RESEARCH WRITING PROCESS

WRITING A THESIS STATEMENT

Open thesis vs. closed thesis

Open Thesis vs. Closed Thesis

Implicit Thesis vs. Explicit Thesis


The thesis is a declarative sentence. It is a clear, specific statement, which states the main point of a the paper, thereby limiting the topic and indicating the researcher’s approach to the topic. For this research paper we will be discussing the difference between the open (implicit) thesis approach, and the closed (explicit) thesis.

Open (implicit) thesis:
Let’s say you are writing a paper on the relationship between the United States criminal court system and the media. You have read on article related to this topic, but you have not yet begun your research. Still, it is possible for you to arrive at a very basic and general opinion without going into detail, secondary topics, or supporting reasons for your assertion.

Broad Topic:  The United States criminal court system and the media.

Example of an open (implicit) thesis statement:
The media plays too influential a role in criminal court trials.

To assist you in formulating your preliminary thesis, ask basic “W” questions that are related to your topic: who, what, when, where, and why? This will help you determine your particular interests and a possible starting point for your research. Based on the topic above, the following list demonstrates the different kinds of questions that can be generated.

*Why is the media involved in court cases?
*When did the media start reporting court cases?
*What is the media’s role in criminal court cases?
*What aspects of the media am I going to write about?
*What kind of criminal case is it?
*When did the case take place?
*Where did the case take place?
*Who were the people involved in the case?

If you are writing a research paper and you have come up with a long list of random questions, select three or four questions that hold the most interest for you. These questions will narrow your focus and help you to plan your research strategy.

Closed (Explicit) Thesis:
If you make an assertion and include the reason or reasons which support your assertion, and it is broad enough in scope, yet specific enough to be unified and to perform as a substantial generalization of your essay, you have written a closed thesis statement. The evidence can take many forms: facts, opinions, anecdotes, statistics, analogies, etc., but the essential relationship between the thesis and the major points of support is one of conclusion to reason:   This is believed to be true because… (reasons).

Broad Topic:  The United States criminal court system and the media.

Example of a closed (explicit) thesis:
The media plays a very influential role in criminal court trials because of their access to the
people, their bias, and because of the special privileges.

Based on the topic that YOU have chosen, ask yourself basic “W” questions that are related to YOUR topic to help you plan your research strategy and form a thesis.
(Written by Lisa Tolhurst for the Hunter College Reading/Writing Center, 1998)

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