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ANTH 495: Anthropology Capstone

Research Guide for the Capstone Course in Anthropology

Writing your thesis statement

A strong thesis statement is refutable and specific. It makes a new point about theory or examines how two ideas relate in a new way. I adapts or critiques someone else's argument. Strong research thesis statements are:

  • Specific: talk about a specific idea rather than a broad theme, the more concrete the better. 
  • Text-based: your argument should arise from the text, your interview, or ethnographic research; it should not be an imposition of your own personal moral or ethical views. Don't cast judgment on the social actors.
  • Unified: be sure that you're arguing one thing, and avoid bifurcated thesis statements.
  • Not too obvious: your paper should point out something that isn't immediately obvious to someone without a close examination of the texts or ethnographic data. Make sure that what you're writing about demands that a paper be written about it.
  • Refutable: it should be possible to come up with a reasonable and valid counter argument to your thesis statement.


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