e dissertation

Gli studenti e i docenti del corso di Ambient Intelligence sono lieti di invitarvi allo showcase pubblico dei migliori lavori di gruppo realizzati durante l’edizione 2016 del corso! I progetti di.

Wearable devices are tracking our steps, our locations, our calories, our sleep hours, and even our pets' ones. But for some categories of users, the availability of a device that.

Imagine driving your bike, as you normally do, across the city. Your Smart Bike will be able to record all interesting data around you: air quality and pollution, street conditions.

The Ambient Intelligence students are progressing with the implementation of their projects. A new website has been published, that summarized and links all available projects: https://ami-2016.github.io/ The website will also collect information about.

June 11, Fulvio Corno presented the paper "A Healthcare Support System for Assisted Living Facilities: an IoT Solution" at the audience of the "IT in Practice" symposium in the COMPSAC.

The e-Lite Research Group will participate in the 40th IEEE Computer Society International Conference on Computers, Software & Applications (COMPSAC 2016), in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 10-14, 2016. COMPSAC is the IEEE.

The students of the Ambient Intelligence course, edition 2016, are approaching the turning point: 18 projects are completing their design phase, and will soon start the implementation of the project.

The Ph.D. students of the XXVII Cycle of the Doctorate in Computer and Control Engineering will present their defense on May 16 and 17, 2016, in Meeting Room n. 4.

The e-Lite research group will participate to the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), one of the most important conference in the field of human-computer interaction. The.

e-Lite: Intelligent and Interactive Systems

The e-Lite research group develops and studies intelligent technologies applied to interactive applications. The spirit of the research is the integration of complex systems, based on the interaction between humans and technology, in which the complexity gap is managed by intelligent software components.

The main research areas are on the crossing of Human-Computer Interaction. Ubiquitous Computing. and Artificial Intelligence .

Research activities of the e-Lite group focus on designing, building and evaluating interactive and intelligent system, and testing them in realistic settings. Novel user interaction modalities, empowered by ubiquitous devices, enable the discovery of innovative methods to approach new and existing application domains. We adopt an end-to-end research approach, where we aim at exploring the whole spectrum, from devices to users, from intelligence to data representation, to develop a systemic approach.

Currently, the application area in which we are mostly active is Ambient Intelligence.

Ambient Intelligence (AmI) aims at building a digital environment where people are surrounded by intelligent and intuitive interfaces embedded in all kinds of objects. The ultimate goal of such an environment is to support people in their daily lives in a proactive, yet sensible and unobtrusive, way.
In this wide area, we mainly focus on the intelligent aspects (e.g. Machine Learning, Semantics) of the environment and on innovative interaction modalities for people, typically exploiting off-the-shelf devices and systems from the Internet of Things and Smart Home domains.

Moreover, we deserve particular attention to the Ambient Assisted Living field, in which Accessibility and Assistive Technologies meets AmI. In this domain, we experiment with novel interaction modalities for people with disabilities, with accessible games, and we build wearable and mobile systems for helping caregivers and healthcare assistants.

Check Out the Most Relevant Dissertation Topics

The best sources to look up for the stunning topics for your final paper are library and Internet. Mind that professors appreciate works based on some academic journal articles and professional researches. You will have to collect a plenty of quantitative and qualitative data if you wish to impress the committee.

In case you search for the excellent graduate work, or discover what dissertations or thesis have been composed on a particular discipline, GuruDissertation is here to help. You will find a lot of tips, recommendations, and ideas for your topic.

Planning and conducting research project is impossible without deciding on the topic. Also, it is important to focus your writing on just one narrow subject. The broader the question is, the more you risk including irrelevant information in your dissertation. The committee members usually reduce the points for wordiness, false, or irrelevant information.

Pick the Right Marketing Dissertation Topics

As far as business administration is a highly demanded field in modern education, many students strive to gain Bachelor and Master degree. To become a talented entrepreneur or learn everything about e-commerce, one has to master various business related subjects. Those are:

All of these courses are very difficult and time-demanding. We understand that students may simply lack time to proofread and edit their final drafts. But we can consult you on the best name for your dissertation topic as well as fix your mistakes. Our writers turn your drafts into the excellent papers to submit.

Which Dissertation Topic to Choose?

When you are at the stage of selecting an outstanding topic for your paper, it is critical to pay attention to several factors.

First, decide whether you have an access to the data needed for conducting your research. Attend library and credible Internet sources to check if there is enough information and statistics on the subject you wish to discuss.

Second, evaluate your own proficiency in a particular field. It is not enough to gather information when you have no idea about the subject of your observation and interpretation.

Third, assume the relevance of your topic. Then, move to the planning stage which involves such important issues as, for instance, choosing the format and structure of your project.

Most Recommended Business Dissertation Topics

The core courses of any business-related educational programs are marketing, accounting, and business law.

There are not many interesting accounting dissertation topics to choose from. But some of them may sound like “Green Accounting Policies”, “Balance Sheet Items”, “The Importance of Cash Flow Statement”, “Approaches to Improving Financial Department”, “The Correct Usage of Intellectual Capital”, “Effectiveness of Audit Committees”, etc. Despite these short titles we offer, mind that it is better to specify and expand the dissertation’s topic. Your title has to correspond to your topic, but these two elements do not necessarily have to be the same.

Law dissertation topics you might be interested in are “Trusts Law”, “Basic Human Rights and Freedoms”, “Intellectual Property Regulation”, “Rules to Obey in E-Commerce”, “Different Legal Aspects of Traditional and E-Commerce”, “European Union Regulations”, “Landing and Housing Law Nuances”, and more. The one thing you should understand to succeed with your dissertation writing is the significance of the first stage which is selecting a topic that might be attractive, up-to-date, and interesting to read.

Psychology dissertation topics may also be relevant for business students as this discipline helps to understand and interpret human behaviors. This is crucial for passing human resource management class successfully. Make sure to involve various statistics and survey results to prove your thesis. As a true manager has to be a powerful leader, it is useful study psychology.

Things to avoid when writing your dissertation:

  • Plagiarism
  • Doubtful sources
  • Irrelevant information
  • Wordiness
  • Non-academic words and unofficial format

Welcome to my web site

I am a Consultant in Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, based at Bangalore (India), with special interests and skills in:

  • Rehabilitation of Musculoskeletal Disorders, e.g. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI or Computer Related Injuries), Spinal Disorders (Neck and Back Pain), Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, Sports Injuries, Chronic Pain Conditions like Fibromyalgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Arthritis
  • Paediatric Orthopaedics
  • Limb Deformity Correction and Limb Lengthening
  • Rehabilitative Surgery for Neuromuscular Disorders (Cerebral Palsy. Spina Bifida, Poliomyelitis, etc.)
  • Backpack Injuries and Postural Problems in Children

On this web site you will find information on how to contact me or to book a consultation with me, my professional background. and publications.

Dr. Deepak Sharan

MBBS (JIPMER), MS Ortho (JIPMER), DNB Ortho, Dip. Ortho, M Sc. Orthopaedic Engineering (UK), Dip. Orthopaedic & Rehabilitation Technology (UK), Fellow, AACP&DM (USA), Fellowship in Paediatric Orthopaedics (UK & USA), Certificate in Ergonomics (Sweden)

  • Medical Director, RECOUP Neuromusculoskeletal Rehabilitation Centre. Bangalore
  • Ergonomics/RSI Consultant

Other Links

News and Events

National award for Dr. Deepak Sharan Read More..

RECOUP’S Website Read more about facilities and the medical team at RECOUP.

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Latest happenings at RECOUP. Read More..

creative thinking activities

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Be Creative! Adults. Exercises, Projects, Creative Fun & Play

Interactive Play & Printables

Be Creative! Fun Play Break Activities

Free exercises, projects, coloring pages and more to inspire creative thinking, imagination, and play!

By Chris Dunmire | Updated 9/6/15

Up for some easy creative fun? These activities are meant to be small and easy-going to maximize your enjoyment and creative learning experience. (Think of them as snacks for a creativity break!)

Feel free to improvise on any of these projects. Where approrpriate, materials and tools are suggested. Additional projects can be found at the Creativity Portal Playground .

Updated!

Brickstorming Your Legacy Brick
Brainstormingly fun creative writing activity! What message can you craft into 3 lines with 14 characters each? Pictures and printable template included.

Creative Art & Crafts Fun

Tree-mendous Memory! Brain Games
Free printable brain-stimulating game for all ages! This creative twist on the classic memory card game makes you pick matching pairs of ‘leaf’ cards placed randomly in the branches of the tree.

Gum Wrapper Origami
Want to learn how to fold a shirt and pants set with your colorful Bazooka gum wrappers? Here’s instructions how that can also use to fold a $1 dollar bill into a nifty dress shirt!

Popcorn Art: Fluffy Imagination Starch-Gazing
Popcorn is not just for the movies and stringing around your Christmas tree anymore. Use your cloud-gazing and imagination skills to create colorful works of art on ordinary popped popcorn.

Fun with Type and Writing

Brickstorming Your Legacy Brick
What would you write on your legacy brick in 3 lines with 14 characters each?

TypARTgraphy: Artistic Compositions with Type and Fonts
What? Artistic compositions with type? Learn how by using only the characters (letters, numbers, symbols) in a family of fonts, you can create some fontastic art.

Craft Autumn Greeting Card Poetry & Quotes
You get to download and print the blank autumn cards (with fall art on the fronts) and write the cover and inside message with poetry or quotes. Inspiring fun fall time creative writing.

Word Type: Design Meaning with Words
An experiment in nonverbal meaning. Design a word or headline to look like its real or opposite meaning.

Design a Word Search Puzzle
Remember how fun it was to find hidden words in a mess of letters? Well, now you can create your own word search or crossword puzzles.

Write the Story: Stick Figure Creativity
Can a picture really be worth 1,000 words? Test your creative writing imagination by writing what you see in these stick figure drawings. Share your creative stories in a group!

Writing & Blogging Prompts: Start Your Stories!
Are you itching to write about something for your journal or blog, but need a little help with a topic idea? Try using these writing prompt topics and words.

Coloring Pages

Winter Snowman: Free-ze Your Creativity
Your creativity isn’t frozen in time! Get our your crayons and have some childlike coloring fun!

Nit Wits PUNKin: Rebellious Gourds & Pumpkins
These Nit Wits coloring pages with Punky Pumpkins won’t bore you out of your gourd!

Nit Wits Tee Time: Coloring Beyond the Greens
This Nit Wits coloring page promises a creative ‘hole in one!’ Don’t worry about staying in the lines, that’s par for the course!

Nit Wits Purrassic Park: Dinosaur Dyno-mite!
This Nit Wits coloring page will sharpen your ‘extincts!’ Prove to yourself that your creativity didn’t go ‘the way of the dinosaurs!’

Nit Wits Mirror Image: An Odd Reflection
This Nit Wits coloring page will help you to ‘reflect’ on how much you enjoy being creative!

CREATIVE THINKING
Be freely creative, but.
What, Why, and How
Can we teach creativity?
Research about Creativity

Critical Thinking
What is critical thinking?
Attributes of Critical Thinkers
Why teach critical thinking?
How can we teach it effectively?
The Logic of Critical Thinking
The Ethics of Critical Thinking

Problem-Solving Skills
Combining Creative and Critical
Multiple Intelligences / Styles
Thinking Skills in Education
Methods in Design & Science
Problem Solving in Education

You can explore other parts of our
website for Whole-Person Education
(information is at bottom of page ) and
our community of science-and-faith.

Creative Thinking Skills
for Life and Education

( teaching creativity )

The sections in this page, which
summarize basic principles of creativity
and link to interesting web-pages and web sites, are:

Creativity in EDUCATION

RESEARCH about Creativity


Combining Creativity with Critical Thinking

Creativity is Fun and Useful, but.
During productive PROBLEM SOLVING you creatively GENERATE ideas and critically EVALUATE ideas. Usually, creative generation is the most exciting part of creative-and-critical Productive Thinking . But critical evaluation is more important, because if creative ideas are immediately converted into action (without being wisely evaluated) the result can be unwise action. By itself, creativity is not sufficient. But it is fun and useful. Hopefully, this page — with its interesting “ideas about getting ideas” — will inspire some exciting mental adventures and creatively productive ideas.

