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Due to security upgrades, we will no longer support Internet Explorer version 8 or older. Please use a newer browser. Frequently Asked Questions. How do I write one? Answer: A thesis statement also called a research question is considered the "main point" in academic writing.

How does the thesis statement fit within the format of a paper? The deeper your understanding, the likelier it will be that you can divide a broad and complex topic into manageable - that is, researchable - categories. Identify these categories that compose the larger topic and pursue one of them. So reading allowed you to narrow the subject "AIDS" by answering the initial questions - the who and which aspects.

Once you narrowed your focus to "the civil rights of AIDS patients," you read further and quickly realized that civil rights in itself was a broad concern that also should be limited. In this way, reading provided an important stimulus as you worked to identify an appropriate subject for your paper. Make an Assertion Once you have identified the subject, you can now develop it into a thesis by making an assertion about it.

If you have spent enough time reading and gathering information, you will be knowledgeable enough to have something to say about the subject, based on a combination of your own thinking and the thinking of your sources. If you have trouble making an assertion, try writing your topic at the top of a page and then listing everything you know and feel about it. Often from such a list you will discover an assertion that you then can use to fashion a working thesis. A good way to gauge the reasonableness of your claim is to see what other authors have asserted about the same topic.

In fact, keep good notes on the views of others; the notes will prove a useful counterpoint to your own views as you write, and you may want to use them in your paper. Next, make three assertions about your topic, in order of increasing complexity. Keep in mind that these are working thesis statements. Because you haven't written a paper based on any of them, they remain hypotheses to be tested. After completing a first draft, you would compare the contents of the paper to the thesis and make adjustments as necessary for unity.

The working thesis is an excellent tool for planning broad sections of the paper, but - again - don't let it prevent you from pursuing related discussions as they occur to you. Notice how these three statements differ from one another in the forcefulness of their assertions. The third thesis is strongly argumentative. Following the explanation would come a comparison of plans and then a judgment in favor of Anthony Jones. Like any working thesis, this one helps the writer plan the paper. Assuming the paper follows the three-part structure we've inferred, the working thesis would become the final thesis, on the basis of which a reader could anticipate sections of the essay to come.

The first of the three thesis statements, by contrast, is explanatory :. During the past few years, the rights of AIDS patients in the workplace have been debated by national columnists. In developing a paper based on this thesis, the writer would assert only the existence of a debate, obligating himself merely to a summary of the various positions taken. Readers, then, would use this thesis as a tool for anticipating the contours of the paper to follow.

Based on this particular thesis, a reader would not expect to find the author strongly endorsing the views of one or another columnist.

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The thesis does not require the author to defend a personal opinion. The second thesis statement does entail a personal, intellectually assertive commitment to the material, although the assertion is not as forceful as the one found in statement Several columnists have offered convincing reasons for protecting the rights of AIDS patients in the workplace. Here we have an explanatory, mildly argumentative thesis that enables the writer to express an opinion. We infer from the use of the word convincing that the writer will judge the various reasons for protecting the rights of AIDS patients; and, we can reasonably assume, the writer himself believes in protecting these rights.

Note the contrast between this second thesis and the first one, where the writer committed himself to no involvement in the debate whatsoever. Still, the present thesis is not as ambitious as the third one, whose writer implicitly accepted the general argument for safeguarding rights an acceptance he would need to justify and then took the additional step of evaluating the merits of those arguments in relation to each other. Recall that Anthony Jones's plan was the "most sensible. As you can see, for any subject you might care to explore in a paper, you can make any number of assertions - some relatively simple, some complex.

It is on the basis of these assertions that you set yourself an agenda in writing a paper - and readers set for themselves expectations for reading. The more ambitious the thesis, the more complex will be the paper and the greater will be the readers' expectations. Using the Thesis. Different writing tasks require different thesis statements. The explanatory thesis is often developed in response to short-answer exam questions that call for information, not analysis e.

