Friday, October 11, 2013

What is a Thesis?

A thesis is a specific, provable, debatable assertion (not a statement of the obvious).

  • Assertion: Something you state as true
  • Specific: Your assertion involves a highly focused statement
  • Provable: Your assertion can be supported with numerous examples from the text, at the same time, not flatly contradicted by other examples in the text, which you might choose to ignore. It needs to be specific enough to prove in a few pages.
  • Debatable: Your assertion provokes viable, intelligent arguments on the opposite side, and it's not a statement of the obvious (addresses the "so what" question). One way to make sure your thesis is debatable is to write it out, then create its "antithesis" that contradicts the original. Does the antithesis sound like a statement of the obvious? If it does, then so is your thesis. The best thesis digs beneath the obvious stereotypes and observations to something deeper.

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