WHAT is Creativity?
" Creative or innovative thinking is the kind of thinking that leads to new insights, novel approaches, fresh perspectives, whole new ways of understanding and conceiving of things. The products of creative thought include some obvious things like music, poetry, dance, dramatic literature, inventions, and technical innovations. But there are some not so obvious examples as well, such as ways of putting a question that expand the horizons of possible solutions, or ways of conceiving of relationships that challenge presuppositions and lead one to see the world in imaginative and different ways. "

WHY should you want to be creative? What are the benefits? 12 Reasons to Study Creativity

HOW can you be more creative, and help your students be more creative?The International Center for Studies in Creativity says, "Creativity is an effective resource that resides in all people and within all organizations. Our more than thirty years of research has conclusively demonstrated that creativity can be nurtured and enhanced through the use of deliberate tools, techniques and strategies."
• You can begin exploring with Three Basic Principles (and more) ; creative strategies are explained, and illustrated with historical examples, in Creativity, Innovation and Problem Solving. If you want to read only one page, I suggest the Introduction to Creative Thinking by Robert Harris, which is an excellent summary of strategies for understanding and improving creativity.
• Although a blending of creativity and critical thinking is necessary for productive thinking, being critical in a harsh way — by implying “your idea was dumb, and so are you for suggesting it” — can stifle creativity. Therefore, "one strategy for creativity is to ‘play games’ with the modes by shifting the balance in favor of creativity for awhile, by experimenting with different balances between the modes during different stages in the overall process of productive thinking," as described in my introduction to a strategy of Brainstorm-and-Edit and in a more thorough overview of pros-and-cons by Wikipedia and a “how to do it ” page by MindTools, who share other strategies (scroll down the page!) in their Creativity Tools plus tips for a wider range of thinking skills in their Full Toolkit .
• The Stanford Design School shares a wide variety of attitudes-and-techniques for stimulating creativity (with brainstorming and much more), along with principles for productive design thinking, in their Bootcamp Bootleg .
• Another interesting approach uses visualization techniques, as in a Periodic Table and Stairsteps (to see things happening on these pages, Javascript must be enabled in your browser’s security-Preferences) and in other ways. from Visual-Literacy.org .
• One useful principle is to aim for an effective balance of searching (to find old ideas) and imagining (to invent new ideas) so you can combine the best of old and new ideas.
• The editor, Craig Rusbult, shares useful perspectives on Guided Generation (with a creative generation of ideas stimulated-and-guided by critical evaluation) and Free Invention; search for "invent" in the sitemap, to find Creative-and-Critical Invention of Ideas .
• Models for the Creative Process by Paul Plsek, is a historical review, from 1908 to 1994, concluding with his DirectedCreativity Cycle that "is a synthesis model of creative thinking that combines the concepts behind the various models proposed over the last 80+ years."
• Creativity can arise from a combination of conscious thinking and the unconscious thinking that occurs during a non-working period of incubation .
• A wide variety of strategies — 31 tools for creativity — are described by Charles Cave in Creativity Techniques plus "What can I do to increase my creativity?" and a link to plenty of ideas and resources in his Creativity Web: Resources for Creativity and Innovation. This is very thorough, is worth exploring, and is useful for getting a comprehensive overview of the field.
• Another website is less comprehensive, but interesting: Thoughts on Problem Solving was developed by faculty in the Engineering Dept at the Univ of Michigan.
• Edward de Bono has been influential in the field of creativity, with his Thinking Tools — Lateral Thinking, Six Thinking Hats, Direct Attention Thinking Tools, and more. On his own website, de Bono describes Lateral Thinking & Parallel Thinking and other ideas.

Creative Thinking in Education:

Teaching Creativity in Schools

Plenty of "creativity training" is offered by independent organizations (who work with corporations. ) and there is some activity in mainstream education. For example, The International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State University offers a thorough education in creativity — although I’m sure they would say "this is just a start, a launching pad for your own explorations" — and (check their "Education" links) several degrees.
K-12 programs seem to focus on critical thinking more often than creative thinking, but some "thinking skills" programs (see the "learning, teaching, and education" parts of the link-pages for Critical Thinking and Problem Solving ) combine creativity and critical thinking. < Later, probably beginning in October 2009, after a more thorough search for TEACHING ACTIVITIES there will be more information about creativity-stimulating activities and programs, for K-12 and beyond. >
ERIC Digests have excellent introductory summary/overviews about creative education that fosters creativity in children & adults or stimulates & supports curiosity. And ERIC lets you search for ideas about thinking skills (creative thinking, critical thinking, decision making. ) and much more.

Educators should recognize, appreciate, and encourage different styles of creativity. Gerard Puccio describes the advantages and disadvantages of two styles of creative people (functioning primarily as adaptors who focus on improving an existing situation, and innovators who develop and advocate new solutions): "Instead of valuing one style, an organization should respect and value the adaptive and innovative styles of creativity. Individuals within an organization can work more effectively together by capitalizing on each others’ strengths, rather than punishing each other because of individual differences. If an atmosphere of openness and trust prevails in the organization, then the adaptors and innovators will be able to join their creative talents to propel the organization to success. Individuals will manifest their creativity in different ways, and both styles of creativity are valuable." < from Two Dimensions of Creativity: Level and Style which also describes four aspects of "the what-and-how of creativity" and of research about the creative person, process, product, and environment >

Scientific Research about Creative Thinking Skills

For an introduction to the wide scope of research about creativity, check the topically arranged vocabulary terms for different facets of creativity (with a link to definitions for these terms ) for Buffalo State’s online database, Creativity-Based Information Resources. As you would expect, since they know how their database is organized, their page offering Search Help will help you use their database more effectively. And their Reading Room offers a wide variety of "papers about creativity" you can explore.

MORE LINKS
You can explore a variety of ideas about creativity by using two links-pages (with different approaches and resources) that lead in many interesting directions:
the Creativity Web of Charles Cave offers a Resource Center with lots of information in 11 categories, including software, magazines, books, organizations, conferences, and websites.
from the International Center for Studies in Creativity, links to five organizations promoting creativity .
and an APPENDIX, written by the editor, about a special topic:

INCUBATION — usingvacationsto solve problems
If you work on a problem for awhile but don’t solve it, and then stop, when you return to the problem you may be able to solve it. Why?
• a new approach: If you get stuck in an unproductive rut, breaking loose (and moving onto a better path) may be easier when time has weakened the rut’s hold on the way you are thinking.
• an alert mind: If fatigue has temporarily decreased your mental productivity, a break can restore the fresh thinking and optimistic attitude you need for success.
• new knowledge: Between attempts, you may learn new information, or discover a key insight, that helps you solve the problem the next time you see it.
• subconscious thought: Even when you don’t actively work on a problem, thinking that occurs “under the surface” (and during sleep) may help you find a solution later.

Timing: A non-working break, between active problem-solving attempts, can be short or long, lasting minutes, hours, days, weeks, or longer.
Activities: During a break, you can work on another problem, study another subject, lay down and rest, go for a run, do the dishes, listen to music, talk with a friend, or just relax in isolated silence; or sleep, and then think about the problem when you awake, before getting involved in other activities.

Using analogy between hatching eggs and ideas, the waiting period between solution attempts is called incubation. Here are two useful tips:
1) To hatch ideas, you must give your mind something to work with. The closer you come to a solution on your first attempt, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed on the second attempt or later attempts. The incubation process is On-Off-On: active thought (with solution as the goal), a break, then more active thought. Don’t be lazy (or cowardly) by using incubation as an excuse to procrastinate, to avoid a challenge you should face. But don’t waste time. If you’re making progress, keep going! If not, decide whether you should persevere, or if doing something else for awhile is a better use of your time.
2) Expect a solution. When you take a break, tell yourself “The next time I see this problem, I’ll be able to solve it.”

Just because you call thirty minutes in a room-full of people and a flip chart a brainstorming activity, doesn’t make it successful. For problem solving brainstorming to be effective, a little bit of coaxing will make all the difference. Here are three brainstorming activities, games and exercises to transform your problem solving sessions.

Brainstorming Activity 1 – Night and Day

Busy people need routines and shortcuts to make it through the day. If we had to consciously think about the steps involved in making a cup of tea, we’d have exhausting our thinking energy before we’d even left the house in the morning. Routine thinking may save time and energy, but seriously hampers creative brainstorming, so use this exercise to challenge traditional thoughts and encourage creativity.

Make a list of common words e.g. night, smart, heavy, quick, apple. Get your team to list the first opposite meaning word that springs to mind e.g. day, stupid, light, slow, pear. This will flush out the obvious, routine words. Challenge your team to come up with at least 3 further opposite words for each word e.g.

Night = day,sun,white,awake, …..
Smart = stupid, scruffy, shabby, in-elegant, clumsy, gawky

You’ll find some similar meaning words creep into your list – that’s fine as these can spark further opposite meaning words. Remember ideas breed ideas and to keep critical, analytical thinking in check. Limit the time spent on this activity to 10-15 minutes, to keep it fresh and focused.

Now it’s time to introduce the “real” brainstorming activity. Write your problem statement clearly and simply, and let those creative minds go to work on generating new and non-routine ideas to solve the problem.

Brainstorming Game 2 – What Can You See?

Sometimes you’re so close to a problem you can’t see how it will ever be solved. This situation is so common, it even has it’s own cliché – “you can’t see the wood for the trees”. Here’s a brainstorming game to help you see things differently, and aid the problem solving process.

Show these shapes to your team, and ask them to individually write down what they can see. You may find descriptions such as; three coloured shapes, or a green circle with a diagonal line, a red hexagon and a yellow thought bubble etc.

Some may have made a small creative leap and seen the top left figure as a green “forbidden” road sign. Others may have taken bigger creative leaps and see a winking, bearded face or an imminent solar eclipse on a cloudy day. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t see these more outlandish images – there’s no right or wrong answer.

Looking at things in a fresh, new way can trigger a whole train-load of thoughts, and that’s the essence of effective brainstorming.

Get the team to look at the shapes again and see how they describe them differently, second time round.

Now, focus on your problem, and encourage your team to look at it with fresh eyes or “in a different light”. How would they describe the problem to a non-English speaker, a child or a Martian?

Use this process to encourage objectivity and distance from a problem, and start a more creative problem solving process.

Brainstorming Exercise 3 – Who’s Line Is It Anyway?

“Normal” behaviour is encouraged at work, as this is the easiest, most efficient way to get things done. As a result, our creative self often is hidden away, getting flabby from under-use. Then along comes a manager demanding we do some brainstorming to come up with an innovative solution. Ouch! Like un-used muscles, creativity improves with exercise, so here’s a brainstorming exercise to warm-up those under-used creative muscles.

Just like the TV show, the principle of this brainstorming exercise is simple – improvisation. Collect 5 random props from home, the office or from the problem solving team e.g. belt, toy dog, post-it notes, lunch box and paper clip. Leave these props in the middle of the room and encourage people to come up with different uses for the props e.g. the belt could become a Japanese warrior’s head-band or the toy dog is hidden from the group and is “dog-gone”. You get the drift!

Give this exercise a time limit of 10-15 minutes and encourage all team members to take part. Even the shyest will have some creative use for the props!

If you’re aiming to develop a new solution, take your existing product or process and see how you could use it or look at it in a different way. The whackier the better at this stage – remember you’re aiming for quantity not quality – and take note of the ideas generated. It’s only later that we put our critical hats back on, and rate the ideas and assess their suitability.

And that’s only the beginning! These three creative brainstorming activities, games and exercises will get even the most traditional, set thinkers to approach problems differently and come up with creative, innovative solutions or approache s.

By Lyndsay Swinton
Owner, Management for the Rest of Us
www.mftrou.com

Citation Information: Swinton, Lyndsay. “3 Creative Brainstorming Activities, Games and Exercises For Effective Group Problem Solving.” Mftrou.com. 13 May 2005.

“I certainly respect your creative, clever way to earn what’s due you. I see the purpose of your information as double-faceted: 1. for those who wish to lead brainstorming sessions and 2. for those who anticipate the corporate retreats with anxieties. this is a preparatory ‘team-play 101, defense for the shy’ (not I), thanx!”
Bonnie, Sales and Marketing, California

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divorce in america essay

“I Was a Starter Wife”: Inside America’s Messiest Divorce

In the late spring of 2008, my wealthy entrepreneurial husband, Elon Musk, the father of my five young sons, filed for divorce. Six weeks later, he texted me to say he was engaged to a gorgeous British actress in her early 20s who had moved to Los Angeles to be with him. Her name is Talulah Riley, and she played one of the sisters in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice. Two of the things that struck me were: a) Pride and Prejudice is a really good movie, and b) My life with this man had devolved to a cliché.

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At least she wasn’t blonde. I found that refreshing.

When I first met Elon, I wasn’t blonde, either. I was an aspiring writer in my first year at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, sprung from a small hometown and recovering from a difficult case of first love with the older man I’d left behind. I liked older. I liked poetic and rebellious and tortured. I liked a guy who parked his motorcycle beneath my dorm-room window and called my name through the twilight: Romeo in a dark-brown leather jacket.

Elon wasn’t like that. A fellow student a year ahead of me, he was a clean-cut, upper-class boy with a South African accent who appeared in front of me one afternoon as I was leaping up the steps to my dorm. He said we’d met at a party I knew I hadn’t been to. (Years later, he would confess that he had noticed me from across the common room and decided he wanted to meet me.) He invited me out for ice cream. I said yes, but then blew him off with a note on my dorm-room door. Several hours later, my head bent over my Spanish text in an overheated room in the student center, I heard a polite cough behind me. Elon was smiling awkwardly, two chocolate-chip ice cream cones dripping down his hands. He’s not a man who takes no for an answer.

“Elon’s wealth seemed abstract and unreal, a string of zeros that existed in some strange space of its own.”

