When a student doesn't provide an explicit thesis statement, eachcommittee member will infer a thesis statement that aligns withhis or her prejudices, and then, some day, the student will have to defendsix theses instead of one.
She provides the results of a study in which over 270 faculty from ten major disciplines��spanning the sciences, social sciences, and humanities��were asked to make explicit their implicit standards or criteria for evaluating dissertations. The book concludes with a summary of the practical and research implications for different stakeholders: faculty, departments, universities, disciplinary associations, accrediting organizations, and doctoral students themselves.
A well-structured essay presents an explicit thesis early on, ..
Instructor's Explanation of the Strategies She's Using in Her Comment
In this response, I refer to several previous conversations in order to engage Jenny in this over‑arching, meta‑sequencing conversation I've been describing: I refer to issues she's raised in her note; I refer to an example paper we've looked at together as a class (the "E.R." paper); I use language that occurs on handouts ( "As the handout says", "readerly"); and I use language that arose in a class discussion (a student had described a conclusion he liked as a "call to action" conclusion). Most importantly, the first words of each suggestion are written as "basic" principles, in short phrases with action verbs ("Give your reader an explicit thesis," "Make readerly transitions," "Conclude with strength"). I've found this "principle" approach to be extremely valuable: the principles contribute to the sequencing discussion by giving the students a language to describe what they are working on.