The explanatory but mildly argumentative thesis is appropriate for organizing reports even lengthy ones , as well as essay questions that call for some analysis e. The strongly argumentative thesis is used to organize papers and exam questions that call for information, analysis, and the writer's forcefully stated point of view e. The strongly argumentative thesis, of course, is the riskiest of the three, since you must unequivocally state your position and make it appear reasonable - which requires that you offer evidence and defend against logical objections. But such intellectual risks pay dividends, and if you become involved enough in your work to make challenging assertions, you will provoke challenging responses that enliven classroom discussions.

One of the important objectives of a college education is to extend learning by stretching, or challenging, conventional beliefs. You breathe new life into this broad objective, and you enliven your own learning as well, every time you adopt a thesis that sets a challenging agenda both for you as writer and for your readers. Of course, once you set the challenge, you must be equal to the task. As a writer, you will need to discuss all the elements implied by your thesis. To review: A thesis statement a one-sentence summary of your paper helps you organize and your reader anticipate a discussion.

Thesis statements are distinguished by their carefully worded subjects and predicates, which should be just broad enough and complex enough to be developed within the length limitations of the assignment. Both novices and experts in a field typically begin the initial draft of a paper with a working thesis - a statement that provides writers with structure enough to get started but with latitude enough to discover what they want to say as they write. Once you have completed a first draft, you should test the "fit" of your thesis with the paper that follows. Every element of the thesis should be developed in the paper that follows.

Discussions that drift from your thesis should be deleted, or the thesis changed to accommodate the new discussions. A quotation records the exact language used by someone in speech or in writing. A summary , in contrast, is a brief restatement in your own words of what someone else has said or written.

And a paraphrase is also a restatement, although one that is often as long as the original source. Any paper in which you draw upon sources will rely heavily on quotation, summary, and paraphrase. How do you choose among the three? Remember that the papers you write should be your own - for the most part, your own language and certainly your own thesis, your own inferences, and your own conclusions. It follows that references to your source materials should be written primarily as summaries and paraphrases, both of which are built on restatement, not quotation.

You will use summaries when you need a brief restatement, and paraphrases, which provide more explicit detail than summaries, when you need to follow the development of a source closely. When you quote too much, you risk losing ownership of your work: more easily than you might think, your voice can be drowned out by the voices of those you've quoted. So use quotations sparingly, as you would a pungent spice. Nevertheless, quoting just the right source at the right time can significantly improve your papers.

The trick is to know when and how to use quotations. Choosing Quotations. Quoting Memorable Language Assume you're writing a paper on Napoleon Bonaparte's relationship with the celebrated Josephine. Through research you learn that two days after their marriage Napoleon, given command of an army, left his bride for what was to be a brilliant military campaign in Italy. How did the young general respond to leaving his wife so soon after their wedding?

You come across the following, written from the field of battle by Napoleon on April 3, I have received all your letters, but none has had such an impact on me as the last. Do you have any idea, darling, what you are doing, writing to me in those terms? Do you not think my situation cruel enough without intensifying my longing for you, overwhelming my soul? What a style! What emotions you evoke! Written in fire, they burn my poor heart! A summary of this passage might read as follows:. On April 3, , Napoleon wrote to Josephine, expressing how sorely he missed her and how passionately he responded to her letters.

You might write the following as a paraphrase of the passage:. On April 3, , Napoleon wrote to Josephine that he had received her letters and that one among all others had had a special impact, overwhelming his soul with fiery emotions and longing. How feeble this summary and paraphrase are when compared with the original!

Use the vivid language that your sources give you. In this case, quote Napoleon in your paper to make your subject come alive with memorable detail:. On April 3, , a passionate, lovesick Napoleon responded to a letter from Josephine; she had written longingly to her husband, who, on a military campaign, acutely felt her absence. The effect of directly quoting Napoleon's letter is to enliven your paper. A direct quotation is one in which you record precisely the language of another, as we did with the sentences from Napoleon's letter.

In an indirect quotation, you report what someone has said, although you are not obligated to repeat the words exactly as spoken or written :. Direct quotation : Franklin D. Roosevelt said: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Indirect quotation : Franklin D. Roosevelt said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

The language in a direct quotation, which is indicated by a pair of quotation marks " " , must be faithful to the language of the original passage. When using an indirect quotation, you have the liberty of changing words although not changing meaning. For both direct and indirect quotations, you must credit your sources , naming them either in or close to the sentence that includes the quotation [or, in some disciplines, in a footnote]. Quoting Clear and Concise Language You should quote a source when its language is particularly clear and economical - when your language, by contrast, would be wordy.

