Thesis Statements and how to navigate them

As a tutor, questions about thesis statements arise constantly. Composing arguments, research classes, and classes outside of the English curriculum dictate thesis statements to be solidified objects in introductory paragraphs, normally occurring towards the end, and for the sake of basic academic style and format, I will agree. There are other places to put your thesis, but that will be a different post… When tackling a thesis statement, there are so many different paths to take, from picking a topic, to exploring the different perspectives within the argument you wish to pose, to defining the argument that needs to be addressed. Remember that a 1…2…3…list cannot be applied for all arguments, and it is always best to play around with arguments and pose them to your classmates, or mentors, or professors… (they hold specific interest in your thesis being awesome). Rhetorical statements are a crucial part to academic life, and it is necessary to understand and be able to implement certain methods to have a fail-safe approach to creating outstanding thesis statements throughout your college career. Below is some fantastic advice about different things to keep in mind when up against having to create an original thesis statement. And like always, if you, the reader, has anything to add, it is entirely welcome. We love to hear from our readers!

1. Know your topic:

How on Earth will you create an argument out of thin air that has merit? You won’t. The only way to start it to immerse yourself in research. When our teachers ask us for “at least 5 and no more than 7 sources,” there’s a reason for it…  When we read multiple articles on a subject we are inquiring about, it is for the purpose of knowledge and for the purpose of furthering or explaining the research. Reading your articles will help with your overall essay, not only your thesis, so it’s best to start here….

2. Create a general statement that can be argued:

Is your statement controversial, or is your statement common knowledge? Thesis Statements depend whether or not you can adequately argue what has been stated, and depending on the topic, theses can range from informational, to purely rhetorical or argumentative. Did you learn any new concepts or did you notice any themes throughout your research? A great tip to remember is, if you’re having trouble finding sources, look at your favorite piece of research and look at their reference list. This is a great way to find primary sources, and to find out how research originated. Another way, is to visit your college or local library and speak with a reference librarian. Reference Librarians have a degree that makes them absolute experts in the library and with all things research. At MSU Denver we are privilege to all the expanding services the Auraria Library is offering, including The Knowledge Market, Research Help, and a full array of Digital Collections to aid your research needs.

3. Hone

Once you have your general thesis statement and you turn it into your professor, they may come back with the response as to hone or “condense” or “edit” your thesis statement. This is totally okay, espeically since most professors ask to look at topics and thesis statements before any writing happens. This saves all writers from writing something that is irrelevant or incorrect. Please remember that ALL thesis statements are working statements and are not set in stone. This trips a lot of writers up… but just remember, everything you type or write CAN BE CHANGED!!!!! Nothing is set and if your research leads to a different conclusion than you originally thought, then GREAT!! All you have to do now is revamp your thesis so it fits the rest of your paper. (p.s. this is what writing tutors are for…)

4. Revisit

Once you’ve written your essay you can go back and revisit everything that your research has concluded… Once this happens, like stated above, you are able to revisit your thesis and see if it truly fits with the research you have provided on the topic. Tweak where necessary, and if you still aren’t sure with the final product, come to the MSU Denver Writing Center! We’ll give you a second opinion!


Happy Writing!

Aubrey Baucum••

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