When is a thesis considered weak?
A well-developed thesis statement should clearly and concisely communicate the main point, purpose, or argument of a paper. A weak thesis may be unfocused, incomplete, or inaccurate in some way. Building a focused, accurate thesis can be a challenge, but revising a weak thesis to make it complete and insightful will strengthen the paper’s foundation.
How can a weak thesis be revised to make it stronger and more insightful?
- Avoid asking a question: Clearly state a purpose or position rather than posing a question.
- Weak: Should schools require students to take Physical Education courses or play a school sport?
- Revised: A productive form of physical activity should be offered by schools to encourage healthy exercise habits and to lower childhood obesity rates.
- Avoid making a statement of fact or accepted knowledge: Establish a thesis that is arguable, and state the how or why of the position clearly.
- Weak: Taking affirmative action is a way to confront discrimination.
- Revised: Taking affirmative action is still necessary today to confront discrimination and ensure fair representation of gender and ethnicity within universities and workplaces.
- Avoid simply stating an opinion: A thesis should state a position that is supported by reliable evidence.
- Weak: Marijuana should not be legalized because smoking it is morally wrong.
- Revised: Marijuana should not be legalized because research has shown that its use negatively affects brain cells, compromises the user’s judgment, and can become addictive.
- Avoid vague statements: Replace vague terms with relevant details that address the who, what, where, when, why, and/or how of the thesis.
- Weak: Teenagers have things easier than in the past due to several advancements in society.
- Revised: Today’s teenagers can access information quickly and easily due to technological advancements such as the wide availability of computers, high-speed Internet connections, and electronically searchable databases.
- Avoid including conflicting ideas and unnecessary information: Focus consistently on one main idea and include only relevant details that support your idea.
- Weak: Providing iPads for each student is probably an unrealistic goal because damaging cuts are being made to educational spending, but this new technology should be provided as it is a useful tool for teaching students several skills.
- Revised: Public schools should provide an iPad for each student because the device can be used as a helpful teaching tool in a variety of subject areas.
How should a thesis be developed?
- e. g., unwanted teen pregnancy
The main point, purpose, or argument
- e. g., incidence can be reduced
The how or why of the purpose or argument
- e. g., by providing support for abstinence programs, increasing funding for sex education, and making contraceptives more accessible to teens
Example of a well-developed thesis:
The incidence of unwanted teen pregnancies can be reduced by providing support for abstinence programs, increasing funding for sex education, and making contraceptives more accessible to teens.