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Essaythesis

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Developing and Focusing a Thesis for a Persuasive Essay

Last Update: K7studio 00:21, 25 April 2008 (EDT) Completed: K7studio 00:27, 25 April 2008 (EDT)

An essay by John Locke [1]

Getting Started

Often, students have difficulty writing their essays. They may have a general direction that they want to follow, but have no idea where to start. The most valuable thing to remember in these circumstances is that, the thesis statement says it all!


  • Make sure that you filter your thoughts out onto paper or record them. That way you can review your thoughts later on and discover the thesis. One approach to doing this is to free-write. Free-writing is a process where one simply writes down what comes to mind about an issue [2].
  • Recognize your thesis. In other words, your thesis should be short, sweet, and to the point! So, find your thesis by trying to reduce all the points you make down to a single, coherent thought.

What is a Thesis?

A thesis statement is an argument or a claim in the form of one or two sentences. A thesis will be the central claim to an entire essay and will be the topic that the writer must focus on. A good thesis statement will unify following paragraphs and thoughts expressed. Furthermore, a thesis should be something a reasonable person could argue; it is something that can be logically proven.

Keeping Focus

It is critical that the writer maintain focus on the thesis. Focusing on your thesis, once it is developed, is rather easy. Just remember to take your time! Here are some strategies for keeping the focus of the essay on the thesis:

  • A key to focusing on a thesis is to stay organized. After you free-write and figure out your general thesis, make a list of things you want to say. For example, if you are writing about "why Seattle is a great place to live," you might like to include a number of sub-topics such as:
    • What you can do in Seattle
    • What the average temperature and weather is like
    • What the local culture is like
    • A description of the people in Seattle
    • etcetera
Writing a list will help you stay on topic throughout the essay because you will have a general list of all your supporting claims/facts.
  • While you're writing a paragraph, remember to ask yourself how it relates to your thesis. Does it support your thesis or does it make you ask more questions? For example, if your thesis states that, sailboats are the best form of sea travel, don't start writing paragraph about how catamarans are also good. If you run into a paragraph that, you feel is important but doesn't fit the thesis, you may wish to rewrite your thesis.

[3].

  • As it has already been implied, read over what you have written! Don't get lazy and leave your paper as it is. Analyze each paragraph and figure out the topic of each paragraph. Then, see if the topics and their respective claims support your thesis. If it doesn't, you need to change something.

Resources

External Links with Annotation

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-Purdue University "Establishing Arguments" - Purdue University always has helpful English tips; this is the website I go to for all my MLA Citation guidance. However, their page on thesis statements don't really give you an idea about how to focus your content towards your thesis. Still, their page has a very good definition of a thesis, one that is very comprehensive. This site is great for most questions about essays and can be useful when you need some quick information. The comprehensive content is supplemented by the site's well developed navigation system. Plus, they have writing tips for many genres of writing including internet literacy, creative, engineering, and etcetera.

-Hunter College - City University of New York - This site does a fantastic job describing the different kinds of thesis statements you can make. Although hosted on Hunter College's website, it doesn't seem to have updated lately; no matter, English hasn't changed that much. The site is pretty straight forward, and navigation is non-existent due to the "all content on one page"-style. Yet this page is still useful because the author describes tentative, open, and closed thesis statements. Her definitions really give you an idea of what a thesis statement is and how one should phrase it. So if you need to develop your thesis statement for a certain tone and structure, this place is great.

-UNC English - This page provides a good definition of thesis statements. If you find examples helpful, this page has quite a few thesis statements that you can try to identify. More so, this site contains a lot of useful information - just look at the navigation column on the right hand side. Even though this has little to do with thesis statements, I especially find the procrastination page interesting - ironic though it may be (considering that the completion of this wiki occurred the night before the project due date). In any case, this website was probably the most useful site I found for focusing an essay towards a thesis. If you look under the "Paragraph Development" section, you'll find a great deal of helpful tips on what to consider while constructing your paragraphs.

-Indiana University English - Indiana University's page on thesis statements is another good resource to find information. It's not extensive, but it has a good quick overview and the layout is simple. It provides you a list of helpful tips to remember when writing your thesis statement. I would suggest using this page as a supplemental to one of the previous sites.

-Cleveland State Writing Center - Cleveland State University's Writing Center webpage is concise, but still rather helpful. Aside from having some great information on paragraph organization, this site has a good process thesis development. The process described helped inspire some of the points made in this wiki. The website covers a large spectrum of issues regarding how to construct an effective essay, including some aspects of persuasive, or argumentative, essays. The page is well designed and easy to navigate around, too.

Related Links

Citations

  1. Simons, Olaf. An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding in Four Books by John Locke. 3 December 2005 <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Locke_Essay_1690.jpg>
  2. "Free Writing". Missouri State University. 24 April 2008 <http://web.mst.edu/~gdoty/classes/concepts-practices/free-writing.html>
  3. "The Thesis Statement". Capital Community College Foundation. 24 April 2008 <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/thesis.htm>

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