He was a scientific type, at home with numbers, commerce, and logic. I was not the only woman he pursued, but even after he transferred to Wharton he kept sending roses. When he’d return to Queen’s to visit friends, I found myself agreeing to have dinner with him. Once, in the bookstore together, I pointed to a shelf and said, “One day I want my own books to go right there.” I had said this before to a girlfriend, who laughed and spun on her heel. But Elon not only took me seriously, he seemed impressed. It was the first time that a boy found my sense of ambition — instead of my long hair or narrow waist — attractive. Previous boyfriends complained that I was “competitive,” but Elon said I had “a fire in my soul.” When he told me, “I see myself in you,” I knew what he meant.

After I graduated, I taught ESL in Japan for a year — Elon and I had by then gone our separate ways. Back in Canada I took a bartending job, worked on my novel, and debated whether to go back to Japan or to grad school. One night I heard myself tell my sister, “If Elon ever calls me again, I think I’ll go for it. I might have missed something there.” He called me one week later.

After graduation, he’d moved to Silicon Valley. He was sharing an apartment in Mountain View with three roommates and building his first dot-com company, Zip2. I soon flew out for the first of many visits. One night, over dinner, he asked me how many kids I wanted to have. “One or two,” I said immediately, “although if I could afford nannies, I’d like to have four.”

He laughed. “That’s the difference between you and me,” he said. “I just assume that there will be nannies.” He made a rocking motion with his arms and said, happily, “Baby.”

Then he took me to a bookstore and handed me his credit card. “Buy as many books as you want,” he said. No man could have said anything sweeter.

Two years later — two months before our January 2000 wedding — Elon told me we had an appointment with a lawyer who was going to help us with a “financial agreement” that the board of his new company wanted us to sign. When I looked at him, he said quickly, “It’s not a prenup.”

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Although I’d been dating a struggling 20-something entrepreneur, I was now engaged to a wealthy one. Elon had sold Zip2, which partnered with newspapers to help them get online, in 1999, the year before, and was worth about $20 million overnight. He bought and renovated an 1,800-square-foot condo: We now had a place of our own. He also bought a million-dollar sports car — a McLaren F1 — and a small plane. Our day-to-day routine remained the same (except for the addition of flying lessons), and Elon’s wealth seemed abstract and unreal, a string of zeros that existed in some strange space of its own. I made uneasy jokes that he was about to dump me for a supermodel. Instead, he proposed, getting down on bended knee on a street corner.

Most of his newfound fortune he rolled over into his second company, an online banking institution, X.com. that later became PayPal (the online payment company). It was this board that was supposedly urging him to get a “financial agreement.” What I didn’t understand at the time was that Elon was actually ushering me into a period of “mediation,” which, I now know, means anything done or spoken is confidential and cannot be used in a court of law. But I had no time to research mediation, or learn that it rarely serves the interest of the less powerful person in the relationship. Years later, I came to learn these things. But two months after our wedding, I simply signed the postnuptial agreement. I trusted my husband — why else had I married him? — and I told myself it didn’t matter. We were soul mates. We would never get divorced. A life without Elon was unthinkable, something I’d realized a few months before he proposed, as we napped together one spring afternoon before a friend’s wedding. With my arm slung across his chest, I felt that he was my own private Alexander the Great.

Still, there were warning signs. As we danced at our wedding reception, Elon told me, “I am the alpha in this relationship.” I shrugged it off, just as I would later shrug off signing the postnuptial agreement, but as time went on, I learned that he was serious. He had grown up in the male-dominated culture of South Africa, and the will to compete and dominate that made him so successful in business did not magically shut off when he came home. This, and the vast economic imbalance between us, meant that in the months following our wedding, a certain dynamic began to take hold. Elon’s judgment overruled mine, and he was constantly remarking on the ways he found me lacking. “I am your wife,” I told him repeatedly, “not your employee.”

“If you were my employee,” he said just as often, “I would fire you.”

“‘If you were my employee,’ he said just as often, ‘I would fire you.'”

By the time eBay bought PayPal in 2002, we had moved to Los Angeles and had our first child, a boy named Nevada Alexander. The sale of PayPal vaulted Elon’s net worth to well over $100 million. The same week, Nevada went down for a nap, placed on his back as always, and stopped breathing. He was 10 weeks old, the age when male infants are most susceptible to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). By the time the paramedics resuscitated him, he had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he was brain-dead. He spent three days on life support in a hospital in Orange County before we made the decision to take him off it. I held him in my arms when he died.

Elon made it clear that he did not want to talk about Nevada’s death. I didn’t understand this, just as he didn’t understand why I grieved openly, which he regarded as “emotionally manipulative.” I buried my feelings instead, coping with Nevada’s death by making my first visit to an IVF clinic less than two months later. Elon and I planned to get pregnant again as swiftly as possible. Within the next five years, I gave birth to twins, then triplets, and I sold three novels to Penguin and Simon & Schuster. Even so, Nevada’s death sent me on a years-long inward spiral of depression and distraction that would be continuing today if one of our nannies hadn’t noticed me struggling. She approached me with the name of an excellent therapist. Dubious, I gave it a shot. In those weekly sessions, I began to get perspective on what had become my life.

We were breathing rarefied air. The first crowded apartment we’d shared in Mountain View seemed like ancient history from our 6,000-square-foot house in the Bel Air hills. Married for seven years, we had a domestic staff of five; during the day our home transformed into a workplace. We went to black-tie fundraisers and got the best tables at elite Hollywood nightclubs, with Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio partying next to us. When Google cofounder Larry Page got married on Richard Branson’s private Caribbean island, we were there, hanging out in a villa with John Cusack and watching Bono pose with swarms of adoring women outside the reception tent. When we traveled, we drove onto the airfield up to Elon’s private jet, where a private flight attendant handed us champagne. I spent an afternoon walking around San Jose with Daryl Hannah, where she caused a commotion at Starbucks when the barista asked her name and she said, blithely, “Daryl.”

It was a dream lifestyle, privileged and surreal. But the whirlwind of glitter couldn’t disguise a growing void at the core. Elon was obsessed with his work: When he was home, his mind was elsewhere. I longed for deep and heartfelt conversations, for intimacy and empathy. And while I sacrificed a normal family life for his career, Elon started to say that I “read too much,” shrugging off my book deadlines. This felt like a dismissal, and a stark reversal from the days when he was so supportive. When we argued — over the house or the kids’ sleeping schedule — my faults and flaws came under the microscope. I felt insignificant in his eyes, and I began thinking about what effect our dynamic would have on our five young sons.

In the spring of 2008, eight years after our wedding, a car accident served as my wake-up call. The moment of impact seemed suspended in time: The details of the other driver’s face, looking at me in horror as she held a cell phone to her ear, were so clear it was like the distance between us didn’t exist. There was a crunch of metal as her car plowed into mine, and when we skidded to a halt, my first thought wasn’t, Thank God nobody’s hurt. It was, My husband is going to kill me. And in my mind’s eye, I could suddenly see myself: a woman who’d gotten very thin, and very blonde, stumbling out of a very expensive car with the front-left wheel smashed in.

I barely recognized myself. I had turned into a trophy wife — and I sucked at it. I wasn’t detail-oriented enough to maintain a perfect house or be a perfect hostess. I could no longer hide my boredom when the men talked and the women smiled and listened. I wasn’t interested in Botox or makeup or reducing the appearance of the scars from my C-sections. And no matter how many highlights I got, Elon pushed me to be blonder. “Go platinum,” he kept saying, and I kept refusing.

“I had turned into a trophy wife — and I sucked at it.”

Not long after the accident, I sat on our bed with my knees pulled up to my chest and tears in my eyes. I told Elon, in a soft voice that was nonetheless filled with conviction, that I needed our life to change. I didn’t want to be a sideline player in the multimillion-dollar spectacle of my husband’s life. I wanted equality. I wanted partnership. I wanted to love and be loved, the way we had before he made all his millions.

Elon agreed to enter counseling, but he was running two companies and carrying a planet of stress. One month and three sessions later, he gave me an ultimatum: Either we fix this marriage today or I will divorce you tomorrow, by which I understood he meant, Our status quo works for me, so it should work for you. He filed for divorce the next morning. I felt numb, but strangely relieved.

Eight years after I signed the postnup, I began to understand just what I’d done. I had effectively signed away all my rights as a married person, including any claim to community property except our house, which was to be vested in my name once we had a child. But my lawyer is presenting a legal theory that could render the postnup invalid. A postnup, unlike a prenup, requires a complete financial disclosure because of something called “marital fiduciary duty”: the obligation of one spouse to be honest and straightforward in financial dealings with the other. Around the time we signed the agreement, Elon was involved in a significant merger between X.com and a company called Confinity. Together, the two became PayPal and raised the value of Elon’s X.com stock by millions of dollars more than what he reported on the postnup. Whether this was deliberate or an oversight, according to my lawyer, it could render the contract fraudulent, and thus invalid — if it weren’t for the protection of mediation confidentiality. That period ended not when we left the lawyer’s office or when we got married, but only once we’d signed. The question that will determine the outcome of our divorce case, which has been winding its way through the California legal system for more than two years, is a legal one: Should mediation confidentiality trump marital fiduciary duty, or vice versa? Two years after our separation, we ended up in court. The judge ruled in Elon’s favor, but stressed that the case was “a long cause matter” and immediately certified it for appeal. Resolution is at least a year away.

In the months after our separation, I dyed my hair dark and cut it. I also developed a friendship that gradually deepened into romance with a man I’d known casually for years. One night he took me to a reading of Eve Ensler’s new play. “This is power-woman central,” he said, as we watched Arianna Huffington hold court in the front row. As he pointed out other prominent women in the audience, I realized the kind of social world I’d been living in: The females who populated it were the young wives and girlfriends of wealthy men, or the personal assistants who catered to them. Women disappeared after some point in their 30s, and any female ambition other than looking beautiful, shopping, and overseeing the domestic realm became an inconvenience. Being in that audience, watching that staged reading, I felt myself reclaim the freedom to write my own life.

Although I am estranged from Elon — when it comes to the children, I deal with his assistant — I don’t regret my marriage. I’ve worked through some anger, both at Elon for rendering me so disposable, and at myself for buying into a fairy tale when I should have known better. But I will always respect the brilliant and visionary person that he is. I also can’t regret the divorce (our case was bifurcated, which means that even though the property issues aren’t settled, our marriage is legally dead). Elon and I share custody of the children, who are thriving. I feel grounded now, and deeply grateful for my life.

And something unexpected happened: Throughout the divorce proceedings, his fiancée and I discovered we liked each other. People were puzzled that I didn’t want to poke chopsticks in her eyeballs. “It’s kind of like a French movie,” observed a friend, and I sent Talulah an e-mail:

I would rather live out the French-movie version of things, in which the two women become friends and various philosophies are pondered, than the American version, in which one is “good” and one is “bad” and there’s a huge catfight sequence and someone gets thrown off a balcony.

She responded, Let’s do as the French do .

She is, by all accounts, a lovely, bright, and very young person, and better fitted to my ex-husband’s lifestyle and personality than I ever was. Although she had dark hair when she and Elon first met, she is now blonder than I’ve ever been.

Justine Musk is the author of Bloodangel , Lord of Bones. and Uninvited. She lives in Los Angeles with her five sons and two dogs.

Essay: The Effects of Divorce on Children

Divorce is an unfortunate event for any family, particularly those with children. Studies have shown that approximately 25% of children whose parents divorce suffer psychologically, socially, and academically at some point in their lives. For the most part, research on divorce focuses solely on divorce in the immediate aftermath, usually a two to five-year window, so nothing is set in stone. Nonetheless, it is crucial for parents who have decided on divorce to keep in mind that their separation is not only about them. Their children are in just as deep.

One major concern is that the children of divorce will come to the conclusion that their parents no longer love them. If one parent moves out, some children will assume responsibility for the separation and respond accordingly. Other children will feel abandoned and betrayed in some fashion, as though their parents have divorced them as well. Without any reassurance, these children may develop fears of abandonment. On occasion, the children involved are too young to understand the goings-on, but regardless of age, they need their parents to support them and their feelings to show them that they are not completely powerless.

Conflicts of loyalty can also come into play. Particularly if the divorce is messy and full of conflict, a child may feel obligated to choose a side. This can be extremely traumatic for children; they love both parents dearly and do not want to choose between them. Divorces are difficult for everyone involved, but divorces full of anger, resentment, and acts of spousal revenge can cause more harm to the child than anything. Children can find themselves caught in the middle of their parents’ battles, and they may wonder what part they play in the bigger picture.

Children need support systems. They thrive on structure and the stability offered by the individuals who raise them, giving them the security of certainty and predictability. When a young girl wakes up in the morning, she will have comfort knowing that when she goes downstairs for breakfast, she will see her mother and her father waiting for her. This routine gives the girl comfort and security because she knows that they will always be there when she wakes up, but that stability is taken away when parents divorce.

During divorce, everything changes. When the girl goes down for breakfast, she may only see one parent. This will likely confuse her, rocking the foundation of her comfort zone. During divorce, children are at their most vulnerable and may turn to comfort items. They need the stability offered by family life and when that stability is gone, they turn to other things that they believe will never leave them. Possible comfort items include stuffed toys, blankets, or even items of their parents’ clothing.

