Writing Madness Consolation Post #3 – Thesis Statements!

The first round of our Writing Madness bracket has concluded, which left us with eight writing issues that won’t be participating in the next round of voting. The Learning Hub’s writing staff have picked four of these eight, and over the next week we will be presenting them along with specific resources to help you overcome your frustrations with them. This time? Thesis Statements!

by Nick

The thesis statement, or the main argument of your essay, is, undoubtedly, one of the trickiest components of an essay to craft.  Because it represents the overall argument of a writer’s essay in a narrow, concise manner, it can be quite difficult to create for a lot of beginning writers and first-semester (and sometimes, second-semester) composition students.  In a lot of cases, beginning writers will write thesis statements that are too vague, that contain too many ideas, have more than one sentence, that do not appear at the end of the introduction, and/or that do not even pose an argument.  Although these are common errors, they are, luckily, not too far out of reach to correct.

Typically, the thesis statement is one sentence and appears at the end of the introduction, and is divided into two parts: the claim and the qualifier.  The claim is simply your argumentative stance on a topic, and it should be narrow, specific, and concise.  Here is an example of a claim: Inmates should be allowed to donate organs in the United States.  In this claim, the writer is taking a stance on the issue: Inmates should; and it is specific in that it focuses on one idea while giving context.  Claims, at least in social justice issue essays, usually pose a should or should not argument, but they do not necessarily have to contain a should or should not.  An example of a claim that does not contain should or should not is: Nick is an awesome tutor.  This is a claim not only in that it is narrow and concise, but it is also debatable (aka argumentative).  Some people may not agree with this sentiment, while others might agree with it.

Qualifiers, on the other hand, usually back the claim up.  In other words, it is usually the because to your claim, and it, too, is specific (focuses on one main idea) and concise.  If we go back to the claim about how inmates should be allowed to donate organs in the United States, for instance, we need to add a qualifier, or a reason, as to why inmates in the United States should be allowed to donate organs.  Here is what that qualifier might look like: Because not allowing them to do so violates their basic human right to participate in the advancement of science.  Once you have crafted a qualifier, you combine the claim and qualifier together so that they make one main idea (your thesis statement): Inmates should be allowed to donate organs in the United States because not allowing them to do so violates their basic human right to participate in the advancement of science.  This is an example of a specific, concise, and argumentative thesis statement.  The same notion of qualifiers would apply to the other claim example: Nick is an awesome tutor.  If we wanted to qualify why Nick is an awesome tutor, we might say: Because he is able to describe how to write thesis statements to beginning writers.  If we combine that claim and qualifier, then our thesis statement would be: Nick is an awesome tutor because he is able to describe how to write thesis statements to beginning writers.

Some professors also like to see roadmaps, which basically preview the structure of your essay (typically the topic sentences of your body paragraphs), and they tend to tie in with your qualifier.  Here is an example: Nick is an awesome tutor because he discusses how thesis statements should be specific and focused,  he explains the claim and qualifier of a thesis statement, and he clarifies how to move from a subject to a thesis statement when describing how to write thesis statements to beginning writers.  Be sure to check with your professor to see if they would like you to include a roadmap, and always align with what the assignment instructions tell you to do!  If you would like to know more about writing thesis statements, then you can visit/contact The Learning Hub, check out our handout on thesis statements below, or visit this helpful link!

Writing Madness 2nd Place – Focusing Ideas in the Paper!

by Courtney

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-A thesis statement reflects the main idea of your paper, summarizing the main idea and central message.  Avoid vague words and overly explicit statements.

-Remember to introduce your thesis statement early in the paper so that you can frame your ideas with this focus.

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-Break the goals of the assignment down individually and spend some time reflecting
how you’ll meet expectations now that your
topic has been selected.

-Consider re-writing the prompt in your
own words to ensure that you’re properly understanding what you’re being asked to
write about.

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-Once everything is on paper, you’ll be able to
make connections on the page and substantiate
the claims of the thesis.

-When you’ve taken time to brainstorm ahead
of time, you’ll be best equipped to center in on
the most vital ideas.

 

 

 

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-Once you’ve been able to maintain distance from your paper, you’ll be able to see where you’ve rambled or lost your train of thought through your paper.

-After you’re feeling refreshed, you’ll be able
to produce well-paced and supported ideas.

 

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focus5

-Much like an outline to start your paper, but a
reverse outline is a way to check in that your
ideas are clearly articulated.

-Use this method to see how your ideas connect together and how firmly they relate  to your
thesis statement.

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-Here at The Hub, we have strategies to help
you focus your draft and suggestions on how
to approach revisions.

-Plus, it’s good to get another perspective on your writing, because another person may be able to pinpoint where you may lose focus.

Writing Madness Consolation Post #7 – Thesis Statements!

The third round of our Writing Madness bracket has concluded, which left us with two writing issues that won’t be participating in the next round of voting. The Learning Hub’s writing staff we will be presenting them along with specific resources to help you overcome your frustrations with them. This time? Conclusions!

by Raven

Thesis statements are a frustrating aspect of writing that many college students struggle with. It requires the writer to sum up their thoughts into a concise statement to provide a focus for the essay. Any weakness in the thesis will no doubt be apparent throughout the entire essay. However, have no fear. There are a few tips to make writing a thesis statement a little less stressful.

One helpful tip is to have an outline for your thesis. Write down some notes on what your argument is about and what points you’re going to use to support it. Once you have those notes, organize them into a concise sentence or two stating your main argument and your supporting points.

Another piece of advice is to write down your thesis on a separate piece of paper or type it on a different document, and refer back to it periodically. It is easy to drift away from the main point of the essay when writing, so having that thesis statement easily accessible will help create a clear and consistent paper.

The final tip is to seek assistance. As UIS students, you have many options. You can utilize your professor’s office hours by asking them to review your thesis. You can also take advantage of the Learning Hub’s many services. This can take the form of making an appointment with one of our writing tutors, or taking advantage of our numerous writing handouts.

These are just a few tips to making the process of writing a thesis statement easier. For more information see our handout on thesis statements.

For more tips, see the Learning Hub’s handout on writing introductions below, visit the Learning Hub’s website for more handouts on writing skills, make an appointment with a tutor, and keep your eye on this blog!

I hope you found this resource helpful, and remember to vote in the final round to determine the most frustrating writing issue faced by UIS students. Voting will conclude on Tuesday, March 28th at 12:00pm CST!

Subject to Thesis

Or, How to Take Your Initial Idea and Turn It into an Argument

by Sarah Collins

I always found that coming up with my thesis statement for my papers was hardest when I hadn’t first done three things: 1) chosen a broad subject area, 2) focused that subject down to a more manageable topic, and 3) done background research on that more specific topic to more clearly understand how I wanted to approach it.

It can be a painful process if you aren’t breaking things down into steps that are manageable and that give you the time to explore things in a way that helps you identify the best route for your paper.

This handout below walks you through the process of moving from a subject to a topic to a thesis statement, and then outlines strategies for creating a strong, cohesive, memorable thesis that will guide you as you then write your paper.

Continue reading “Subject to Thesis”