In presenting an argument, should a writer strive to be the final authority or a reasonable voice on an issue? Review Chapter 22 to understand the difference. Then, using your topic and one or more of your sources, define and provide an example of an arguable claim as opposed to a personal judgment.
Both of these thesis statements are “arguable,” meaning someone could agree or disagree with them.
Question or Open-Ended Thesis.
Occasionally you may want to hold off stating your main point, saving it for the end of the paper. In these situations, a question or open-ended thesis may be your best choice, especially if you are arguing about something controversial or making a controversial point:
What is the best way to ensure that guns are not used to commit crimes while also protecting the constitutional rights of gun owners?
The question explored in this research paper is whether teachers’ unions are beneficial or harmful to the American educational system.
The conclusion of your paper needs to clearly express your thesis statement. That way, the question or open-ended sentence you posed in your introduction is answered at the end of your paper.
In some situations, you might choose not to state your thesis explicitly. For genres that use the narrative pattern, such as memoirs, some profiles, and narrative argument papers, readers may not expect or need a thesis statement. In these situations, the author’s purpose is to move readers toward thoughtful reflection rather than to inform or persuade them about a single specific point. Other times, the author might feel the overall message will be more powerful if readers figure out the main point for themselves. If you choose not to include a thesis statement, you need to make sure the message of your text comes through for the readers, even though you aren’t stating it explicitly.
Choosing the Appropriate Genre
Once you have sketched out your topic, angle, and purpose, you can choose which genre would be appropriate for your project. The appropriate genre depends on what you are trying to do and who you are writing for. Perhaps your professor has already identified the genre by asking you to write a “review,” a “literary analysis,” a “proposal,” or a “research paper.” If so, you can turn to that chapter in this book to learn about the expectations for that genre (Chapters 4–13).
If you are allowed to choose your own genre, or if you are writing something on your own, the best way to figure out which genre would work best is to look closely at your purpose statement. Keep in mind, though, that genres are not formulas or recipes to be followed mechanically. Instead, each one reflects how people in various communities and cultures do things with words and images. They are places where people make meaning together. Figure 2.7 shows how your purpose statement can help you figure out which genre is most appropriate for your writing situation. (Paine 22-23)
Paine, Richard Johnson-Sheehan C. Writing Today, 2nd Edition. Pearson Learning Solutions, 01/2012. VitalBook file.
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