The age of the child has an impact on how the child will react to divorce. Toddlers may suffer from fears of separation and may have trouble sleeping. Younger children who are just old enough to understand some of the goings-on will grieve for the loss of their parents’ marriage. Preteens may react by taking sides and combating their powerlessness with anger. Adolescents may respond the most strongly, often by lashing out, criticizing both parents for their decisions, and agonizing over the fate of their future relationships.

Parents should prepare themselves for how their children may react to divorce. Every child reacts differently depending on his or her age group and gender, so no case is predictable. However, it is important to remember that research on children of divorce is very limited. Most studies only follow children of divorce in the immediate aftermath, usually a two to five-year time window. Many children who suffer in the aftermath of divorce recover and avoid the long-lasting psychological effects. Nonetheless, parents should take steps to reassure their children. Reassurance and nurturing can go a long way toward helping children of divorce to recover.

The Role of the Wife and Mother

In the later nineteenth century things for women began to change. No doubt this had something to do with modernity and its intrinsic insistence on change, and no doubt it had something to do with the actions of women themselves, with their desire to break out of the limits imposed on their sex. The nineteenth century therefore apears to have been a turning point in the long history of women. The old tensions were still present between work (at home or in the shop) and family, between the domestic ideal and social utility, beween the world of appearances, dress, and pleasure and the world of subsistence, aprenticeship, and the practice of a profession, and between religious practice as spiritual exercise and social regulator and the new realm of education in secular schools.

Motherhood

“About every true mother there is a sancity of martyrdom- and when she is no more in the body, her children see her with the ring of light around her head.”

Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1867

Motherhood was viewed in advice literature, particularly by the 1890s, as one of the most important contributions women could make to her family and to the nation. With the influx of Southern European and other non-WASP immigrants in the latter half of the nineteenth century, many Americans feared losing what was then considered American. Women were having fewer children because of new opportunities available to them and because children were no longer as necessary as they were when families worked on farms. At the turn of the century, President Roosevelt popularized the idea of “race suicide” and encouraged childbirth to ensure the longevity of the nation.

In most images of women, particularly those with children, you do not see the mother’s direct gaze. Rather, the emphasis is on the child and her relationship to the child. Usually the mother or both are romanticized: put in classical clothes or scenes in the home that convey a sense of peace and innocence. One of the most important American painters of mothers and children in this period was Mary Cassatt.

Kate Chopin

“Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer; than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s Life.”
Kate Chopin, 1899

Love and passion, marriage and independence, freedom and restraint – these are themes of her work distinctively realized in story after story. When Edna Pontellier, the heroine of The Awakening announces “I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn’t give myself” she is addressing the crucial issue for many of Kate Chopin’s women – the winning of a self, the keeping of it.

From the reaction of the readers garnered by the novel, and the attitudes of some of the characters within the novel, it would be easy to classify Edna as a poor mother. However, the textual evidence is to the contrary. Although she does not hover over her children or live every waking moment solely dedicated to them, she attends to their needs and repeatedly shows her affection for them. While Madame Ratignolle sews new winter outfits for her children, Edna is content that her own’s needs are currently met. “Mrs. Pontellier’s mind was quite as rest concerning the present material needs of her children, and she could not see the use of anticipating and making winter garments the subject of her summer meditations” (Chopin 639). Edna was “fond of her children in an uneven, impulsive way” (647). She does not live solely for them, but she does care for them. At times, Edna is very much a mother-woman. She demonstrates physical attachment to her children a number of times.

“Edna took him in her arms, and resting herself in the rocker, began to cuddle and caress him, calling him all manner of tender names, soothing him to sleep” (Chopin 663).

She tells her boys bedtime stories (666). She misses her children when she is away from them. “How glad she was to see the children! She wept for pleasure when she felt their little arms clasping her. ” (706). In the end, one of her final thoughts is of her children. “She thought of Leonce and the children. They were a part of her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (723). “They were a part of her life,” is the key.

Edna wanted more than to be only defined as a wife and mother. Wanting more out of life does not make her a poor mother.

Marriage

One of the most significant changes to American culture in the late nineteenth century was the shift in women’s roles. In addition to the anxiety experienced by most Americans as a result of rapid industrialization, advice givers, like Catharine Beecher and Sara Hale, were concerned that the home was no longer considered sacred and women were not being appreciated for their role maintaining.

While many women fulfilled their “responsibilities”, a large number of women responded to this attempt to define and limit their roles with their own literature and work in the feminist movement.

Marriage

“Whatever have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns. Make your personal appearance just as beautiful as possible. Let him enter rooms so attractive and sunny that all the recollections of his home, when away from the same, shall attract him back.”

Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1888

It is the wife’s responsibility to provide her husband “a happy home. the single spot of rest which a man has upon this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities.”

Despite the reduction of legal requirements and lengthening of residence requirements, the divorce rates surged between 1870 and 1920 (Deglar). Advice givers believed the reasons for the changes to the American family were the result of women’s “selfish desires” to pursue opportunities away from the home and a devaluation of the role of motherhood and housewife. In response, images of devoted wives and mothers were featured in numerous advice magazines. In these images, the wife is usually draped over her husband, or holding her child to create the image of a nurturing woman and complete family. In many cases, the husband looks sick or worried to remind women of the pressure and anxiety that men faced with the recent changes to the economy. Again, the woman’s direct gaze is almost never shown.

Reforming divorce laws

A number of changes were made to the legal status of women in the 19th century, especially concerning marriage laws. The fact that fathers always received custody of their children, leaving the mother completely without any rights, slowly started to change. The Custody of Infants Act in 1839 gave mothers of unblemished character access to their children in the event of [[Legal separation|separation]] or divorce, and the Matrimonial Causes Act in 1857 gave women limited access to divorce. But while the husband only had to prove his wife’s adultery, a woman had to prove her husband had not only committed adultery but also incest, bigamy, cruelty or desertion.[citation needed] In 1873 the Custody of Infants Act extended access to children to all women in the event of separation or divorce. In 1878, after an amendment to the Matrimonial Causes Act, women could secure a separation on the grounds of cruelty and claim custody of their children. Magistrates even authorized protection orders to wives whose husbands have been convicted of aggravated assault. An important change was caused by an amendment to the Married Women’s Property Act in 1884 that made a woman no longer a ‘chattel’ but an independent and separate person. Through the Guardianship of Infants Act in 1886, women could be made the sole guardian of their children if their husband died.

Because her view of marriage is a complex one, Chopin’s wives are a varied sort, some of them as contented and devoted to the home shrine as Adele Ratignolle, the mother-woman; others question the ties of marriage lightly or seriously. In “Athenaise” a restless young woman marries Cazeau, an older neighbor, only to find herself appalled by the intimacy of marriage:

“It’s jus’ being married that I detes’ and despise. I can’t stand to live with a man, to have him always there; his coats an’ pantaloons hanging in my room; his ugly bare feet – washing them in my tub befo’ my very eyes, ugh!”

But her running away to New Orleans, her mild flirtation with a willing gentleman count for little when she discovers that she is pregnant. As important as recognizing her pregnancy is Athenaise’s discovery at her return that she finally truly desires her husband.

In much the same way, “Madame Celestin’s Divorce” becomes a means for a young wife to flirt with a sympathetic lawyer and to contemplate a separation in spite of the Catholic ban – until her traveling husband returns, and her blushes suggest how she has forgiven all. “A Visit to Avoyelles” presents Doudouce, a man determined to save his former sweetheart from an abusive husband and the burdens of a hard life, who finds his rescue unwelcome, his Mentine loyal to her husband even in her misery. Just as the heroine of Chopin’s first novel, At Fault. errs in attempting to direct the life of the man who cares for her, Doudouce has sought unsuccessfully to move Mentine; she has accepted her bad marriage and seeks no solace. Perhaps it is no surprise that Chopin also wrote an account “In Sabine” in which a similar effort rescues “Tite Reine” (Little Queen), but Chopin refuses to comment on the fate of the returned woman.

Chopin takes on divorce directly.

At Fault, privately printed and soon forgotten, had taken on the question of divorce forthrightly and, though marred by melodrama and an engineered ending, implicitly pled for the reality of the end of love and the foolishness of meddling in the life decisions of others. Such meddling and manipulating, Chopin attests in “La Belle Zoraide,” may destroy its objects.

One of several stories set before the war, this tale recounts the life of a beautiful mulatta, pampered by a mistress who wishes to marry her to another light-skinned servant. But Zoraide has seen the handsome Mezor dance the bamboula in Congo Square, “his body, bare to the waist, like a column of ebony,” and she begs her mistress for the right to marry him. “Since I am not white, let me have one from out of my own race whom my heart has chosen.” Refused that right, Zoraide who “could not have helped loving him,” bears his child. Her mistress, longing to have her pretty servant back again, sends the child away. Zoraide sinks into madness. Chopin’s readers understood in the view of their day that of course the mixed blood Zoraide might yield to desire, but not “A Respectable Woman,” in the story of that name. Mrs. Baroda is at first baffled at her interested response to the charming house guest, Gouvernail, but comes to realize her own desire and to look forward to his return. Little is said, much is implied, but the story stops short of explicit description of the anticipated second visit.

Bibliographic Sources

Document 26: A.B. Griffin, “Woman’s Rights and Men’s Wrongs,” American Socialist, 5 December 1878, p. 386. “A Woman is Better Than A Man?”

The First Woman in the Republic Carolyn L. Karcher – The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child. New Americanist Series. Durham, N.C. and London: Duke University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8223-1485/ISBN 0-8223-2163-7.

Document 13: “The Perplexed Housekeeper,” The Circular, 4 July 1870, p. 128. A Poem Illustrating Contempt by the Oneida Community Held for the Institution of Marriage and its Bondage of Women

Howard, J.B. (n.d.). A Woman Far Ahead of Her Time. Retrieved from http://www.gp-chautaugua.org

Duby, G, & Perrot, M. (1991). A history of women, Emerging feminism from revolution to world war. Gius, Laterza and Figli Spa. Rome and Bari: “Late 19th Century America.” Advice for Women. 2002. Web. 13 Oct 2009.

thesis layout

How To Write a Thesis Statement

What is a Thesis Statement?

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?”

A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are. ”

A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve. ”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic .
Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic .
Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic.
After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language .
You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices. so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support.
You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it’s specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because. since. so. although. unless. and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you’re writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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Thesis 2: The missing design and template manager for WordPress

The easiest way to manage (and tweak)
your WordPress designs…

If you want a beautiful web design that you can customize from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard, Thesis Skins are the answer you’ve been looking for.

With built-in tools like a patent-pending color scheme picker and golden ratio typography controls, Thesis Skins are designed to make your website more effective while letting your creativity shine.

The Classic Responsive Skin will make your site look great on any device.

See all of our Skins in action on our demo site!

Every copy of Thesis comes with the Classic Responsive Skin, which has been meticulously optimized for performance, search engines, mobile devices, and people just like you.

That’s right—after installing Thesis, you’ll have a responsive website that works seamlessly on mobile devices everywhere. And we’re just getting started…Read on!

Total WordPress template control (no code required!)

There’s a dirty little secret other theme companies don’t want you to know:

With the traditional WordPress theme and child theme architecture, the only way to edit templates is to get your hands messy with code.

Any template WordPress can understand can be created and customized using [Thesis’] new streamilined drag and drop interface…This is all possible without writing a single line of PHP or HTML.

And if you want to add a custom template? Forget it—you better be very comfortable with WordPress, an FTP client, a text editor, and of course, code.

If that strikes you as overkill or if you find that intimidating, you’re not alone.

Basically, if you want to add or change anything outside of the default state of other WordPress themes or child themes, you’re going to need to code…or else hire someone to code for you.

But it doesn’t have to be like this! Here’s the deal:

The traditional WordPress theme and child theme architecture is both limited and outdated. In order to have total template control without messing with code, you need a new architecture.

Thesis 2 is that architecture.

Thesis blasts through the limitations of the old WordPress template system and brings you total template control with our patent-pending visual template editor .

The Thesis Skin Editor gives you visual, point-and-click control over your templates.

This means that no matter which Skin you use, you can control all of your templates—and everything on them—with Thesis’ visual template editor.

Thesis 2.1 is fun! The idea of placing elements wherever I want in templates is too easy.

You don’t have to hire a developer, and better—you don’t have to wait another minute to make that change to your website. With Thesis, you can pop open the template editor and BOOM—you can make it happen right now .

(And hey, if you’re a hardcore developer like me and still want to add your own code, you can do that, too. In fact, with the Thesis API, you can do just about anything.)

Smart design controls = better customizations

Let’s face it: No matter which WordPress theme you use, sooner or later, you’re going to want to customize your design for your specific needs.

See how easy it is to edit and customize your Skin!

click to watch video ↑

Plenty of themes offer design options (a trend Thesis started in 2008), but they don’t offer any smart direction when it comes to those options.

