WHAT IS AN ArgumentativeTHESIS?

A single sentence summary of an argument you are going to make or point of view you are going to take.


1)To get to a thesis, you have to start with a general topic (for example, video games).

2) Next you narrow the topic to a reason, point of view, issue, controversy, etc -- generally a QUESTION.

 For example, video games could be narrowed to: Do video games cause violence in children?

3) Thirdly, you have to take a point of view, a side, make it argumentative SO THAT YOUR THESIS IS NOT A QUESTION, but an assertion, a statement, a possible answer to the topic question.

For example, Do video games cause violence in children? could be turned into either of these two thesis:

a) It is a myth that video games cause violence in children OR

b) Video games have proven to be a cause of increased violence in children

4) This is an argumentative thesis. Now the question is, is this narrow enough? That depends on the assignment type.

NEXT WEEK YOU WILL LEARN: How to narrow down the thesis/topic to the appropriate level for the two papers required for ENG102.  


How to Tell a Strong Thesis Sentence from a Weak One (excerpted from Indiana University's: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/thesis.html).


1. A strong thesis takes some sort of stand.

 Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on video games, you might be asked to choose a particular factor or "side" concerning video games and violence.


2. A strong thesis justifies discussion (it should be an interesting and debate-worthy topic).


3. A strong thesis expresses one main idea.


4. A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic.

EXAMPLE: "Video games sometimes cause children to act out violent acts"

 Above, this is a weak thesis. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, "video games" is too non-specific.


Now this is a strong thesis because it is specific and takes a stand:   "First person shooter games that submerge the gamer as an Assassin lead to children re-enacting video game violence in real life"



TOPIC SENTENCES: "A well-organized paragraph supports or develops a single controlling idea, which is expressed in a sentence called the topic sentence. A topic sentence has several important functions: it substantiates or supports an essay's thesis statement; it unifies the content of a paragraph and directs the order of the sentences; and it advises the reader of the subject to be discussed and how the paragraph will discuss it. Readers generally look to the first few sentences in a paragraph to determine the subject and perspective of the paragraph. That's why it's often best to put the topic sentence at the very beginning of the paragraph. In some cases, however, it's more effective to place another sentence before the topic sentence--for example, a sentence linking the current paragraph to the previous one, or one providing background information.


A paragraph is a series of sentences that are organized and coherent, and are all related to a single topic. Almost every piece of writing you do that is longer than a few sentences should be organized into paragraphs. This is because paragraphs show a reader where the subdivisions of an essay begin and end, and thus help the reader see the organization of the essay and grasp its main points.

(excerpted from Indiana University's: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/thesis.html).