Outcome: Thesis

Analyze thesis ideas of texts

Being able to identify the purpose and thesis of a text, while you’re reading it, takes practice. This section will offer you that practice.

cat in front of an open book, being held in the lap of a woman in the background

Questioning the text you’re reading is a good place to start. When trying to isolate the thesis, or main idea, of your reading material, consider these questions:

  • What is the primary subject of this text?
  • Is the author trying to inform me, or persuade me?
  • What does the author think I need to know about this subject?
  • Why does the author think I need to know about this subject?

Sometimes the answer to these questions will be very clearly stated in the text itself. Sometimes it is less obvious, and in those cases, the techniques on the following pages will be useful.

Learning Goals

In this chapter, you will

  • learn about explicit and implicit  thesis statements in texts
  • learn how to identify the topic, thesis and topic sentences in texts
  • consider strategies for using thesis statements to predict the content of texts