For example, if you’ve ever used a color picker before, you might have felt disappointed by the haphazard nature of selecting a single color out of millions of possibilities.

I’ll continue to send my customers your way, because I believe in what you’re doing and why you do it.

And what about typography? If you’ve ever messed with font options before, you may have noticed that you can’t change any single aspect of typography and hope that your design will improve.

This is because even a small typographical tweak may necessitate adjustments to many aspects of your design!

And this matters, too, because your visitors are subconsciously aware of the order—or dis order—your typography is communicating to them.

When your goal is running a beautiful, successful website, every pixel matters —and poorly-implemented design options simply aren’t going to cut it.

Easily customize your design with Thesis’ patent-pending color scheme picker.

That’s why Thesis 2 is chock-full of smart design options that go the extra mile to ensure that every change you make is a good one.

Our new, patent-pending color scheme picker gives you infinite customization ability in an easy, point-and-click interface. With Thesis, you can create mathematically-precise color schemes in seconds .

Let Thesis creator Chris Pearson take you on a tour of the Skin design options.

click to watch video ↑

And if you change your font or font size, Thesis will adjust your entire layout to ensure maximum readability and comfort for your site’s visitors. (You read that right—Thesis is now tuning typography for individual FONTS! No other software on the planet can do this. )

The bottom line? Thesis 2 is like your own personal designer—an innovative new system that helps turn your customization dreams into a pixel-perfect reality.

Custom templates tailored to your WordPress installation

With other themes, “custom” is marketing speak for “you’re gonna need code for this.”

Thesis, however, respects the meaning of the word “custom” and thoughtfully scans your WordPress installation to incorporate anything you might have added to it.

Thesis automatically creates templates based on your WordPress settings. You can also create custom templates on the fly…without code!

If Thesis detects custom post types or custom taxonomies. it will create special templates for each of these items in your Skin (and it doesn’t matter which Skin you’re using!).

No matter what kind of site you’re running on WordPress, Thesis will adapt to your environment and give you a code-free way to control it.

I love the template support for custom post types. That’s been a great help for a complex site I am working on.

Also, if you want to create your own custom templates on the fly, you can do it from the comfort of the visual template editor—no FTP clients, text editors, or other technical things required.

(Seriously, after using Thesis for a little while, you’ll be amazed that we ever used complicated tools like that for something so simple!)

Boxes are like apps for your Thesis website

Let’s say you want an email signup form in your sidebar. Or maybe you want some social sharing widgets below your headline. Or maybe you want “popular posts” in your sidebar.

Before Thesis 2, the ONLY way you could get the functionality you want, where you want, was either by hiring a developer, installing yet another potentially inefficient plugin, or—heaven forbid—code it yourself.

Drop new functionality into your web design—no code necessary

Now you can find a Thesis Box that has the functionality you want, and simply drag and drop it into your template in the patent-pending visual template editor

…and YOU’RE SET.

With Thesis, you can easily add any kind of functionality to your site.

What’s even better is this: You can make Thesis Boxes show up exactly where you want—and configure them— without ever editing a file or seeing a line of code.

(It’s not that we think code is bad; we just think you’ll agree that the visual template editor offers a more efficient, better-organized way to do the stuff you need to do with your website!)

Want a Box on your category template? No problem.

Want a Box on JUST your home page? Drop it right where you want it.

Spent 48 hours with Thesis 2.1. The verdict? “It’ll speed up the development by ten folds.” You’ve nailed it, Chris.

This stuff used to require ugly, conditional code. Now it’s only a couple of clicks away.

The bottom line? Thesis Boxes give you the functionality you want—completely integrated with WordPress—precisely where you want it.

Boxes will help you “power up” your Thesis website

Want to connect your AWeber email newsletter account to Thesis? There’s a Box for that.

If you want to do something that Thesis doesn’t do by default, there’s a good chance we’ve built a Box for it.

I love Thesis. It flat out works.

And if we haven’t built a Box for it, there’s an even better chance that somebody else already has (because Boxes are easy to build, and the Thesis community loves ’em!).

Here’s a sample of Boxes that are currently available for free to Thesis Professional license holders:

  • AWeber — drop customizable Aweber forms in your templates
  • MailChimp — drop customizable MailChimp forms in your templates
  • Twitter — Tweet button and Twitter card functionality
  • Facebook Like — full open graph capabilities
  • Google +1 — Google +1 button
  • LinkedIn Share — share button
  • Pinterest Pin It! — Pin It! button
  • Thesis Developer Tools — unleash advanced Thesis functionality

Site Tools

Here’s why Thesis 2 is the perfect theme for ranking higher in search engines

Do you want your WordPress blog to rank higher in search engines? A silly question, I know… Who doesn’t?

In order to give your site the best opportunity to rank well, you need to focus on both performance and optimization .

Thanks to its remarkably efficient new architecture, Thesis 2 offers performance capabilities that no other theme can match. Not only does Thesis 2 serve streamlined, search engine optimized HTML5, but it also minimizes HTTP requests, regardless of the Skin you’re using!

(That’s geek-speak for “your site loads faster because it uses fewer resources.” Search engines LOVE this kind of thing.)

I look forward to building some incredible websites for local Santa Barbara business owners with Thesis 2.1.

And with “one click easy” tools for additional optimization, Thesis 2 has everything you need to establish an authoritative website and dominate the search engines.

Let’s look at some of these tools and see how you can use them to enhance your site immediately.

Increase your search engine clickthrough rate with Google Authorship

According to Search Engine Land. a leading publication about search engine news, they’ve seen reports that adding support for Google Authorship has increased clickthrough rates of search results by 30% to 150% or MORE.

With Thesis 2, implementing Google Authorship on your site is as easy as pasting your Google+ profile link in a box.

And if you run a multi-author site? Thesis 2 smartly integrates with WordPress and allows you to supply a Google+ profile link for each of your authors. Look for this option on each author’s WordPress User Profile page.

One again, you won’t have to tinker with PHP, HTML, CSS, files, or anything else because Thesis 2 makes Google Authorship “one click easy.”

Separate your site from the pack with Markup Schema

Markup schema is part of the new standard used by search engines to understand content on the web.

Right now, major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are looking for this code on your site so they can improve their search results.

The implications here are serious: If your site doesn’t leverage markup schema, it’s probably going to lose rankings to another site that does.

But if you’ve got Thesis, you’re going to be the one taking those rankings .

Thanks to a lightweight HTML structure that’s enriched with markup schema, Thesis can help you give search engines precisely what they want.

And unlike other themes, Thesis’ markup schema is built for the future. The list of potential markup schema is enormous and ever-growing, so a good system must be able to account for this inevitable growth and change.

Wow. It’s more intuitive, stout, and simpler to use! This is genius work right here; thank you guys so so much!

We built Thesis 2’s markup schema system on this principle. With Thesis, Skins can not only tap into the built-in markup schema for things like articles, recipes, and reviews, but they can also add any other valid markup schema as well!

The bottom line? No matter which type of markup schema you need for your site, you can do it with Thesis.

Improve your SEO right now: Get your site verified by Google and Bing

When you’re looking to rank higher in search engines, all the best search engine optimization experts will tell you to get your site listed in both Google and Bing’s webmaster tools.

Before Thesis 2, if you wanted to verify your site, you’d have to add some custom code into your <head> …but that just gave most people a headache .

Seriously, once I started I was amazed at how easy [Thesis] was to use.

With Thesis 2, we give you a simple option field where you can paste your verification code without ever opening up a file or thinking about code.

Critical tools. Simple interface. No nonsense. Thesis 2 makes the tough stuff easy for you.

Finally! Control your 404 page content…without code

Despite the fact that your 404 page is a fundamental and important part of your site, you can’t control its content with a typical WordPress installation.

Thesis is a game-changer. Again. Loving it!

But Thesis 2 isn’t your typical WordPress theme—it has a simple option that lets you select any WordPress page to serve as your 404 page content.

With Thesis 2’s mission-critical site tools and “one click easy” controls, you can customize—and optimize—every last detail of your site.

You don’t just get Thesis,
you get the entire Thesis community

The experts pictured above trust Thesis for three main reasons:

First, because Thesis makes it easy for them to do the things they need to do to run a successful website.

Second, because they know that Thesis’ creator, Chris Pearson, compromises nothing when it comes to quality, innovation, and sweating the details.

Woke up this morning and my first thought was that I cannot wait to dive back into Thesis 2.1. That should tell you something.

And the third—and most important—reason the experts trust Thesis? Community.

When you purchase Thesis, you’re not just getting the most powerful WordPress theme on the planet; you’re also becoming part of the Thesis Community.

When the experts need help, they know they can turn to the Thesis community for answers, assistance, or even just a word of encouragement when they need it most.

What a great team you are, would recommend Thesis to anyone, with first class support….You and your team should be called the dream team.

With 3 full-time experts on staff, we offer direct email support and pride ourselves on being the best—and most helpful—in the business.

In addition to email support and detailed documentation, we also offer members-only community forums where you can interact with Thesis pros and get answers to just about any question you might have.

The bottom line is that we are dedicated to providing you with a truly remarkable support experience.

And best of all?

Every Thesis purchase comes with direct email support and members-only forum access. so no matter where you find yourself, you’ll always have a place to turn if you need some help.

It’s time to make your site everything you want it to be. It’s time for Thesis.

All text and design is copyright 2008–2016 DIY themes, LLC. All rights reserved.

O ptimal width for 1024px resolution?

14 September 2006

Let’s face it: The jump from developing for 800×600 to 1024×n is inevitable; not only inevitable, but just around the corner, too. Many of you are considering the jump. Some of you have already leaped. I suspect that some time in 2007 most of us will knock out comps optimized for 1024px resolution rather than 800px if we’re not doing so already.

But perhaps just as important as when it will happen is how. What’s the proper width for a layout optimized for 1024?

With 800×600 it’s easy: Account for browser chrome and scrollbars (usually 40-50px) and then use as much of the remaining space as possible. This usually means a layout width of 750-760px.

If we use the same logic for 1024, browser chrome is still the same, so that leaves us with 974-984px as the “ideal” width. However, many users (including myself) don’t browse full screen, especially as display resolution in increased. Almost as if there’s an inverse relationship between browser width and display resolution — as the display gets wider, the browser width gets smaller (proportionately).

Additionally, in a time we all are, or should be, considering grid usage in layouts, is a random number like 974 an optimal number for dividing a layout into its necessary elements — sidebar(s), main content area, and so on? Fluid/liquid layouts are another issue, but even those have to be optimized for a minimum width.

I’ve been using 960 for some time now, as it’s slightly smaller than full width, and it’s divisible by 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 16 (imagine the grid possibilities). I’d love to hear what all of you are wrestling with.

Update: Jon (first comment) brings up an interesting point: If your layout includes ads, 960 seems to facilitate IAB widths fairly well.

Update II: Jeremy (comment #22) makes a good case for fluid instead of fixed-width. My thinking here was aimed at optimizing for 1024 resolution and not necessarily 1024 fixed-width sites, per se (there’s a difference). Hence, I’ve changed the title of this article as it appears to have been misleading.

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70 Comments

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Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.

14 September 2006 at 09:43 AM

Just being pedantic…

960 is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 20, 24, 30, 32, 40, 48, 60, 64, 80, 96, 120, 160, 192, 240, 320, 480, and 960.

Lots of IAB widths near those numbers, too.

Thanks for the tip.

14 September 2006 at 09:45 AM

Good point, Jon…

14 September 2006 at 09:49 AM

Most Windows users I know browse fullscreen, even if they have gargantuan displays (1400+ pixels wide)… I just don’t get it. Maybe they love whitespace?

14 September 2006 at 09:50 AM

We have been designing at 950 width for about a year now whenever developing a site intended to a mature, online-conscious audience.

14 September 2006 at 09:54 AM

Yeah, I’ve found 960 to be a great number for the same reasons you have, but I’m trying more and more these days to design elastic layouts that will degrade to 800 and skinnier (which is, of course, easier said than done when there are concrete image sizes to work with). I think Jakob Nielsen’s latest Screen Resolution and Page Layout guidelines really hit the nail on the head.

14 September 2006 at 09:54 AM

960 does seem to be a great “optimal” width thanks to the divisibility and the fact that it comes close to hitting several IAB sizes.

FWIW, I’ve found that 996 seems to be the absolute biggest you can get away with w/o causing scroll bars in any of the major desktop browsers.

14 September 2006 at 09:58 AM

I’m a latecomer to the web design party, currently redesigning my personal site to 1000px max width, with fixed width navigation, sidebar and liquid content area. It gives the user choice in browser width but also lets my design be viewed as intended. And 1000px is a nice round number, even though it was designed with no grid. (As a Tschichold/Muller-Brockmann disciple, it pains me to say that.)

14 September 2006 at 09:59 AM

Good to know, Jeff (996). Hadn’t pushed the limit that extensively yet, as I did back in the day for 800×600 (I think 768 was as wide as I could get, if I recall).

14 September 2006 at 10:00 AM

For three column layouts at 1024, I try to make the second column end at or very near 760px and put “secondary” information in the third column. That way, if the user is on an 800px monitor the site still feels like it naturally fits their browser, in a sense.

