Follow the steps I have set forth for your sample thesis statement.
“So, Students Don’t Learn—Now What?”
Inside Higher Ed January 20, 2011
What Is Effective about This Article:
1) Title – grabs your attention right away. As a college professor, I want to know why students aren’t learning. 2) Audience awareness — it is absolutely relevant to a college audience, to students and professors alike. 3) Cultural context — at a university, the culture is geared toward students and faculty. Further, there is a lot of talk in the media right now about the cost and benefit of a college education. 4) Rhetorical strategies used – logos (reference to the book and its authors), ethos (Grasgreen’s personal experience)
What Is Ineffective about This Article:
1) Logos – lack of evidence about the subject. She really only used the book and interviews so that it reads more like an opinionated book review than an argument. 2) Writing style – She uses particularly long sentences, which is often considered to be ineffective for a larger audience. 3) Word choice – It is clear that she is almost too aware of her particular audience and her word choice reflects that. She is not considering the larger ramifications of her work.
THESIS: THE QUESTION
Consider the question you should ask all the articles for a rhetorical analysis:
How is this article an effective or ineffective argument?
THESIS: THE ANSWER
Now come up with potential answers:
A: Effective: 1) Title – why are we not learning? 2) Audience awareness—relevant to students 3) Cultural context—students overall 4) Rhetorical strategies – logos (reference to the book and its authors), ethos (Grasgreen’s experience)
1) Logos – evidence about the subject (only really used the book and interviews) 2) Writing style – long sentences 3) Word choice – was only for a particular audience
THESIS: THE “SO WHAT”
(that is, consider your potentially hostile reader asking, “So what? Why should I care?”)
Why should your reader care?
Well, what if your reader is not in the collegiate environment?
POTENTIAL SO WHAT:
Had Grasgreen researched her topic more completely and considered a broader audience, her article would appeal to readers outside of academia, as well.
THESIS: ALL TOGETHER NOW
Put it all together into an argumentative thesis statement, emphasis on
ARGUMENTATIVE and STATEMENT.
Change the question into not-a-question!
In Allie Grasgreen’s article, “So,…