Thesis statement and argument

The body paragraphs build on one another, moving through each step of the logical chain. Each paragraph leads inevitably to the next, making the transitions from paragraph to paragraph feel wholly natural. The conclusion, instead of being a mirror-image paraphrase of the introduction, builds out the third story by explaining the broader implications of the argument. It offers new insight without departing from the flow of the analysis. I should note here that a paper with this kind of momentum often reads like it was knocked out in one inspired sitting.

But in reality, just like accomplished athletes and artists, masterful writers make the difficult thing look easy. They write in order to figure out what they want to say. Experienced writers develop theses in dialog with the body of the essay. An initial characterization of the problem leads to a tentative thesis, and then drafting the body of the paper reveals thorny contradictions or critical areas of ambiguity, prompting the writer to revisit or expand the body of evidence and then refine the thesis based on that fresh look. The revised thesis may require that body paragraphs be reordered and reshaped to fit the emerging three-story thesis.

Throughout the process, the thesis serves as an anchor point while the author wades through the morass of facts and ideas. The dialogue between thesis and body continues until the author is satisfied or the due date arrives, whatever comes first. Novice writers, in contrast, usually oversimplify the writing process.


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They formulate some first-impression thesis, produce a reasonably organized outline, and then flesh it out with text, never taking the time to reflect or truly revise their work. They assume that revision is a step backward when, in reality, it is a major step forward. Everyone has a different way that they like to write. For instance, I like to pop my earbuds in, blast dubstep music and write on a white board. I like using the white board because it is a lot easier to revise and edit while you write. After I finish writing a paragraph that I am completely satisfied with on the white board, I sit in front of it with my laptop and just type it up.

In an era of political polarization, many students may think that a strong argument is based on a simple, bold, combative statement that is promoted it in the most forceful way possible. The purpose of the argument is to explain to readers why the author—through the course of his or her in-depth study—has arrived at a somewhat surprising point. On that basis, it has to consider plausible counter-arguments and contradictory information.

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In crafting and carrying out the three-story thesis, you are showing your reader the work you have done. The model of the organically structured paper and the three-story thesis framework explained here is the very foundation of the paper itself and the process that produces it. The subsequent chapters, focusing on sources, paragraphs, and sentence-level wordsmithing, all follow from the notion that you are writing to think and writing to learn as much as you are writing to communicate.

Your professors assume that you have the self-motivation and organizational skills to pursue your analysis with both rigor and flexibility; that is, they envision you developing, testing, refining and sometimes discarding your own ideas based on a clear-eyed and open-minded assessment of the evidence before you. Armonk: M. Sharpe, In reality, data-collection is a creative and demanding craft, arguably more important than theorizing. Skip to content Increase Font Size. Linen served as a form of currency in the ancient Mediterranean world, connecting rival empires through circuits of trade.

The economic role of linen raises important questions about how shifting environmental conditions can influence economic relationships and, by extension, political conflicts.

There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors who have no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare, reason, generalize using the labor of fact collectors as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, predict—their best illumination comes from above the skylight. Peter Farrell. This is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. In university writing, it is typically a sentence or two which establishes your argument and forecasts the main points your paper will argue. It is the backbone of your paper, because everything that follows should support this central argument.

Your thesis statement is where your reader can look to find out what a paper is about, and why and how the topic will be addressed.


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It is where the topic, or more specifically the argument, is narrowed and focused. Consequently, all expository writing, in which you formulate a thesis and attempt to prove it, is an opportunity to practice rigorous, focused thinking habits that can result not only in better papers, but in sharper analytical skills across the board. It is during these early stages of writing, particularly in the identification of supporting arguments, that students are most likely to flounder and procrastinate, and when the strength of a paper's thesis is frequently diluted for lack of rigorous thinking.

Here we will adapt Aristotle's method of "discovering arguments" to help identify and develop a strong thesis. You may adapt this method to any nonfiction writing, including essays, research papers, book reports, or critical reviews. Choosing a Subject Suppose your instructor asks you to write an essay about a holiday experience. Within this general subject area, you choose a subject that holds your interest and about which you can readily get information: you were in downtown Chico on the morning of St.

Patrick's Day and witnessed some unusual behavior—a melee broke out, resulting in injuries to bystanders and property damage to nearby cars. You wish to write about this. Limiting Your Subject What will you name your topic? Clearly, "student behavior" is too broad; student behavior would necessarily include behavior by every kind of student, everywhere, at all times, and this could very well fill a book and require a master's degree in psychology.

Simply calling your subject "St. Patrick's Day" would be misleading. You decide to limit the subject to "student behavior on St.

Making Arguments and Writing Theses

Patrick's Day. You will title it much later. You have now limited your subject and are ready to craft a thesis. Crafting a thesis statement While your subject may be a noun phrase such as the one above, your thesis must be a complete sentence that declares where you stand on the subject. A thesis statement should almost always be in the form of a declarative sentence. Suppose you believe that some of the student behavior in front of La Salle's on St. Patrick's Day was very bad; your thesis statement may be, "Student behavior such as demonstrated in front of La Salle's last St.

Patrick's Day is an embarrassment to the college community. Your thesis might be, "A college town has to expect a certain amount of student glee on holidays such as St. Patrick's Day; cracked auto glass and a couple of bruises are a small price to pay for all the commerce college students bring to downtown.

Identifying supporting arguments Now you must gather material, or find arguments to support your thesis statement.

Developing A Thesis and Supporting Auguments - TIP Sheet - Butte College

Aristotle taught his students to examine any claim by "discovering arguments. Brainstorm, adapting the questions below as a guide, and writing down even the ideas that don't appear to you very promising—you can sort through them later. Revising your thesis Notice that in the sentence above we used the phrase "a thesis statement" rather than "your thesis statement. At this point, you should either revise your thesis or choose another subject and begin again.

Revising your opinion in light of convincing evidence is the beginning of wisdom.