Good Boss Versus Bad Boss

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What Makes a Thesis Statement Strong?

|Criteria for a Good Thesis (From Martin Maner’s The Research Process, 2nd | |Arguable: |The thesis should express an idea that can be doubted. | |Clear: |The thesis should use precise, unambiguous language, and thus it should contain no metaphors, similes, or | | |other figures of speech. | |Predictive: |The thesis should predict the paper’s plan of development, usually by mentioning the paper’s main subtopics| | |in order of appearance. | | |(Using transitions and pair conjunctions) | |Original: |The thesis should be original (at least to some degree). |

Useful Questions

• Does the thesis inspire a reasonable reader to ask “how” or “why”? (arguable) • Would a reasonable reader not respond with “huh”? (clear) • Does the thesis lead the reader toward the topic sentences or subtopics needed to prove the thesis? (predictive) • Does the thesis avoid general phrasing and/or sweeping words such as "all" or "none" or "every"? (narrow) • Can the thesis be adequately developed in the required length of the paper or project? (narrow) • Would a reasonable reader not respond with “duh” or “so why”? (original)

Analyzing Thesis Statements

Instruction: For each group, circle the thesis statement that is the strongest. Be ready to explain why you think the statements are weak or strong.

1. A. Electronic mail has affected our society since its invention.
B. TV can be terrible for young children.
C. Electronic mail has had many negative effects on our communication styles since its invention.

2. A. Although the Internet is a valuable tool for many people, it needs to be censored and controlled.
B. As the Internet is becoming increasingly significant in our society, there is an urgent need to establish laws and policies to protect the young and the innocent.
C. There are two reasons why the Internet must be controlled.

3. A. I want to give my opinion on the national law that sets 21 as the legal age to drink
alcohol and the reasons I feel this way.
B. To reduce the number of highway fatalities, our country needs to enforce the national law that designates 25 as the legal minimum age to purchase and consume alcohol.

C. The legal minimum age for purchasing alcohol should be 25 instead of 21. 4. A. In my opinion, taking courses that are held in big lecture halls is stupid.
B. Large lecture classes provide a poor environment for students who learn best through
interaction with both teachers and peers.
C. Large lecture classes are bad for two reasons.

5. A. Because of its complicated processes, the Parking Permit system at this college
discourages students from applying for one.
B. The Parking Permit system at this college should be completely revised. C. When you apply for a Parking Permit, you will find out how complicated it is.

6. A. Living in an apartment for the first time can teach you many things about taking care of yourself.
B. College students should take the opportunity to live in an apartment because the experience can teach you a number of things. C. By living in an apartment, freshmen can learn valuable lessons in financial planning and and time management.

7. A. My thesis states that the federal government should devote more money to solar energy...
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