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EAPP Handout #1

LOCATING MAIN IDEAS


 Accomplishing something quickly but efficiently and accurately is one skill you will definitely find useful
in life. This skill is also helpful in your academic classes, especially when you have to read various texts.
One effective way of increasing your speed in reading is by finding the main idea or thesis statement of
the text and the topic sentence of the paragraphs.
 If you can locate the thesis statement and the topic sentences, you do not have to read the entire text
to get the key information you need. It will also give you an idea of the text and help you evaluate the
author’s arguments as you read.
Understanding & Locating the Thesis Statement
 The thesis statement presents or describes the point of view of an essay. In an academic text, the
thesis statement is usually presented in the abstract or executive summary or found at the last part of
the introduction. It is written in a declarative sentence.
 In some cases in academic texts, the thesis statement located at the last part of the introduction is
replaced with a purpose statement. Unlike the thesis statement, the purpose statement is introduced
by signal phrases that announce the purpose, scope, or direction of the text as well as the focus.
 These signal phrases include: “This study examined…”, “This paper examines…”, “The aim of this essay
is to…”, “This paper begins with…”, “In this paper, I hope to…”, “The primary objective of this paper is
to…”, and “The purpose of this essay is to…” among others.
Strategies in Locating the Thesis Statement
The following are strategies are also useful in helping you locate the thesis statement of a text.

 Read the title of the text and make inferences on its purpose.
 If the text has no abstract or executive summary, read the first few paragraphs as the thesis statement
is usually located there.
 In other cases, you may also check the conclusion where authors sum up and review their main points.

Understanding & Locating the Topic Sentence

The topic sentence presents ore describes the point of the paragraph. In other words, it is the main idea of a
paragraph. It can be located in the beginning, middle or last part of a paragraph.
Strategies in Locating the Topic Sentence
The following are useful in helping you locate the topic sentence in a paragraph.
 Read the first sentence of the paragraph very carefully because most authors state their topic
sentence in the beginning of the paragraph.
 Browse the sentences in the paragraph to identify what they describe. The sentence that best
describes the topic of the paragraph is the topic sentence.