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3-Point Thesis


A 3-point thesis argues a perspective on a given subject and divides that argument into three major components, each of which supports the argument in a different way. Students may beneficially write 3-point theses for their academic work in the humanities and other disciplines that value strong argumentation; on the other hand, students who are writing expository theses or theses that report on primary research, such as the results of an original scientific experiment, may not benefit as greatly from organizing the text into three points, because they do not have to rely as strongly on rhetoric and persuasion.

Students who are writing argumentative or persuasive theses do well to write 3-point theses, because three is the strongest number of supporting points for any argument: if one uses too few points, the argument appears weak, but if one uses too many points, he or she appears to be scrambling for any evidence that can possibly support the argument. A 3-point thesis, on the other hand, offers the reader a full but compact and pleasingly selective system of argumentation.

Students who choose to write 3-point theses should perform the majority of their research before resolving it into three solid categories through which to support the thesis's idea. After conducting the research, students should clearly identify their own conclusions and then choose the three aspects of the research that best support those conclusions. Next, they should write working thesis statements that incorporate each of those three points. In writing the body of the 3-point thesis, then, a student should discuss each point in turn and should only use research that clearly relates to that point; however, he or she should not exclude relevant sources that disagree with the thesis's idea but should rather introduce those sources and explain why their premises do not undermine the thesis's idea. This strategy shows that the writer has carefully considered opposing positions but still believes his or her own position to be the most valid.


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