome- each having its particular impact on the behavior.
    2. Tennis.
      The success of any tennis player depends on his physical, mental, and emotional skills.
    3. Being a popular writer.
      There is no unified success formula for authors to become successful but there are 5 main factors that can influence the writing career.
    4. Missions to the Moon.
      The main reason for stopping further missions to the moon are the high cost and focus on more strategically important expenditures.
    5. How to survive on an island after a shipwreck.
      There is a list of things one can do to prepare for a shipwreck and survive on an island before getting rescued that includes some physical training and thorough strategy.
    6. Random shootings.
      The reasons behind the increasing number of random shootings in the U.S. are the growing fear of population and feeling of vulnerability.
    7. Autism.
      Children diagnosed with autism need their parents to take a special approach to upbringing which includes a particular schedule of activities to avoid stress.
    8. Creative Professions.
      The popularity of creative professions in the 21st century can be explained by the possibility of making robots do the hard routine tasks.
    9. Hurricanes.
      To minimize a major damage caused by a hurricane, every household needs to take thorough preventive measures.
    10. Caste system in India.
      The phenomenon of a caste system in India was introduced as a mean of taking the local populations under control.

 

Case Study

    1. Diversification in business is one of the most effective ways of assuring its success as it lets you have an alternative service or product to focus on during a critical situation.
    2. The symptoms of most of the eating disorders appear due to the stressful way of life.
    3. Creating a positive environment at a workplace increases employees’ motivation and reduces days of sick leave.
    4. Sharing responsibilities in the workplace between the members of one team project increases productivity by X% and helps people feel involved in the process.
    5. The lack of effective communication between colleagues and subordinates can lead to the decrease of productivity.
    6. The urge of changing workplaces and professions in the 21st century has the main reason of overall dissatisfaction with life. The feeling of uselessness and depression makes millennials search for a better place to work and live.
    7. Skills and knowledge do not matter for a top manager as long as they do not have a strong personality and leadership skills.
    8. The individual approach to every employee of New Balance corporation is an example of building a positive brand image without investing too much money in PR.
    9. Translation fails multinational companies make have a serious impact on the sales revenue.
    10. The case of IKEA demonstrates how good PR and social practices can turn society’s attention from the weaknesses of the company and make them its strengths.

 

Book Review

    1. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela is a marvelous example of inspirational writing that shows how it is possible to fight for civil rights on the streets and behind the prison bars.
    2. Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald shows us all the drastic consequences of having an illusion of a better life and making it the sense of one’s life.
    3. Pride and Prejudice was a revolutionary novel depicting a woman as a self-sufficient human being and not just a supplement to a man.
    4. The idea of the struggle against growing up plays the central role in The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
    5. In Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, we see that wealth and social class are secondary to loyalty and affection.
    6. The Odyssey is an epic masterpiece that teaches us that any life journey is filled up with a great number of obstacles and the outcome depends on how good we can cope with them.
    7. Through Goethe’s Faust, we can understand the real value of life and the significance of all the decisions we make as some of them may lead us to dramatic results.
    8. The central point Lord of the Flies makes us think about is the constant conflict between personal barbarism and the rigid rules of society.
    9. In the heart aching novel Of Mice and Men, we see the upsetting nature of human life as the sense of loneliness becomes dominant in all main characters.
    10. In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky paints a picture of faith and doubt conflict and the unbearable burden of free will can change one’s life dramatically.

 

Position Paper

    1. There should be no controversy in terms of a gay character appearing in a Disney movie – Beauty and the Beast- in 2017 as the norms of our society has changed a lot.
    2. Donald Trump’s illogical and offensive behavior can be just a distraction from the world’s bigger political issues so that there would be no panic amongst the people.
    3. The phenomenon of higher education will be replaced by online courses and seminars in the nearest future as it is a more effective approach.
    4. Despite the protests, women’s objectification remains to be one of the central problems of perception of female beauty.
    5. Elon Musk’s ideas can help Australia and other countries to fight the energy problems and will be the future for the technological development as they are feasible and affordable.
    6. The government should stop supporting space missions trying to find extraterrestrial life due to the time factor. Unless we build a time machine, the time barrier will not let us find other forms of life elsewhere in the Universe.
    7. There should be more severe punishment for the sex offenders to reduce the cases of violence. The capital punishment is the most effective option in fighting these crimes.
    8. Parents should pay more attention to the time their children spend online because they need to know the difference between the real and virtual world from the early age.
    9. The biggest thing one can thieve from someone is no longer material but ephemeral – personal information. Because of the constant hackers attacks, it’s become impossible to feel safe.
    10. If the universities with a long history will not make the necessary adaptations to the modern educational system, the online education will take over the majority of world countries.

 

Critical Review

  1. The human factor is the reason of multiple aircraft extreme situations as only a few pilots are able to take fast and logical decisions under stress.
  2. The stereotype of a woman’s place being at home upbringing children starts to disappear, the gap between the salaries between two genders remains to be dramatic.
  3. Clothing is still the best way of introducing yourself to a person without saying anything.
  4. The type of a teachers’ salary that depends on the results of his work and not on the experience they have is becoming more and more popular.
  5. The concept of family is often the central topic in many of the world’s literature masterpieces.
  6. The effects of global warming become more visible with every year and can lead to the distinction of species.
  7. The sanctions upon the Russian Federation do not prove to be effective even a year from their initiation.
  8. The idea of degradation can be clearly seen in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”.
  9. Homeopathy is nothing more than a placebo effect for a person.
  10. With the development of the digital era, the advertisers move their focus to online ads ignoring the effects of outdoor advertising.

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