Read this passage from a text on biology:. The honeybee colony, which usually has a population of 30, to 40, workers, differs from that of the bumblebee and many other social bees or wasps in that it survives the winter. This means that the bees must stay warm despite the cold. Within the wintering hive, bees maintain their temperature by clustering together in a dense ball; the lower the temperature, the denser the cluster.

The clustered bees produce heat by constant muscular movements of their wings, legs, and abdomens. In very cold weather, the bees on the outside of the cluster keep moving toward the center, while those in the core of the cluster move to the colder outside periphery. The entire cluster moves slowly about on the combs, eating the stored honey from the combs as it moves. A summary of this paragraph might read as follows:. Honeybees, unlike many other varieties of bee, are able to live through the winter by "clustering together in a dense ball" for body warmth.

A paraphrase of the same passage would be considerably more detailed:. Honeybees, unlike many other varieties of bee such as bumblebees , are able to live through the winter. The 30, to 40, bees within a honeybee hive could not, individually, move about in cold winter temperatures.

But when "clustering together in a dense ball," the bees generate heat by constantly moving their body parts.

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The cluster also moves slowly about the hive, eating honey stored in the combs. This nutrition, in addition to the heat generated by the cluster, enables the honeybee to survive the cold winter months. In both the summary and the paraphrase we've quoted Curtis's "clustering together in a dense ball," a phrase that lies at the heart of her description of wintering honeybees.

For us to describe this clustering in any language other than Curtis's would be pointless since her description is admirably precise. Quoting Authoritative Language You will also want to use quotations that lend authority to your work. When quoting an expert or some prominent political, artistic, or historical figure, you elevate your own work by placing it in esteemed company.

Quote respected figures to establish background information in a paper, and your readers will tend to perceive that information as reliable. Quote the opinions of respected figures to endorse some statement that you've made, and your statement becomes more credible to your readers. For example, in an essay that you might write on the importance of reading well, you could make use of a passage from Thoreau's Walden :.

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Reading well is hard work and requires great skill and training. It "is a noble exercise," writes Henry David Thoreau in Walden, "and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.

By quoting a famous philosopher and essayist on the subject of reading, you add legitimacy to your discussion. Not only do you regard reading to be a skill that is both difficult and important; so too does Henry David Thoreau, one of our most influential American thinkers. The quotation has elevated the level of your work. You can also quote to advantage well-respected figures who've written or spoken about the subject of your paper. Here is a discussion of space flight.

Author David Chandler refers to a physicist and an astronaut:. A few scientists - notably James Van Allen, discoverer of the Earth's radiation belts - have decried the expense of the manned space program and called for an almost exclusive concentration on unmanned scientific exploration instead, saying this would be far more cost-effective. Other space scientists dispute that idea. Joseph Allen, physicist and former shuttle astronaut, says, "It seems to be argued that one takes away from the other.

But before there was a manned space program, the funding on space science was zero. Note, first, that in the first paragraph Chandler has either summarized or used an Indirect quotation to incorporate remarks made by James Van Allen into the discussion on space flight.

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In the second paragraph, Chandler directly quotes his next source, Joseph Allen. Both quotations, indirect and direct, lend authority and legitimacy to the article, for both James Van Allen and Joseph Allen are experts on the subject of space flight. Note also that Chandler has provided brief but effective biographies of his sources, identifying both so that their qualifications to speak on the subject are known to all:.

James Van Allen, discoverer of the Earth's radiation belts Joseph Allen, physicist and former shuttle astronaut The phrases in italics are called appositives. Their function is to rename the nouns they follow by providing explicit, identifying detail. Any information about a person that can be expressed in the following sentence pattern can be made into an appositive phrase:. James Van Allen is the discoverer of the Earth's radiation belts. James Van Allen has decried the expense of the manned space program. James Van Allen, discoverer of the Earth's radiation belts , has decried the expense of the manned space program.