I’ve used either 980 or 970 before, but using 960 makes perfect sense for its divisability (that’s probably not a word).

14 September 2006 at 10:05 AM

Of course, I misspelled divisibility. And dang it, it is a word! Now I just sound stupid. And I’m rambling now. Someone stop me.

14 September 2006 at 10:06 AM

I’ve always kept it simple.
770
880
990

14 September 2006 at 10:21 AM

It’s cool seeing websites optimized for bigger resolutions. I just redesigned my site and made the jump as well, trying out a 900px width on a 3 column.

I always browsed full screen when I was on a pc, but now I don’t, and I’m on a mac. Don’t know why that changed……maybe screen resolution?

14 September 2006 at 10:24 AM

It would be interesting if you could track in a web analytics package the pixel widths of users’ browsers.

Although it should probably track a 5 – 10 pixel range because people who don’t browse full screen set the width themselves and it would be some arbitrary number rather than standard resolutions that are easier to track.

Reason I say this is I think the majority of people keep their browser at full screen, and this is because the majority of people use Windows.

When I was a windows user, I kept mine maximized all the time, simply because that’s what the Window’s interface encourages. Once you maximize you lose the ability to adjust and change the browser window.

On a Mac however, you can hit the green plus buttom “maximize” and it doesn’t necessarily display the browser at full-screen (at least that’s what it does on my mac). Even if one does maximize the browser one still has the ability to adjust it on a mac. I also noticed that I don’t keep my browser full screen anymore like I did when I was a windows user.

Saying many users do this is probably true, but not the majority. Not many people have large high resolution displays either. Although, a 960px width for a website wouldn’t cause any harm to people with the minimum 1024×768 resolution and a maximized window.

14 September 2006 at 10:38 AM

Hi,
Yep, I go for about 950 – 960 pixels preferably.

It does appear to be true that Windows users tend to go fullscreen as it’s just so easy to do so. On Mac it’s not so easy as click the + has mixed results, for instance I tried it just now and all that happened was my browser window just fit the full height of my screen but left the width untouched.

Another interesting statistic to know is what is the maximum safe *height* vertically on a 1024 x 768 screen? I’m not in the habit of making sites that try to fit everything within the visible height completely but it’s interesting to know what content will be visible immediately without scrolling.

14 September 2006 at 10:50 AM

I always browsed full screen when I was on a pc, but now I don’t, and I’m on a mac. Don’t know why that changed… maybe screen resolution?

As Chris says, hitting the green pill on a Mac isn’t the same as hitting the maximize button on Windows. That’s part of it.

However, I for one never browsed full-screen on Windows machine either during my corporate years…

14 September 2006 at 10:55 AM

I’ve switched to designing liquid layouts almost exclusively, so this is something of a non-issue for me. I continue to mock up my comps at about a 760-740 width, since I want to make sure that everything will still fit at that size. I may start mocking up with a 960 width, though — but still going to stick with liquid that goes down to at least 740 pixels. I gotta say that I agree with Nielsen’s recent writeup as well.

14 September 2006 at 10:58 AM

I have recently made the jump to 1024 as well. After wrestling with a few widths, I too have settled on 960px for the same reasons you have stated.

14 September 2006 at 11:40 AM

I’ve recently tried 890 pixels. This provides a grid of 18 columns (40 pixels each) and 17 gutters (10 pixels each), which you can use in a variety of ways from 2 or 3 equal sized columns or a wide selection of mixed width columns. Mark Boulton has presented some useful posts on grid layouts as has Khoi Vinh. But, the best resource for theory and practice of grid layouts that I’ve read is a book named “Making and Breaking the Grid” by Timothy Samara.

14 September 2006 at 11:41 AM

980px is about right for me. When I have to convince clients that this is not too large, I point them to nytimes.com, businessweek.com and others that use 980px. forbes.com uses 1010px!

14 September 2006 at 11:48 AM

I believe we should approach screen resolution much like we do JavaScript. Best-practice tells us to “degrade, degrade, degrade!!” We should be degrading our layouts for screen resolution just as we do for the technology running our sites. Build them for an optimal width of 1024 but let the layout accommodate a screen resolution width of 800 without a scroll.

14 September 2006 at 11:49 AM

I recently designed a flexible-width site that scales from a minimum of 760px to a maximum of 960px, then remains centered for larger browser widths. It looks great on displays large and small, IMO.

14 September 2006 at 11:51 AM

Aw, fer feck’s sake! Always with the numbers. In another few years, there’ll be some new width that’s the “right” one.

How about designing sites that are flexible, that fit all manner of widths? You can still *optimise* for whatever width you want, but with a little bit of forethought and work, you can make sure that there are no horizontal scrollbars in a range of sizes.

I’m not suggesting that a site should look perfect at ridiculously minuscule or ludicrously wide sizes, but it’s certainly possible to pick a range (say, 800 pixels to 1200 pixels) and ensure that the design works within those parameters.

I’ve heard all the arguments against liquid layouts and the most plausible are:

1. They’re harder than fixed width layouts (no argument there, but I personally like that challenge) and
2. Optimal line lengths for reading.

Width the introduction of min-width and max-width in IE7, that argument is also blown out of the water.

Talking about numbers, comparing 800 to 1024 or whatever, is like comparing Pepsi and Coke. They both suck.

Phew! Quite a rant. Please excuse the outburst, Cameron.

14 September 2006 at 12:29 PM

No worries — rant away, Jeremy! It’s certainly a good point. And as one who made a good case for fluid layouts in CSS Mastery (with min/max in the 800/1200 range you suggest, no less), I can vouch for the benefits of fluid layouts.

That said, I don’t think we’ll escape the need — frequent or infrequent — for fixed-width layouts. I say that having seen both sides of the coin. I’d love to go fluid with everyone one of my projects, but I don’t think it’s always practical.

14 September 2006 at 12:31 PM

We went with 990 on the Notre Dame Forum website which might be a bit too big. You’re correct though, 1024 is right around the corner.

14 September 2006 at 12:53 PM

I was reading the article from The Man in Blue on Resolution dependent layouts just 2 seconds before hitting this article (Reading Authentic Boredom is great for taking breaks while designing – so touchГ© Cameron).

I think as the change is inevitable in 2007, this option gives a great way to have the design degrade to smaller resolutions. I first found out about this on Hicks Design. I prefer this method to fluid layouts as you can still design by pixel.

960 feels right, I start out with 940 as I always end up using shading and accents to the edges and end up making my 940 a 960 design.

14 September 2006 at 12:56 PM

Chris, the maximize button should not take up the full screen on a Mac. In theory, it should enlarge the window to a size that does not require scroll bars.

14 September 2006 at 01:28 PM

I’m glad you acknowledged the fact that not all users browse the web with maximized browsers. I too, prefer my browser non-full screen at high resolutions.

Yes, I know that there are a lot of people who do continue to browse full screen at higher resolutions, but I believe that is simply a habit picked up from smaller resolutions. As higher resolutions become more and more prevalent, users will start to catch on that they don’t need to browse full screen.

In short, increasing screen resolutions won’t continue to bring a directly proportional increase in browser size. Personally, I think that we’ll settle on an optimal size of somewhere between 800 and 1024px wide no matter what the screen resolution is.

So I echo the previous sentiments that it’s important to design for a range of resolutions, no matter what the resolution is currently the most popular.

14 September 2006 at 01:35 PM

That does make sense, I did not know that. OS X pretty much broke me of my maximize habit when I first started using it almost 2 years ago.

My point was though, OS X’s interface encourages you to adjust the window to your liking versus Windows.

14 September 2006 at 02:26 PM

I think that the divisibility of 960 is great. I’ve also found that I like to have a bit of room to breath between the content of the page and the border of the browser.

Depending on the grid that you are trying to get at, you can use 960 as your maximum width, then allow 30px or more margin for your content (at this point, you can set your margins to whatever you need to in order to get the grid size that you need). You’ll end up fitting the content into a smaller area (900px or so), but you do create more space which seems to be more comfortable for viewing – away from the edge of the page.

14 September 2006 at 02:31 PM

Great post Cameron. I’m now designing for 1024, but had one of those “smack my head” moments when I read the IAB/grid stuff…

Chris G – actually, Shaun Inman’s Mint has a “Window Width ” pepper (plug-in) that measures a users browser width:

The Window Width Pepper picks up where User Agent 007 leaves off by tracking the width of the browser window on each page load allowing you to make more informed design decisions regarding page width than you could with screen dimensions alone.

Check it out. I’ve been using it for a while now – it works really well!

14 September 2006 at 02:49 PM

I don’t think 800×600 is going away completely for a very long time; it’s life is not built around hardware support as many of us designers would like to believe… plenty of users choose it for other reasons.

Let me elaborate with an example: while I was webmaster at Northland College the director of communications had horrible eyesight and ran 800×600 to increase readability on her 17 inch monitor (it was a lot easier than changing font size preferences in firefox and IE, which is an unreliable method altogether). Once I noticed this, I saw users all over the place in a similar situation, and suddenly the webtrends reports that say I should ignore 800×600 because of our user base seemed to hold much less weight.

I think we need some more time (and an OS/Browser combo with easy to use, greater accessibility tools) before we forget about 800×600 completely.

14 September 2006 at 03:32 PM

Sweet! I use Mint already so this would be perfect. Thanks!

14 September 2006 at 04:15 PM

I think you right dan, that’s why I prefer the method I mentioned earlier that uses stylesheets depended on screen resolution. It is some extra work, but not to hard if you don’t want to be constricted by 800 wide.

800×600 is down to 17% according to the w3c, but should offcourse not be disregarded.

So I think we shouldn’t choose just one resolution, but try to more progressive in that matter and serve alternates when possible.

14 September 2006 at 05:32 PM

Years and years ago when Webmonkey.com was the only web developer/designer resource there was a great article written called Sizing up The Browsers. In that article they had a link to a PSD that contains browser windows as a layer so you can design your site accordingly. Just have a look as the file to see what I’m mumbling about…

14 September 2006 at 07:09 PM

According to xScope. you can use up to 986px if you only care about IE5-6 WIN, Safari, Firefox MAC + WIN, and NS6 MAC. If you drop NS6 off the list you can go up to 999px.

I recently made a site that used the golden ratio for the relationship between column widths. I ended up with a 926px wide site that was broken up into 10 sub-columns with 14px padding between. The layout can be broken up into columns that are 2, 3, or 5 sub-columns wide. Its slightly more complicated than that. I would upload an image to explain but I am too lazy.

14 September 2006 at 07:36 PM

Wow, I’d never even realized this. My thing has always been 1.) New Photoshop document; 2.) Width: 1024px, height 1000px; 3.) Setup guides for 32px margin.

This gives a 960px content area. And I just did 32px the first time I designed for 1024 because it’s the square root of 1024…

15 September 2006 at 01:19 AM

I’m wondering why people still do fixed width webpages in the first place. Isn’t it patronising to dictate the width of a users browser window?

Designing for fixed width is MUCH easier, granted, but I especially expect professional (business) sites to take the time to create fluid width webpages.

Look at amazon.com — it’s a nice example that it actually CAN be done professionally.

15 September 2006 at 01:50 AM

Any site at which I’ve marvelled at the prettiness has been fixed-width. Call me superficial, but I would visit Amazon more often if its width was fixed and its layout clearly under control, rather than looking like the default template of a shopping cart package.

15 September 2006 at 01:54 AM

Lately I’ve always been using 975 as a width. When developing flash sites that have a fixed canvas I use 975×560 which seems to fit quite good in every browser on a 1024×768 screen resolution.

15 September 2006 at 01:55 AM

Haha, it CAN be done professionally, but I wouldn’t say amazon.com is a great example, not even a good example.

And I don’t think most of us are talking about fixed width, we’re talking about 1024-based width. “Optimal width for 1024 resolution,” not, “Optimal fixed width for every website, ever.”

There’s no definitive answer for going with fixed, fluid, or elastic in any case.

15 September 2006 at 01:58 AM

“Most Windows users I know browse fullscreen, even if they have gargantuan displays (1400+ pixels wide)- I just don’t get it.”

Windows makes it easy – 1 click full screen, one click minimised, 1 click in the taskbar to switch programs. (maximised windows are full attention windows)

I still haven’t found out how to have a full screen browser window on my Mac Mini

So I guess with windows users, sizing a window is less important.

managing white space therefore becomes an issue for designers.

15 September 2006 at 05:54 AM

We got similar results from our long-term web-usage study: Never expect to have the full screen resolution, as many users don’t have the whole desktop available or they don’t like to maximize their browser.
See:
http://www2006.org/programme/item.php?id=18

15 September 2006 at 06:42 AM

It’s good to see this topic being discussed so much at present and in so many places.

I’m currently designing fluid layouts that stretch from 765px to 1000px.

Neither of these values divides up as well as 960px, however I’ve opted for percentage widths for nearly every layout element for which it makes sense so as to keep the main content a sufficiently decent width with respect to line length.

