Thesis Essay Outlines

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Thesis Statement Guide Development Tool

Follow the steps below to formulate a thesis statement. All cells must contain text.

1. State your topic.

2. State your opinion/main idea about this topic.
This will form the heart of your thesis. An effective statement will

  • express one major idea.
  • name the topic and assert something specific about it.
  • be a more specific statement than the topic statement above.
  • take a stance on an issue about which reasonable people might disagree.
  • state your position on or opinion about the issue.

3. Give the strongest reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

4. Give another strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

5. Give one more strong reason or assertion that supports your opinion/main idea.

6. Include an opposing viewpoint to your opinion/main idea, if applicable. This should be an argument for the opposing view that you admit has some merit, even if you do not agree with the overall viewpoint.

7. Provide a possible title for your essay.




Thesis Statement Guide Results

Thesis Statement Model #1: Sample Thesis Statement

Parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #2: Thesis with Concession

Notice that this model makes a concession by addressing an argument from the opposing viewpoint first, and then uses the phrase "even though" and states the writer's opinion/main idea as a rebuttal.

Even though television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Thesis Statement Model #3: Thesis with Reasons

Here, the use of "because" reveals the reasons behind the writer's opinion/main idea.

parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Thesis Statement Model #4: Thesis with Concession and Reasons

This model both makes a concession to opposing viewpoint and states the reasons/arguments for the writer's main idea.

While television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it inhibits social interaction, shortens children's attention spans, and isn't always intellectually stimulating.

Remember: These thesis statements are generated based on the answers provided on the form. Use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like. Your ideas and the results are anonymous and confidential. When you build a thesis statement that works for you, ensure that it addresses the assignment. Finally, you may have to rewrite the thesis statement so that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct.

Thesis Statement Guide: Sample Outline

Use the outline below, which is based on the five–paragraph essay model, when drafting a plan for your own essay. This is meant as a guide only, so we encourage you to revise it in a way that works best for you.

Introductory Paragraph

Start your introduction with an interesting "hook" to reel your reader in. An introduction can begin with a rhetorical question, a quotation, an anecdote, a concession, an interesting fact, or a question that will be answered in your paper. The idea is to begin broadly and gradually bring the reader closer to the main idea of the paper. At the end of the introduction, you will present your thesis statement. The thesis statement model used in this example is a thesis with reasons.

Even though television can be educational , parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans, it inhibits social interaction, and it is not always intellectually stimulating

Paragraph #1

First, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch because it shortens children's attention spans.

Notice that this Assertion is the first reason presented in the thesis statement. Remember that the thesis statement is a kind of "mapping tool" that helps you organize your ideas, and it helps your reader follow your argument. In this body paragraph, after the Assertion, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #2

Additionally, it inhibits social interaction.

The first sentence of the second body paragraph should reflect an even stronger Assertion to support the thesis statement. Generally, the second point listed in the thesis statement should be developed here. Like with the previous paragraph, include any evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports this point after the Assertion. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Paragraph #3

Finally, the most important reason parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch is it is not always intellectually stimulating.

Your strongest point should be revealed in the final body paragraph. Also, if it's appropriate, you can address and refute any opposing viewpoints to your thesis statement here. As always, include evidence–a quotation, statistic, data–that supports your strongest point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement.

Concluding Paragraph

Indeed, while television can be educational, parents should regulate the amount of television their children watch.

Rephrase your thesis statement in the first sentence of the conclusion. Instead of summarizing the points you just made, synthesize them. Show the reader how everything fits together. While you don't want to present new material here, you can echo the introduction, ask the reader questions, look to the future, or challenge your reader.

Remember: This outline is based on the five–paragraph model. Expand or condense it according to your particular assignment or the size of your opinion/main idea. Again, use the Thesis Statement Guide as many times as you like, until you reach a thesis statement and outline that works for you.

3. Creating a Thesis Statement & Outline

I.What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is usually a sentence that states your argument to the reader. It usually appears in the first paragraph of an essay.

II. Why do I need to write a thesis statement for a paper?

Your thesis statement states what you will discuss in your essay. Not only does it define the scope and focus of your essay, it also tells your reader what to expect from the essay.

A thesis statement can be very helpful in constructing the outline of your essay.

Also, your instructor may require a thesis statement for your paper.

III. How do I create a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is not a statement of fact. It is an assertive statement that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence. It should be the product of research and your own critical thinking. There are different ways and different approaches to write a thesis statement. Here are some steps you can try to create a thesis statement:

1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.

Example: youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs

2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence.

Example: Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities.

3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.

Example: Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.

4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.

Example: Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.

IV. Can I revise the thesis statement in the writing process?

Sure. In fact, you should keep the thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information that falls outside the scope of your original plan and want to incorporate it into your paper. Or you probably understand your thoughts more and shift the focus of your paper. Then you will need to revise your thesis statement while you are writing the paper.

V. Why do I need to make an outline when I already have a thesis statement?

An outline is the "road map" of your essay in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay.

VI. How do I make an outline?

You list all the major topics and subtopics with key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order.

Include an Introduction, a Body, and a Conclusion in your outline. You can make an outline in a list format or a chart format.

Next Chapter: 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources

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