Use appositives to identify authors whom you quote. Incorporating Quotations into Your Sentences. Quoting Only the Part of a Sentence or Paragraph That You Need As you've seen, a writer selects passages for quotation that are especially vivid and memorable, concise, or authoritative.

Now we will put these principles into practice. Suppose that while conducting research on the topic of college sports you've come across the following, written by Robert Hutchins, former president of the University of Chicago:. If athleticism is bad for students, players, alumni and the public, it is even worse for the colleges and universities themselves. They want to be educational institutions, but they can't. The story of the famous halfback whose only regret, when he bade his coach farewell, was that he hadn't learned to read and write is probably exaggerated.

But we must admit that pressure from trustees, graduates, "friends," presidents and even professors has tended to relax academic standards. These gentry often overlook the fact that a college should not be interested in a fullback who is a half-wit. Recruiting, subsidizing and the double educational standard cannot exist without the knowledge and the tacit approval, at least, of the colleges and universities themselves.

Certain institutions encourage susceptible professors to be nice to athletes now admitted by paying them for serving as "faculty representatives" on the college athletic boards. Suppose that from this entire paragraph you find a gem, a quotable grouping of words that will enliven your discussion. You may want to quote part of the following sentence:.

Incorporating the Quotation into the Flow of Your Own Sentence Once you've selected the passage you want to quote, work the material into your paper in as natural and fluid a manner as possible. Here's how we would quote Hutchins:. Robert Hutchins, a former president of the University of Chicago, asserts that "a college should not be interested in a fullback who is a half-wit.

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Note that we've used an appositive to identify Hutchins. And we've used only the part of the paragraph - a single clause - that we thought memorable enough to quote directly. Avoiding Freestanding Quotations A quoted sentence should never stand by itself - as in the following example:. Various people associated with the university admit that the pressures of athleticism have caused a relaxation of standards. Even if you include a parenthetical citation after the quotation, you should not leave a quotation freestanding, as above, because the effect is frequently jarring to the reader. Introduce the quotation by attributing the source in some other part of the sentence - beginning, middle, or end.


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Thus, you could write:. According to Robert Hutchins, "These gentry often overlook the fact that a college should not be interested in a fullback who is a half-wit. Another alternative is to introduce a sentence-long quotation with a colon:. But Robert Hutchins disagrees: "These gentry often overlook the fact that a college should not be interested in a fullback who is a half-wit.

Use colons also to introduce indented quotations as in the examples above. When attributing sources, try to vary the standard "states," "writes," "says," and so on. Other, stronger verbs you might consider: "asserts," "argues," "maintains," "insists," "asks," and even "wonders. Using Ellipsis Marks Using quotations is made somewhat complicated when you want to quote the beginning and end of a passage but not its middle - as was the case when we quoted Henry David Thoreau. Here's part of the paragraph in Walden from which we quoted a few sentences:.

To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader more than any exercise which the customs of the day esteem. It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life to this object. And here was how we used this material:. Whenever you quote a sentence but delete words from it, as we have done, indicate this deletion to the reader by placing an ellipsis mark, three spaced periods, in the sentence at the point of deletion.

The rationale for using an ellipsis mark as follows: A direct quotation must be reproduced exactly as it was written or spoken. When writers delete or change any part of the quoted material, readers must be alerted so they don't think that the changes were part of the original.

Ellipsis marks and brackets serve this purpose. If you are deleting the middle of a single sentence, use an ellipsis in place of the deleted words:. If you are deleting the end of a quoted sentence, or if you are deleting entire sentences of a paragraph before continuing a quotation, add one additional period and place the ellipsis after the last word you are quoting, so that you have four in all:. Low-income developing thesis statement banking markets present a prodigious a thesis will wiki opportunity for the world's wealthiest companies -- to seek their fortunes and bring prosperity to the aspiring developing thesis statement banking poor.

For advice on developing an argumentative essay, see. I feel thesis the sans opentype like this could be little developing thesis statement banking fresher and more personal. Here you can find the best MBA thesis topics in finance. School - Salford Business School.

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