I chose 1000px as the maximum width due to line length issues at greater widths. Or more accurately, I wanted a width up to which line lengths were still suitable and 1000 was a more-or-less arbitrary choice.

15 September 2006 at 08:22 AM

My 2 pennies…

I agree with one poster that said the sites he preferred were fixed. I look at the designs I like, and typically this is the case. Digg.com for example. There are exceptions, slashdot.org. newsvine.com. in which the site is fluid and retains it’s “sex”. These sites (fluid) tend to have smaller left or right aligned header logos.

I can’t really see us pushing much more past the 1024 resolution. I mean, I personally hate browsing in a browser window bigger than 1024. But perhaps this is because I always want to experience what my users my experience.

There is a threshhold however. People simply won’t want to read something that forces their head to go from shoulder to shoulder to read something. There is a limit in what is comfortable. I think 1024 (950 + chrome) is the Optimal zone we won’t push much (if any) past.

Fluid vs. Fixed is like Emacs vs. Vim heh [Vim rocks btw. )]

15 September 2006 at 09:21 AM

Great work Cameron! Now I am very interested in how to properly use “the grid” for layout. Could you possibly expound on that a little more? As a novice designer, without a graphic design background I would love to understand how to properly use the grid to complete a design comp set for 960px or whatever the size. Unfortunately, I can’t make it to your workshop, but believe me if I had the income I would already be waiting on you. o) Take care and thanks.

15 September 2006 at 09:57 AM

Nobody has mentioned pixel density. It has been rumored that the next Mac OS version (Leopard) may introduce resolution independent display technology.

Even though it may not be “comfortable” to read wide columns in large displays, the near future should allow for designs that can scale proportionately so that row character count remains constant as the screen scales.

In other words, we’ll be able to have layouts with the same physical dimensions but with higher pixel counts.

15 September 2006 at 02:30 PM

We’re taking the plunge at my day job. Next version of the coporate site will be 960. That size works for our audience and we need the room for content. I think we had hung on to 800 X 600 for no logical reason though. We could have done this a year ago.

The new size divided up beautifully, lots of room for content and our old friend whitespace. Delicious!

16 September 2006 at 02:28 AM

According to my analysis, practically none browse maximized at 1024×768 (you need to go above 1400Г—1050 before you see a change in browsing behavior).

And, in order to support about, say, 95% of the people you need to design at a maximum width of 792px. At 90% it is 840px and you only support about 80% at 960px (all based on 1024×768 resolution).

16 September 2006 at 02:45 AM

Yep, we’re doing most sites at 960 now too – much nicer to work with than 780, far more flexibility.

16 September 2006 at 02:59 AM

We did pretty much the same analysis as Thomas Baekdal in our german weblog. The results confirm his findings.

Viewport width summary chart
That is, to support 95% you need take a viewport width of 780 pixels into account.

Viewport width at 1024 pixel chart
These figures show the viewport width of users with a screen resolution width of 1024 pixels. If you “optimize” for a width of 960 pixels, you only reach 80% of those users. Therefore it’s not wise to “optimize” based on the screen width.

16 September 2006 at 06:37 AM

By the time 800×600 is completely gone, it will be back on handhelds…

16 September 2006 at 09:46 AM

Just to reiterate what your clarifications, Cameron, even when you’re designing a liquid layout you have to pick a width to design to in Photoshop et al. As you say, choosing 960 is a handy number as it can be divided wholly by so many numbers.

Another point worth noting is that whole numbers are particularly important to Safari when creating a grid, as for some unfathomable reason, it cannot deal with decimalised percentages such as 33.33% (to create a third). Safari would round this down to 33% which is utterly irritating sometimes.

16 September 2006 at 10:37 AM

I think Barry Haanstra makes a really good point here! (Why didn’t I think of it myself. -)
I expect that more and more people are going to surf the web with devices other than PC’s in the upcoming years. Almost every new device out there is being equipped with WiFi already. Not only PDA’s, but also handheld game consoles, mp3 players (MS has announced WiFi in it’s new mp3 player called Zune, which will probably force Apple in doing the same with the Ipod) and cell phones. Right now, almost all of these screens have a max. resolution of 320×200, which doesn’t make them very fit for browsing. But already the trend with PDA’s is to supply them with VGA (640×480) screens and this trend will extend to other devices as well. Combine this with the increasing availability of (free) wireless access points and we will have to ask ourselves whether we shouldn’t be designing with a smaller resolution in mind?

16 September 2006 at 10:43 AM

Come to think of it, my reply above is a little off topic, but I’d still wonder how you guys stand on this.

16 September 2006 at 11:58 AM

The reason why I don’t want XGA resolutions and I prefer SVGA for my sites is because mobile browsers can easier reformat an SVGA site rather than an XGA one. No matter what CSS you use, the point remains: if a mobile user hits your site, his browser would be praying in its knees that you don’t use huge resolutions.

17 September 2006 at 03:41 PM

Has anyone else noticed that both 750px @ 800px and 960px @ 1024px are 93.75% of the maximum screen width?

I prefer liquid/elastic layouts so a width of 94% might be worth trying.

18 September 2006 at 04:33 AM

We use a combination of fixed and fluid sites for our clients, but i can concur that recently(last 3 months) for the fixed width layouts we have been used 964px, 984px, 985px and 986px. I hadn’t noticed the variation before your post mentioning the optimal width, which is strange as on the 800 layouts that we have done over the last few years we have used 760px as the basis for probably all fixed width layouts.

Thanks for kicking my brain into gear, i’ll probably set a regular fixed with for designs now.

18 September 2006 at 10:24 AM

You just HAD to bring up 1024. haha… and I just finished getting sign off from my office on a corporate redesign. All the comps are 750px wide. lol

Anyway great topic. I’ve been debating the transition for a while. With all the great feedback above I think i’ll have to give the 960px a try.

18 September 2006 at 06:43 PM

You do have a good point here, actually. I made my site a long while back 1024×768, but did it at 1000 pixels wide as I looked at other sites at the time that made their websites for that resolution. I can’t really hop into it and make my site 960 pixels wide anymore, but I’ll keep that in mind when I make my next one or if I feel insane and decide to reduce the website’s width by 40.

19 September 2006 at 04:02 AM

Most websites simply do not deserve to be more that 600px wide. )

19 September 2006 at 06:37 AM

Regarding Windows users’ tendency to browse fullscreen – Tony Crockford (comment 41) touched on something important:

…(maximised windows are full attention windows)

Some people find it distracting to have content from other applications visible around the edges of their browser window. Too much clutter. So they maximise their window to drive away distraction – and do so regardless of the application or the screen resolution.

Windows has a larger percentage of users who might think this way, than Max OS X or GNU/Linux. For example: the elderly; people who use computers for recreation rather than work; less tech-savvy people.

The “fullscreen” behaviour is also driven by habit. Windows dedicates a lot of screen space to chrome, but this waste reduces when the window is maximised. Users learned a long time ago that the quickest way to eliminate unnecessary scrollbars was to maximise their window.

19 September 2006 at 07:13 AM

We launched a complete redesign of three online properties last February after nearly a year’s preparation. We settled on a 902px width (yes, 902). Width-wise only, the leaderboard ad and house ad stretch the full width, with NAV and editorial content underneath as follows from left:

Tool Rail – 120px (starting 4px in)
gutter – 10px
Editorial Content (chewy centre) – 428px
gutter – 10px
Utility Rail – 160px
gutter – 10px
Premium Content – 160px

The chewy centre content is elastic and collapses from the right to accomodate those few remaining 600×800 screens (studies showed them to be 20 percent or less of our readership). Article pages are also elastic.

When re-designing such large environments, its always a tug-of-war between hugely disparate parties like advertising, editorial, design, development. In the end its almost less of a re-design than a difficult course in UN mediation. But our odd choice of size has left us with a rigid grid that is flexible all over the place for ad and editorial content. We’re very happy.

19 September 2006 at 02:45 PM

Do any of you designers use Flash for your websites? I’m wondering how this would carry over with that segment of web development; 100% width/height scripts? Or pop-out windows?

See what I mean:
http://www.stephrose.com/studio/

19 September 2006 at 04:47 PM

The problem with fixed layouts is that we set a width for everybody.
The problem with fluid layouts is that people may have looong unreadable lines. You know people won’t resize their browser window to match your site.

I guess we could use fixed-fluid layouts. Setting widths with ems, at least for the content column, so that the number of characters per line would be the same even if we change the font size. Sounds good.

But another problem would appear. wich width should we use? If at standard font size the site is 960px large, it would then be wider if you increased the font size, and a horizontal scroll bar would appear.
So which one is the lesser evil? Big text in a narrow column or horizontal scrolling?

19 September 2006 at 07:43 PM

a minor point regarding Full Screen — the Alt+Tab functionality has been inconsistently supported by Mac, if my memory serves (for a while it was a feature that was installed if you installed MS Office, but wasn’t native to the OS, right?). Alt+Tab has been an essential navigation command for a decade in Windows.

Add to that the issues of inadequate video cards (if any) in enterprise environments, regardless of multitasking support, and I suspect many users were trained over time to work full screen and Alt+Tab because it seemed more efficient (slow screen redraws on a Windows machine are legion).

That I still don’t think there has been an effective UI for docking windows that made them easily navigable. I’m sure there are some jockeys out there that can move quickly, but it sure seems that Alt+Tab is about the fastest way to move around.

19 September 2006 at 11:44 PM

Regarding Windows vs. Mac window maximization, I can see it from both angles. My main machine is a Mac, and I usually have my browser window opened to full screen width (1900 right now) in order to keep the content from other windows (or even the desktop) from distracting me. At the same time, I totally see the wisdom in Apple’s decision to not have the green “maximize” button elicit Windows-like behaviour. Most people aren’t going to necessarily want to browse at full screen width even if they are given the choice. One reason is that text columns inflate to the extent that text becomes difficult to read. The minority of those who *do* have a lot of screen real estate AND still choose to use a fully maximized window can still do so, but they’re a minority, and so it’s like the 80/20 rule. Thus, I think Apple made the right decision. Windows’ behaviour is akin to bad advice that falls into general acceptance due to ubiquity.

As for the poster who mentioned Alt + Tab: I don’t think I could live without it. I prefer to keep my hands on the keyboard; moving my hand away to use the mouse is something like a last resort in my mind.

22 September 2006 at 01:25 PM

We have also been tracking browser width settings. Our results indicate that among the visitors with a screen res of 1024 or greater only 25% have a browser width greater than or equal to 1000 pixels.

So for us, if we were to go with a fixed width setting it would be between 750 and 960.

When I put myself through our browser test, I learned that I prefer to keep my browser width around 940, regardless of the platform I am on.

FWIW … As a user of sites, I prefer fixed width. I don’t like the arrangement of content changing on me as I change the browser width. I really don’t like it when I am looking to purchase online and come to a site designed for 1024, forcing me to scroll horiz to view products, info, etc. Those sites don’t get my business.

26 September 2006 at 03:50 PM

As always: it depends.

I would like to second Barry Haanstra’s comment that sooner or later 800×600 will be back in full effect on handheld devices. Months ago I heard about Nokia developing a new handheld device equipped with a 800×600 display, so there definitely a case for fluid layouts.

On the other hand, there’s also aesthetics. Clients still want pretty looking webpages with visuals that span the entire width of the page. We all know that’s impossible with fluid designs. Not to forget about Nielsen’s recommended maximum line width of approx. 400 pixels (that’s about 10-12 words).

It’s better for us to adjust to our visitors’ browsing habits, than to require them to resize their browser windows in order to make a webpage look pretty and read well, no?

29 September 2006 at 04:43 PM

I have a rather uninformed question… what is it you’re doing with all that space? There are dozens of websites (http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=words+per+line+web+ideal&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) and books that state the ideal words per line to be in the 10-15 range and yet somehow designs keep requiring more width… what am I missing? Using width for width’s sake seems like a poor decision. Am I in the minority?

06 October 2006 at 04:50 PM

The actual text field could of course be more narrow than 960px, even though you are designing towards that width :-)

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    You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

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    1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

    Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

    There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

    This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

    Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

    This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it’s specific.

    2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

    Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

    My family is an extended family.

    This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

    While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

    This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

    3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

    Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

    Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

    This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

    Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

    This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because. since. so. although. unless. and however .

    4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

    A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you’re writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

    World hunger has many causes and effects.

    This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

    Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

    This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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    This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

    Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements

    This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.

    Contributors: Elyssa Tardiff, Allen Brizee
    Last Edited: 2014-02-10 10:44:43

    Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement

    1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

    • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
    • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
    • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

    If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g. a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

    2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

    3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.

    4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

    Thesis Statement Examples

    Example of an analytical thesis statement:

    An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.

    The paper that follows should:

    • Explain the analysis of the college admission process
    • Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

    Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

    The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.

    The paper that follows should:

    • Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

    Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

    High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

    The paper that follows should:

    • Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

    Copyright ©1995-2016 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use .

