Strong and Weak Thesis Statements

Let us examine some strong and weak thesis statement examples provided by universities to grasp a better perspective on thesis statement writing.

1. Texas A&M University at Qatar, The Oasis, Office of Academic Supplemental Instruction Services.1

Weak
a) Going to school is important.

b) Traveling around the world is exciting.

Strong
a) Researching and visiting universities before making a final decision is very beneficial because you will be able to experience the campus, meet the professors, and truly understand the traditions of the university.

b) Because the internet is filled with many advertising and marketing opportunities, people should utilize it to expand their home based businesses and build their customer base.

2. Idaho State University (ISU) Writing Center.2

Weak
College students shouldn’t have to take a required core curriculum, and many core courses are graded too stiffly.
(These are two different issues, so the writer has to choose one.)

Strong
College students shouldn’t have to take a required core curriculum.

Weak
The technological changes of the last hundred years have been amazing.
(This is a huge topic, covering everything from genetically modified foods in India to the Ipod. Choose one kind of technology or one perspective.)

Strong
Over the last 20 years, changes in technology have made a profound difference in the way American college students communicate.

Weak
Drunk driving is a serious problem with long-lasting consequences.
(Does anyone not believe that drunk driving is serious? Since all that’s really argued about is how to stop it, that’s what a paper on the topic should focus on.)

Strong
An offender’s driver’s license should be automatically suspended after a drunk driving conviction.

3. Introduction to Research – A Step by Step Guide, Shannon Nelson Betts, MSL, MAT, Reference Librarian, Post University, Waterbury, CT.3

Weak
The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different.
(Vague, reads like a restatement of a writing prompt with no critical thinking in evidence – leads reader to wonder, “What were the reasons?”)

Strong
While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government.
(Proposes specific reasons for which the North and South fought the war – sets the stage for a compare/contrast essay)

Weak
Many people in the world are victims of stereotyping.
(Vague, no controversy or tension)

Strong
Prejudgments are harmful because they limit the lives of the stereotyped individual and the person doing the stereotyping.
(Is now more specific, can be argued with evidence showing the effects of stereotyping).

Weak
This paper will first suggest qualities essential to a good corporate manager and then discuss how those qualities contribute to overall management style.
(Merely provides a “roadmap” but no controversy or tension).

Strong
Character qualities that make corporate managers successful often make their management styles ineffective.
(Provides both a “roadmap” to the author’s paper and a controversial argument.)

Sources:

1. http://oasis.qatar.tamu.edu/assets/PDFs/Thesis_Statement_Handout.pdf
2. http://www.isu.edu/success/writing/handouts/thesis.pdf
3. http://www.post.edu/maincampus/library/Introduction%20to%20%20Research.pdf

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