When I was a writing tutor at College of Alameda Learning Resource Center, the head of the English Department came up with a model for a thesis statement. It’s appeal for me was not that a student could fill in the blanks and create a thesis—if putting complex thoughts into words was only that simple—but that it presented a handle; a way to pick up a rhetorical device, turn it around and look at it, and identify the different parts and discuss how they’re related.
Here is Professor Nelson’s model for a basic thesis statement: Something is something because something, something, and something.
The first something is a noun, the second something is an adjective, and the final three somethings are the reasons why; these differentiate an argument with supporting evidence from a statement of fact.
Doodling is a way of kicking around an idea, and the model allows for doodles to expand the various elements. You can attach a scribble, realize it’s not what you want to say, and revise or discard it. For example, in front of the first something (let’s go with “Facebook”), you can attach the phrase, “Seen in the light of antitrust legislation”…You’re on your way to a thesis statement about the value (or not) of regulation when an organization won’t or can’t change from within. Jotting down your reasons will help narrow your focus and strengthen your argument.
By the way, College of Alameda has a new Center for Liberal Arts, so if you’re interested in earning an associate’s degree, check it out.
Look for my next post: the two-sentence thesis statement.