Discussion: Thesis Statements and Supporting Claims Assignment

Select a reading from The Conversation website. Use the categories at the top of the page or the search bar to find something that sounds interesting to you. Include the URL to the website in your post.

First, read through the article and get a feel for what it’s about. Write a sentence about the main message of the article. After writing this sentence, go back to the text. Is there a sentence in the text that says something very similar to what you wrote down? This is likely the thesis statement.

STEP 1: Identify this reading’s thesis. Is it an explicit or implicit thesis? If it’s explicit, include the sentence from the text as a quote that you identify as the thesis. If it’s implicit, describe why you feel the author chose not to put an explicit thesis in the work. Describe your thoughts about it—is it a good thesis statement?

STEP 2: Next, write a paragraph that describes how the thesis relates to the topic sentences of at least two of the paragraphs. Include 2 topic sentences as quotes, and explain each’s relationship to the thesis.

STEP 3: Write a paragraph that identifies the type of support that each paragraph from the reading uses to reinforce each of those 2 topic sentences. Are they narrative or personal examples? Are they facts or statistics? Are they quotes or paraphrases from research materials? What makes them effective or ineffective?

STEP 4: Respond in a separate post to at least one classmate (in at least 75 words). Explicitly address their examples and try to extend, complicate, or redirect their points in a substantive, knowledge-demonstrating way. Be sure to cite relevant concepts and key terms from the module.


Sample Grading Rubric
Criteria Proficient Developing Not Evident Points
Thesis Correctly identifies the thesis statement, identifies if it is explicit or implicit, and analyzes its effectiveness Does not correctly identify or describe the thesis statement Does not attempt to find the thesis statement __/5
Topic Sentences Identifies at least two topic sentences from the essay and explains how they connect to the overall thesis. Identifies just one topic sentence or incorrectly finds topic sentences; does not connect topic sentences to thesis Missing topic sentences and explanation __/5
Support Includes an analysis of the claims that support the topic sentences in a paragraph. Includes specific examples of types of evidence and a discussion of what makes them effective. Does not analyze the claims made in a paragraph or connect how the claims support the topic sentences. Missing explanation of claims __/5
Discussion Posts the article URL and comments inside the discussion forum, then returns to discussion to comment in a substantive way on at least one other post in at least 75 words. Posts discussion and offers incomplete response to classmate. Does not comment on another post. __/5
Total: __/20