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HMEC 2030W - 2011 Summer Session: Thesis Statement

Key resources to work on Paper #1, #2, & #3 of the course.

What is a thesis statement?

 

Thesis StatementThe thesis statement is an important communication tool with your reader. It is a sentence or two, usually located at the end of the introduction, that lets your reader know the major point that you are making in your paper and gives your reader a sense of how you will support that point in the body of your paper

After reading your thesis statement, your reader should know where you are going                  


 

Activity

Activity

Which of the following thesis statements gives you the best sense of direction?

 

1.  Cafeterias in government offices should serve only locally grown food.

 

2.  What type of food should be served in the cafeterias of government offices?

 

3.  Cafeterias in government offices should be mandated to serve only locally grown food because of the significant health benefits for their patrons and the significant economic benefits for their regions.

 

4.  In spite of the challenges, cafeterias in government offices should be mandated to serve only locally grown food because of the significant health benefits for their patrons and the significant economic benefits for their regions.

 

 

 

Check out the last box on this page for a discussion of which thesis statement is the strongest.

When should I write my thesis statement?

Many writers draft their thesis statements early on in the writing process. As they read and think more about their topics, they adjust their thesis statements as their thinking about their paper evolves. It is usually a good idea to develop a working thesis statement as you work on a mind map and draft your outline


How do I begin?

Look at your mind map and outline. What do you want to say about Human Ecology? What are the key ideas that you will use in your paper to support your main point? Express your main and supporting points in one or two sentences.

 

If you are having trouble getting started, you can think of your thesis statement in a kind of formulaic way. Some writers use the following formula to generate a working thesis statement.

 

A = B because C, D, and E

 

Example #1:

The Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1988, was harmful to Canada because A, B, and C.

 

Example #2:

The Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1988, benefitted the Canadian economy. It had the following positive effects: A, B, and C.


Additional Resources

For more information about writing a thesis statement, check out two handouts from the UofM's Learning Assistance Centre: 


Discussion: Sample thesis statements

Response to Thesis Statement Activity

1.  Cafeterias in government offices should serve only locally grown food.

 

This thesis statement expresses the writer's position but gives the reader no sense of how that position will be supported in the body paragraphs. This thesis statement is weak.

 

2.  What type of food should be served in the cafeterias of government offices?

 

This is worded as a question and contains neither the position of the writer nor an indication of how s/he will support that position in the body of the paper. This thesis statement is weak.


 

3.  Cafeterias in government offices should be mandated to serve only locally grown food because of the significant health benefits for their patrons and the significant economic benefits for their regions.

 

This thesis statement expresses the writer's position on the topic and lets the reader know what support will be given for that position in the body of the paper: (a) serving locally grown food will bring certain health benefits for those who consume it, and (b) serving locally grown food will lead to economic benefits. This thesis statement is quite strong.

 

4.  In spite of the challenges, cafeterias in government offices should be mandated to serve only locally grown food because of the significant health benefits for their patrons and the significant economic benefits for their regions.

 

This thesis statement is the strongest. It expresses the writer's position, tells the reader how the writer will support that position in the body paragraphs, and acknowledges that there are challenges to providing only locally grown food. This acknowledgement will likely be briefly discussed in the body paragraphs.