To see how asking questions can help you choose a topic, take a look at the following chart in Figure 5. She asked herself the questions that reporters and journalists use to gather information for their stories. Figure 5. Prewriting is very purpose driven; it does not follow a set of hard and fast rules. The purpose of prewriting is to find and explore ideas so that you will be prepared to write. A prewriting technique like asking questions can help you both find a topic and explore it.
The key to effective prewriting is to use the techniques that work best for your thinking process. Freewriting may not seem to fit your thinking process, but keep an open mind. It may work better than you think. Perhaps brainstorming a list of topics might better fit your personal style. Mariah found freewriting and asking questions to be fruitful strategies to use.
In your own prewriting, use the 5WH questions in any way that benefits your planning. As with Mariah when she explored her writing topic for more detail, it is okay if you do not know all the answers. If you do not know an answer, use your own opinion to speculate, or guess. You may also use factual information from books or articles you previously read on your topic. Later in the chapter, you will read about additional ways like searching the Internet to answer your questions and explore your guesses.
Now that you have completed some of the prewriting exercises, you may feel less anxious about starting a paper from scratch. With some ideas down on paper or saved on a computer , writers are often more comfortable continuing the writing process. After identifying a good general topic, you, too, are ready to continue the process.
You may find that you need to adjust your topic as you move through the writing stages and as you complete the exercises in this chapter. If the topic you have chosen is not working, you can repeat the prewriting activities until you find a better one. The prewriting techniques of freewriting and asking questions helped Mariah think more about her topic.
The following additional prewriting strategies would help her and you narrow the focus of the topic:. Narrowing the focus means breaking up the topic into subtopics, or more specific points. Generating a lot of subtopics helps in selecting the ones that fit the assignment and appeal to the writer and the audience. Three pages would not be enough to cover all the concerns in mass media today. Mariah also realized that although her readers are other communications majors who are interested in the topic, they may want to read a paper about a particular issue in mass media.
You can make a list on your own or in a group with your classmates. Start with a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer document and write your general topic across the top. Underneath your topic, make a list of more specific ideas. Think of your general topic as a broad category and the list items as things that fit into that category.
Often you will find that one item can lead to the next, creating a flow of ideas that can help you narrow your focus to a more specific paper topic. From this list, Mariah could narrow her focus to a particular technology under the broad category of mass media. Imagine you have to write an email to your current boss explaining your prior work experience, but you do not know where to start. Before you begin the email, you can use the brainstorming technique to generate a list of employers, duties, and responsibilities that fall under the general topic of work experience.
This technique is also known as clustering because ideas are broken down and clustered, or grouped together. Many writers like this method because the shapes show how the ideas relate or connect, and writers can find a focused topic from the connections mapped. Using idea mapping, you might discover interesting connections between topics that you had not thought of before. To create an idea map, start with your general topic in a circle in the centre of a blank sheet of paper. Then write specific ideas around it and use lines or arrows to connect them together.
Add and cluster as many ideas as you can think of. Mariah tried idea mapping in addition to brainstorming. Then, the general topic branches into two subtopics written in two smaller circles: television and radio. The subtopic television branches into even more specific topics: cable and DVDs. From there, Mariah drew more circles and wrote more specific ideas: high definition and digital recording from cable and Blu-ray from DVDs. The radio topic led Mariah to draw connections between music, downloads versus CDs, and, finally, piracy.
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From this idea map, Mariah saw she could consider narrowing the focus of her mass media topic to the more specific topic of music piracy. Using search engines on the Internet is a good way to see what kinds of websites are available on your topic. Did you guess at any of the answers?
Searching the Internet may help you find answers to your questions and confirm your guesses. Be choosy about the websites you use. Make sure they are reliable sources for the kind of information you seek. Then look over the results for relevant and interesting articles. If the search engine results are not what you are looking for, revise your key words and search again. Some search engines also offer suggestions for related searches that may give you better results.
Note: Not all the results online search engines return will be useful or reliable. Carefully consider the reliability of an online source before selecting a topic based on it. Remember that factual information can be verified in other sources, both online and in print. If you have doubts about any information you find, either do not use it or identify it as potentially unreliable. Reading legal jargon made Mariah uncomfortable with the results, so she decided to look further. Reviewing her map, she realized that she was more interested in consumer aspects of mass media, so she refocused her search to media technology and the sometimes confusing array of expensive products that fill electronics stores.
