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Practical Application: Developing a Thesis Statement from Your Speech Topic

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

Developing a thesis statement is perhaps the most important aspect of speech writing. Here you will have a chance to practice this skill and create effective thesis statements.

The Thesis Statement

When most students hear the instruction write a thesis statement, oftentimes panic ensues. Questions arise like, ''What should my thesis statement contain?'', ''How do I write one?'', and ''How can I possibly focus my topic into just one sentence?''

This is a normal reaction, but in reality developing a thesis statement is not as intimidating as it might at first seem.

If you have read the lesson Developing a Thesis Statement from Your Speech Topic, then you already know what a thesis statement is and have some tips for writing one. To review, a thesis statement is a one sentence summary of your speech. It should include your overall topic and the main ideas you will cover in your speech.

Some of the tips described in that lesson include being concise, listing your main ideas, avoiding unrelated ideas, and avoiding incomplete or broad ideas. You should also never have a question as your thesis.

Here, you will have a chance to practice writing thesis statements for various topics.

Speech Topics

Let's begin by looking at some sample topics. Choose three of the following topics. For each one, brainstorm some main ideas you would cover if you were writing a speech on that topic.

  • Drug use in the USA
  • Immigration and/or refugees
  • Universal healthcare
  • DNA evidence at crime scenes
  • Women in the military
  • Alternative fuels
  • Genetically modified crops
  • Childhood obesity
  • Internet crimes
  • Environmental protections
  • Caffeine in our society
  • The treatment of the homeless
  • The role of marriage in today's society
  • How humor can heal

For the three topics you chose, double check your list of main ideas. Are any of them unrelated? Do you have too many? More than three main ideas is probably too many. If you do have more than three, try to narrow it down to the most important main ideas only.

The final step is to look over the main ideas for each topic and write a thesis statement you could use for a speech.

Effective Thesis Statements

How did you do? Do you think your thesis statements are strong and concise? Would each one help you to focus your speech on that given topic?

Look over each thesis statement and check for any of the pitfalls. Be sure each one outlines the main ideas you will cover in the speech, none are questions, all ideas are related, and the statement is not too vague.

To help you evaluate what you created, here are some sample thesis statements for several of the topics listed above.

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