The Thesis

[The header image from DAM's song "Who You R."]

The Thesis

Within the broad theme(s) you've chosen, you will be making a specific argument. Imagine that your project is a regular scholarly paper: what argument or thesis would be at the center of that paper? What is the message, idea, or point you want to convey to your audience?

Like a regular scholarly paper, your project will have a thesis and make an argument. As when you write a paper, it will probably take you some time to figure out exactly what your main point is.

As you think about what your main point is or should be, I recommend you think seriously about your audience.

What is obvious to your audience?
What ideas are new to them?
What ideas are so new as to be impossible or confusing?
What do they think now and what do you want them to think or understand after they engage your project?
How can you balance between the two to craft your message as convincing and important?

In general, when you are trying to explain something to someone, you need to balance old and new information (based on their understandings). Too much old information and they will bored. Too much new information and they will be overwhelmed or feel stupid.

With your audience, and their sense of old and new information in mind, what do you want to make your project's central claim?
You can test this question by asking if it is a claim you must use evidence to support. Notice that this is different than what your project is about, which can be much more general.

Some examples:
In my project about school dress codes, I argue that the existing code is both sexist and racist.
In my project about medical care, I argue that all doctors and nurses should have additional training to appropriately care for trans patients.
In my project about suffrage and citizenship, I argue that Indigenous people's rights (and lack thereof) fundamentally contradict shared definitions of democracy.
In my project about pop culture, I argue that anime conventions create space to playfully challenge social norms.

Your project does not necessarily have to include any statement as explicit as these, but your central claim and main thesis must be very apparent to your audience.

As always, Prof. Alexy and your GSI are happy to talk your ideas over with you.