Now, Mariah considers a topic on the products that have fed the mass media boom in everyday lives. However, this topic may still be too broad. Use brainstorming, idea mapping, or searching the Internet. Collaboration : P lease share with a classmate and compare your answers. Share what you found and what interests you about the possible topic s.
Help on writing a thesis statement
Prewriting strategies are a vital first step in the writing process. First they help you first choose a broad topic, and then they help you narrow the focus of the topic to a more specific idea. Use Checklist 5. Using this checklist can help you decide if your narrowed topic is a good topic for your assignment. Do I have prior knowledge or experience with this topic? If so, would I be comfortable exploring this topic and sharing my experiences? An effective topic ensures that you are ready for the next step. With your narrowed focus in mind, answer the bulleted questions in the checklist for developing a good topic.
Have you ever known someone who was not very good at telling stories? You probably had trouble following the train of thought as the storyteller jumped from point to point, either being too brief in places that needed further explanation or providing too many details on a meaningless element. Maybe the person told the end of the story first, then moved to the beginning and later added details to the middle.
The ideas were probably scattered, and the story did not flow very well. When the story was over, you probably had many questions. Just as a personal anecdote can be a disorganized mess, an essay can fall into the same trap of being out of order and confusing. Just like a topic sentence summarizes a single paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes an entire essay. It tells the reader the point you want to make in your essay, while the essay itself supports that point. You should form your thesis before you begin to organize an essay, but you may find that it needs revision as the essay develops.
For every essay you write, you must focus on a central idea. This idea stems from a topic you have chosen or been assigned or from a question your teacher has asked. It is not enough merely to discuss a general topic or simply answer a question with a yes or no. Remember that a thesis is not the topic itself, but rather your interpretation of the question or subject. A thesis is one sentence long and appears toward the end of your introduction. It is specific and focuses on one to three points of a single idea—points that are able to be demonstrated in the body.
It forecasts the content of the essay and suggests how you will organize your information. Remember that a thesis statement does not summarize an issue but rather dissects it. As you may recall, the creation of a thesis statement begins when you choose a broad subject and then narrow down its parts until you pinpoint a specific aspect of that topic.
For example, health care is a broad topic, but a proper thesis statement would focus on a specific area of that topic, such as options for individuals without health care coverage. If the specific topic is options for individuals without health care coverage, then your precise thesis statement must make an exact claim about it, such as that limited options exist for those who are uninsured by their employers. You must further pinpoint what you are going to discuss regarding these limited effects, such as whom they affect and what the cause is.
A factual statement often is not considered arguable. Be sure your thesis statement contains a point of view that can be supported with evidence. You can rely on personal observations in order to do this, or you can consult outside sources to demonstrate that what you assert is valid. A worthy argument is backed by examples and details. The tone is assertive and takes a stance that others might oppose.
In other words, your stance has insufficient backing. Taking an authoritative stance on the matter persuades your readers to have faith in your argument and open their minds to what you have to say. These statements reduce your credibility and weaken your argument. Your opinion is more convincing when you use a firm attitude. On a sheet of paper, write a thesis statement for each of the following topics. Remember to make each statement specific, precise, demonstrable, forceful and confident. Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration.
Compared to an absolute divorce, no-fault divorce is less expensive, promotes fairer settlements, and reflects a more realistic view of the causes for marital breakdown. Exposing children from an early age to the dangers of drug abuse is a sure method of preventing future drug addicts. You can find thesis statements in many places, such as in the news; in the opinions of friends, co-workers or teachers; and even in songs you hear on the radio.
Not a Title
Pay attention to your own everyday thesis statements as well, as these can become material for future essays. Now that you have read about the contents of a good thesis statement and have seen examples, take a look four pitfalls to avoid when composing your own thesis. A thesis is weak when it is simply a declaration of your subject or a description of what you will discuss in your essay.
A thesis is weak when it makes an unreasonable or outrageous claim or insults the opposing side. A thesis is weak when it contains an obvious fact or something that no one can disagree with or provides a dead end. A thesis is weak when the statement is too broad. Read the following thesis statements. On a piece of paper, identify each as weak or strong. For those that are weak, list the reasons why. Then revise the weak statements so that they conform to the requirements of a strong thesis.
