For students composing writing for class, the reality of articulating their argument can be a particular challenge.Below, we offer some tips for instructors looking to help students find and state their argument confidently and convincingly.This list is typical of checklists on this topic, with much good advice, but without the practice activity that will help students apply the advice.
In a DBQ (Document-Based Question) essay, the thesis must also be one the primary sources can support.
Finally, if the thesis is clear enough, it should suggest a structure for the entire essay, one that will deal with all key facets of the question or problem posed.
In this way, a thesis serves as the essay’s road map, as something that can help guide the reader through the text.
Offer students examples of the kinds of arguments they can make in their essays.
So readers are left knowing what the writer thinks about a topic without having a sense of why the writer thinks the way he or she does.
We try to emphasize to writers that they must explain “why” they think they way they do about a given topic, issue, problem.
On a related note, students might have problems differentiating a thesis statement that takes a clear position from a thesis statement that is, in reality, a statement of fact.
To help writers make this distinction, we often ask them to consider whether their thesis has a counterargument—whether their thesis could be disagreed with or altered in some way.
Though many thesis statements don’t include the word “because,” a thesis using this word can serve as an example of answering the “why” part of the question.
We sometimes use the example of a lawyer in court arguing on behalf of a client.