Topic vs. Thesis: What's the Difference?
A topic can be defined as the issue you are
going to address in your essay; it is the subject the essay focuses on (e.g., hunger in Applachia).
A thesis can be defined as what you are
going to say about this issue – what
you think, and why you think it (e.g., Hunger in Appalachia has become a problem because of poor soil for farming and lack of state and government resources).
Your topic and thesis should appear in different sentences in your introduction; your topic should be introduced first, while your thesis should be developed out of your topic.
Hunger is currently a major problem for people in Appalachia, specifically in southeast Ohio. Home to some of the poorest counties in the state, southeast Ohio frequently tops the state's poverty list. Southeastern Ohio was even feautred on Dateline NBC's "Friends and Neighbors" series, a show that covered the region for nine months in order to capture the impact of the recession on what were once farming and mining communities. Although there are people in southeast Ohio who attempt to farm, the soil in many places is nutrient-deficient and unable to bear large amounts of crops. The mining industry has all but left the region. In addition, there amount of people turning to food pantries and other local services for help has grown to the point where the services can't keep up with the needs of the population. Hunger in southeastern Ohio has become an issue for concern, because jobs are scarce and services for the needy are overwhelmed.
What is the topic of this essay? What might be the thesis?
Strong Thesis vs. Weak Thesis
A strong thesis makes a claim that:
(1) requires proof
(2) offers some point about the significance of your evidence that would not have been immediately
obvious to your readers.
Elements of a Strong Thesis
A weak thesis makes a claim that does not need proving.
Elements of a Weak Thesis
(1) Makes no claim
(2) Is obviously true or a statement of fact
(3) Is cliche
(4) Offers personal opinion as the basis for the claim (begins with "I think" or "I believe")
(5) Makes a claim that is too broad for the scope of the essay