The government must expand its funding for research on renewable energy resources in order to prepare for the impending end of oil. In this essay, I will give you a lot of reasons why marijuana should not be legalized in British Columbia. Often in your career, you will need to ask your boss for something through an email. Just as a thesis statement organizes an essay, it can also organize your email request.
While your email will be shorter than an essay, using a thesis statement in your first paragraph quickly lets your boss know what you are asking for, why it is necessary, and what the benefits are. In short body paragraphs, you can provide the essential information needed to expand upon your request.
The controlling idea is the main idea that you want to present and develop. For a longer piece of writing, the main idea should be broader than the main idea for a shorter piece of writing. Be sure to frame a main idea that is appropriate for the length of the assignment.
Practice in Identifying Effective Thesis Statements
Ask yourself how many pages it will take to explain and explore the main idea in detail? Be reasonable with your estimate. Then expand or trim it to fit the required length. Remember that a thesis statement is often one sentence long, and it states your point of view. The thesis statement is not the topic of the piece of writing but rather what you have to say about that topic and what is important to tell readers. Look at Table 5.
Thesis Statement Exercises | WilmU Student Writing Resources
You will need it when you begin to outline your assignment as a way to organize it. As you continue to develop the arrangement, you can limit your working thesis statement if it is too broad or expand it if it proves too narrow for what you want to say. On a sheet of paper, write your working thesis statement. You will make several attempts before you devise a working thesis statement that you think is effective. Each draft of the thesis statement will bring you closer to the wording that expresses your meaning exactly.
Your thesis will probably change as you write, so you will need to modify it to reflect exactly what you have discussed in your essay. Working thesis statements often become stronger as you gather information and form new opinions and reasons for those opinions. Revision helps you strengthen your thesis so that it matches what you have expressed in the body of the paper. The best way to revise your thesis statement is to ask questions about it and then examine the answers to those questions.
By challenging your own ideas and forming definite reasons for those ideas, you grow closer to a more precise point of view, which you can then incorporate into your thesis statement. The revised thesis makes a more specific statement about success and what it means to work hard. The original includes too broad a range of people and does not define exactly what success entails. Readers bring all sorts of backgrounds and perspectives to the reading process and would need clarification for a word so vague.
This expression may also be too informal for the selected audience. The writer should ask questions similar to the 5WH questions. Your thesis statement is the central argument of your essay. Need help to write an essay on why judicial independence is indispensable for the consolidation of democracy in developing countries. Why do I need to write a thesis statement for a paper? This thesis draft repeats the language of the writing prompt without making a.
Need help writing thesis statement for bullying - Change the way you fulfill your homework with our professional service get the required paper. If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a.
Get help finishing your graduate thesis, with proven methods to succeed. Take the stress out of writing a thesis statement and take advantage of the professional thesis statement generator services. Trouble defining the research matter and narrowing down the subject to write thesis. The SAT college admission test will no longer require a timed essay, will dwell less on fancy vocabulary and will return to the familiar.
Help on writing a thesis statement English lessons online Compiled by Kim. Try our thesis statement generator for free See the examples of thesis statements on. Without a thesis statement, you don't have a paper. Is there a valid argument against your position? Please example thesis statement hypothesis try again later Centering your testing. Helps you determine your focus and clarify your ideas. Collaborative and Group Writing.
U niversity of W isconsin —Madison. What is a thesis statement? A thesis statement. Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph. Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
Identify a topic Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Consider what your assignment asks you to do Inform yourself about your topic Focus on one aspect of your topic Ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts Generate a topic from an assignment Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.
Identified topic The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4. Reason This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad warfare being a major theme in that work. Developing a Thesis Statement—Additional information Consider what your assignment asks you to do Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.
Focus on one aspect of your topic As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. Ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Derive a main point from topic Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be.
Look for patterns in your evidence Compose a purpose statement Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement. Example 2 Topic The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4. Evidence The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image. The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare. Possible conclusion: At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.
Purpose statement This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4. Thus, you might begin with something like this: This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression. Purpose statement Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement. Question-to-Assertion If your assignment asks a specific question s , turn the question s into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.
List ideas Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them. Formula Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement you will revise this later. Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment Question each part of your draft thesis Clarify vague phrases and assertions Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.
Sample Assignment Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society. This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society. Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing. As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind.
You will be more successful when your thesis and paper responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea. Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
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