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January 11, 2010

Thesis Statements

Filed under: Students — Jessica Ellison @ 3:22 pm

So, you’ve narrowed your topic, done some preliminary research, and decided to present via exhibit board. What’s next? One of the most important aspects of your History Day project is the thesis statement. Why? Because the thesis statement holds the entire project together. If judges were to only read your thesis statement, would it make the central argument of your project? What exactly is a thesis statement? Thesis = Topic + Theme + Impact. The thesis statement is not for introducing your project, but creating an argument that expresses your topic’s significance and demonstrates how the theme, “Innovation in History: Impact and Change” plays the central part of your project.

When is the best time to write your thesis statement? Thesis statements are always a work- in-progress among students. You may think you have your thesis statement together but then gather information that turns your project in a different direction. You may have many different thesis statements and that is okay, however, by the time you present your project, you should have your thesis concrete and supported with evidence. Let’s take a look at a “Don’t” and “Do” example:

Don’t: Television helped John F. Kennedy win the 1960 election.

The problem with this thesis is that it is lacking specific information and there is no concrete evidence to support the claim.

Do: Television was a new communication tool widely available during the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator John F. Kennedy’s innovative use of this mass medium, particularly in the televised presidential debates, helped secure him the presidency over Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy’s victory marked a new era of political campaigning and change the way Americans understand and receive their political candidates.

Also make sure to work the theme words into your thesis statement, judges love that… :)

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