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    abigail williams essay

    Abigail Williams of The Crucible

    Abigail Williams is manipulative and wants everything to go her way. She is the main character and causes trouble everywhere she goes. The Salem Witch Trials is about hearings and prosecutions of people who were accused of witchcraft. In The Crucible Abigail is a no good villain. Abigail first commits adultery with Elizabeth’s husband. Later on Abigail begins to accuse innocent people of doing witchcraft which causes them to die. Abigail Williams uses the Salem Witch Trials to put out all the resentment she has toward everyone.
    Abigail commits adultery with Elizabeth’s husband who is John Proctor. In The Crucible John was thirty years of age and Abigail who was just seventeen. Even with a huge age difference Abigail seems to think she has a high level of maturity to do anything she wants. John and Elizabeth hired Abigail, until Elizabeth found out about his affair and fired Abigail. John told Abigail that he was done with the affair and that he will never touch her again. “Abby, I may think of you softly from time to time. But I will cut off my hand before I’ll ever reach for you again”. (Miller 23) Abigail would claim that John was in love with her and that she also loved him too, but John never really loved Abigail he only saw lust.
    Even though Abigail claimed to like John, she mostly loved the attention he gave her. When Abigail was younger she witnessed both of her parent’s being killed. “I saw Indians smash my dear parent’s heads on the pillow next to mine”. (Miller 20) However in the beginning of The Crucible Abigail is portrayed to be innocent because she is an orphan and she saw the murder of her parents. After the incident she was raised by her Uncle Parris. Although being raised by her uncle she never.

    . middle of paper.

    . ical problem. She seems to be lost in the world, and the only way for her to go through life is by being deceitful. She has no remorse for what she’s done or caused. It becomes even worse when she steals from her own family members. In addition Abigail eventually ran away with Mercy Lewis. Abigail is cold-hearted and she basically plays the devils character in her town. In this case Abigail was never the victim and she will always be an unforgettable character.

    Work Cited
    Martin, Robert A. “Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: Background.” Bloom’s Literature.
    Facts On File, Inc. Web. 11 Dec. 2013://www http.fofweb.com/activelink2.
    Miller, Arthur. The Crucible (Penguin Classics). London: Penguin Classics,
    2003. Print.
    Abbotson, Susan C. W. “The Crucible.” Bloom’s Literature.
    Facts On File, Inc. Web. 10 Feb. 2014

    The Crucible

    Abigail Williams Timeline and Summary

    • Abigail confesses to her uncle that she was dancing in the forest with Tituba, but claims that nakedness was not involved.
    • When the Rev. Parris asks why she was dismissed by the Proctors so many months ago, Abigail insists that she still has a good reputation in the village.
    • Left alone with Betty, Abigail tries to get her to wake up.
    • Abigail instructs all the young girls on what they can and cannot say about what they did with Tituba. She threatens to kill them if they reveal anything else.
    • Abigail flirts with John Proctor. She tries to get him to admit that he still wants her and expresses anger toward his wife for “blackening” her name in the village.
    • Abigail admits to Proctor that Betty is just pretending.
    • Abigail insists she’s a good girl to Reverend Hale, and then admits that Tituba was conjuring spirits and that she made Abigail drink blood.
    • When Tituba starts naming villagers who are into witchcraft, Abigail joins in and starts naming women in the village she saw with the Devil.
    • Abigail leads the girls in court in their witchcraft accusations.
    • One night, stuck by a pin, Abigail accuses Elizabeth Proctor of creating a poppet (a sort of voodoo doll) and sticking it with a pin to harm her.
    • When Mary Warren appears to renounce her involvement in the court proceedings, Abigail is given the chance to admit that she was pretending. Instead, she pretends that Mary has sent her spirit out to try to harm her. And so the trials continue.
    • When Abigail is questioned in court about her sexual affair with John Proctor after he confesses, Abigail denies it.
    • Abigail breaks into her uncle’s lockbox, steals all his money, and leaves Salem with Mercy Lewis.
    • BACK
    • NEXT

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    The Crucible

    Abigail Williams

    Character Analysis

    Chillin Like a Villain(ess)

    Sometimes literature throws us a bone in the form of a really awesome antagonist. Someone we hate. but find totally magnetic. Someone who chills us to the core. but we can’t stop watching. Think Game of Thrones’ Joffrey. Think Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Think Hannibal Lecter.

    Think Abigail Williams.

    Abigail is vengeful, selfish, manipulative, and a magnificent liar. This young lady seems to be uniquely gifted at spreading death and destruction wherever she goes. She has an eerie sense of how to manipulate others and gain control over them. All these things add up to make her an awesome antagonist.

    In Act I, her skills at manipulation are on full display. When she’s on the brink of getting busted for dabbling in witchcraft, she skillfully manages to pin the whole thing on Tituba and several of Salem’s other second-class citizens. (This is extra-horrible when you think about the fact that Abigail is the one who persuaded Tituba to go out and cast the spells.) Ever since Abigail’s brief affair with John Proctor, she’s been out to get his wife, Elizabeth. Our crafty villain convinced Tituba to put a curse on Elizabeth, hoping to get rid of her and take her place at John’s side:

    ABIGAIL, pulling her away from the window: I told him everything; he knows now, he knows everything we—

    BETTY: You drank blood, Abby! You didn’t tell him that!

    ABIGAIL: Betty, you never say that again! You will never—

    BETTY: You did, you did! You drank a charm to kill John Proctor’s wife! You drank a charm to kill Goody Proctor!

    ABIGAIL, smashes her across the face: Shut it! Now shut it! [. ] Now look you. All of you. We danced. And Tituba conjured Ruth Putnam’s dead sisters. And that is all. And mark this. Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it [. ] I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down! (I.113-132)

    It’s ironic that the Abigail, who encouraged the witchcraft in the first place, is the one who goes around accusing everybody else. As ringleader, she excites the other girls into a frenzy of emotion, which allows them to condemn as witches the people they know and love. She riles up the entire village’s hatred of witches, just like her 20th-century counterpart Sen. Joseph McCarthy riled up Americans’ hatred of communists. Abigail’s main skill seems to be finding people’s flaws, their weaknesses, and their prejudices. and then mercilessly manipulating them to her advantage.

    Abigail’s ruthless cunning is shown again in Act II when she frames Elizabeth Proctor for witchcraft. Later on in Act III she seems to lose her last shred of humanity by damning John Proctor. even though she says she loves him. When John attempts to expose Abigail, she skillfully manages to turn the whole thing around on him, packing him off to the slammer. Abigail rides her power trip out to the end, eventually leaving town with all of her uncle’s money.

    Redeemable?

    The character of Abigail is often accused of being one-dimensional, and there’s more than a grain of truth in that accusation (unlike, say, Abigail’s accusations). She doesn’t express one shred of remorse the entire time, making her seem almost inhumanly diabolical. However, even though Abigail’s actions are ruthless, they are in some ways understandable.

    For one, Miller slips in an interesting detail about Abigail’s childhood that gives us a clue about where her mercilessness might stem from. When she was younger, Abigail watched both of her parents be murdered. She tells the other girls:

    “I saw Indians smash my dear parents’ head on the pillow next to mine.” (I.119)

    Whoa. Whoa there. That is some intense, messed-up stuff. It’s no surprise that a person exposed to such brutality at a young age might eventually act brutally herself.

    Abigail’s ruthless, manipulative tactics might also be a result of her low social position. She does have it pretty bad. She’s an orphan. She’s an unmarried teenager. And worst of all (in the patriarchal Puritan society), she’s female. The only person lower than her is probably the black slave, Tituba. On top of all that, Elizabeth Proctor has been going around dropping hints that Abigail is sleazy, lowering Abby’s social status even more. With all this in mind, it’s understandable that Abigail might seize any chance to gain power.

    Historical Abigail

    Abigail Williams was a real person, and she did spearhead the group of girls who saw spirits and pointed out the witches in Salem. The historical person was a bit different than the fictional character, though. Arthur Miller explained that one discovery he made while digging into the actual history of the Salem Witch Trials set his imagination on fire: Abigail Williams, the mover and shaker of the witch-finding craze, had been the Proctors’s house servant for a short time. Though Abigail called Elizabeth a witch, “with uncharacteristic fastidiousness she was refusing to include John Proctor, Elizabeth’s husband, in her accusations despite the urgings of the prosecutors” (source ).

    While there’s no actual evidence that the real John Proctor and the real Abigail Williams had an affair, Miller could find no good reason why Abigail distinguished so vehemently between the guilt of a husband and wife. So Arthur Miller took creative license with her character to make the connection between sexuality and politics more dramatic.

    In reality though, Abigail Williams was only eleven years old at the time of the witch trials. which makes Abigail more sympathetic and John Proctor potentially way creepier. Or it proves that Abigail is a demon-child and John Proctor is way more innocent. What do you think?

    cv writing service dubai

    Dubai Resume (CV) Writing Tips

    Regardless of the technical meaning of either CV or resumГ©, for Dubai employment purposes, they are the same thing. Since the word CV is more commonly used in Dubai, we’re going to use it throughout this article.

    Here, I’ll tell you about Dubai specific issues that you need to be aware of when writing your Dubai CV. If you need general instructions on how to write CVs, there are hundreds of free websites that can give you that. Use Google to find them, but for a Dubai specific CV, stick here.

    Let’s get started.

    There Are No Anti-Discrimination Laws in Dubai

    Dubai is a free town. (Well, at least in this regard it is). No one tells the employers what and what not to look for in an employee. Employers can ask you all kinds of questions and they can judge you based on any criterion they deem necessary. What does this mean for your CV? Well, many things…

    Include Your Photo

    For your Dubai CV to be effective, you gotta include a photo of yourself. The photo tells the employers many of the things that they would want to know about you. Like, do you look hot and presentable? Or, what ethnic group do you belong to, is it one of which the employer favors? (Yes, this thing happens in Dubai, unfortunately)

    In any way, your photo also makes your CV look more human and attractive.

    Include Your Nationality

    What if you are a unique human being of mixed races? What if it’s hard to tell your ethnicity by your photo? In this case, include your nationality. If you are a dual-citizen include the better nationality. This might not work for some people, though, as their name may reveal their real nationality. Like, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon with a U.S. passport!

    Moreover, regardless of how much of an individual you are, your nationality could tell many real things about you. Set things straight from the start and reveal it in your CV.

    Include Your Date of Birth

    No 45-year-olds need apply to this Marketing Assistant position. It’s common practice for employers to want to filter-out candidates based on their age. And it is common for candidates in Dubai to include their age on their CV.

    Your Gender is a Factor

    There are job listings in Dubai where they will ask for a specific gender, age and ethnicity. Like

    Personal Assistant to The General Manager Needed

    Nationality: Lebanese or Western

    More like a personal ad than a job posting, if you ask me! But, what the heck, at least they are being honest. So, if your gender can’t be determined by your name or photo, mention it explicitly.

    Did Anyone Mistakenly Tell You That Your CV Should Not Be More Than One Page in Length?

    That’s what they told me, and they were wrong! Especially for Dubai. In a couple of networking events and meetings, I handed out my one-pager, and people were turning it over to see what’s more. There wasn’t any. One guy asked me, “only one page?” From then on, I expanded my CV into two full-pages, and the phone started ringing!

    Glorify, Exaggerate and Dramatize

    I don’t care whether you are applying for an office administrator or a phone operator, write your CV as if you’re applying for the Chief Executive Officer position. If you’ve done any work, be it freelance, community work, school project, voluntary or anything, glorify it, exaggerate it, make it sound like the biggest project in the industry!

    Here’s a little example:

    Efficiently entered data into a spreadsheet

    What you did instead is:

    Devised an efficient data-entry system that was approved by management and increased productivity by 70%

    You’re not lying here. The way you quickly input data into a spreadsheet is a system that’s devised by you, and you kinda mentioned that Excel trick to the boss and he liked it…

    Forget The Clean U.S. Style CV. You Need a Dubai Fancy Style CV

    Career advisers tell people to have no styling in their CVs probably because they know that most people suck at styling documents. And that’s probably true. So, if you know for sure that you can style your CV and still keep it clean and easily readable, do it. Otherwise, your photo nicely aligned to the side in the header, with a couple of thin black borders here and there would do the job. To stay safe, you can have a professional review and critique your CV for free .

    Either Write A Great Cover Letter, Or Forget It!

    The most important aspect of a cover letter is how relevant it is. When you write your cover letter, you are much more likely to get results if the cover letter is addressed directly to the person who will be reading it.

    Also, make your cover letter short and quick, but make sure that you give the reader a compelling reason to open up your CV and read it .

    So you see, writing a CV for Dubai is definitely different from writing a CV for the U.S. or even the U.K. What’s been discussed in this article should keep you safe.

    Professional Dubai CV Writing:

    I recommend that you let a professional help you write your CV. Click here for a free CV review

    CV Emailing Tips:

    If your CV is ready for prime time, before you email your CV to anybody, make sure that you view and adhere to these important guidelines. They will increase the response you get.

    Let’s Start by Selecting Your Package

    Select your plan now, and take the first step towards creating a CV that employers will love

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    Reach new heights, leave an indelible mark! Now that you are a winner, it is time to allow us to consolidate your CV or profile to promote your unique brand.

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