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Paper Writing: Thesis Statements

Paper Writing: Thesis Statements

Author: Rebecca Oberg

This learning packet should review:
• New terms and definitions
• Different types of thesis statements
• Locations of thesis statements and importance
• Basics of the writing process

New Terms: A few terms that may be new are:
• Thesis statement
• Introduction
• Conclusion

This learning packet offers an in-depth look at thesis statements through the use of slide shows providing definitions, examples, and opportunities for review, along with multimedia video clips and simple, easily accessible text. Terms are defined and explained in a variety of ways and complexities. Thesis statements often trip up both beginning and experienced writers, who often underestimate the argumentative power of a well-written thesis statement.

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An In-Depth Look at Thesis Statements: Practice and Connections to the Introductory Paragraph

This slide show offers in-depth information about thesis statements, a detailed explanation of how thesis statements fit into introductory paragraphs, and several opportunities for interactive review.

Source: See slide show for citation.

Demystifying the Thesis Statement

This reassuring and helpful clip offers a bare-bones, easily accessible look at thesis statements.

Source: YouTube

What's a Thesis Statement? How Do I Write One?

This video offers an entertaining yet highly informative look at the structure and importance of thesis statements.

Thesis Basics: A Slide Show Presentation

This video clip is actually a really helpful slide show presentation offering basic guidelines and example thesis statements for review and practice.

Source: YouTube

Thesis Statements Summed Up

The thesis statement states the thesis or argument of the author in an essay or similar document. Usually no more than a sentence or two long, it is a focused section of text that clearly delineates the argument that is presented in the work and is usually found at the end of the first paragraph of a paper. The thesis statement says what the author or authors are trying to prove in the document. The subject of the thesis statement reflects the topic of the paper and the predicate is usually what the author of the paper is trying to prove. The thesis statement is invaluable when constructing an outline, as it shows what points need to be proven.

A thesis statement is usually restated in a closing paragraph, if in a formal essay, containing a slightly varied format and using synonyms as to not make a passive statement. A thesis statement could be described as a 'topic sentence of the topic sentences (in the essay)' or an 'outine of the outline(in an essay or similar document)' because it can be the most important part of the opening section or paragraph in an essay or similar document.

Reviewing the Writing Process

Gardner and Johnson (1997) describe the stages of the writing process:

Writing is a fluid process created by writers as they work. Accomplished writers move back and forth between the stages of the process, both consciously and unconsciously. Young writers, however, benefit from the structure and security of following the writing process in their writing.

    • Prewriting. Students generate ideas for writing: brainstorming; reading literature; creating life maps, webs, and story charts; developing word banks; deciding on form, audience, voice, and purpose as well as through teacher motivation.
    • Rough Draft. Students get their ideas on paper. They write without concern for conventions. Written work does not have to be neat; it is a 'sloppy copy.'
    • Reread. Students proof their own work by reading aloud and reading for sensibility.
    • Share with a Peer Revisor. Students share and make suggestions for improvement: asking who, what, when, where, why, and how questions about parts of the story the peer does not understand; looking for better words; and talking about how to make the work better.
    • Revise. Improve what the narrative says and how it says it: write additions, imagery, and details. Take out unnecessary work. Use peer suggestions to improve. Clarify.
    • Editing. Work together on editing for mechanics and spelling. Make sure the work is 'goof proof.'
    • Final Draft. Students produce their final copy to discuss with the teacher and write a final draft.
    • Publishing. Students publish their written pieces: sending their work to publishers; reading their finished story aloud, making books. This is a time to celebrate!

Remember, the writing process is not necessarily linear--you may cycle between these steps in a variety of ways.