- Original thesis: Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated. [if it’s so timid and gentle — why is it being exterminated?]
- Revised thesis: Although the timber wolf is actually a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated because people wrongfully believe it to be a fierce and cold-blooded killer.
- Are there two large statements connected loosely by a coordinating conjunction (i.e. “and,” “but,” “or,” “for,” “nor,” “so,” “yet”)?
- Would a subordinating conjunction help (i.e. “through,” “although,” “because,” “since”) to signal a relationship between the two sentences?
- Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis?
- If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development.
State ment of fact:
Arguable thesis statement/opening paragraph:
This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a “soft-on-crime” image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you’ll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.
First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author’s argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)
A thesis statement is powerful on two fronts. First, it allows the reader to get excited about what, specifically, is coming their way. Second, it stands as the point of reference for your entire paper.
A thesis statement is one sentence that expresses the main idea of a research paper or essay, such as an expository essay or argumentative essay. It makes a claim, directly answering a question.
Remember this argument is your “preliminary” or “working” thesis. As you read you may discover evidence that may affect your stance. It is okay to revise your thesis!
- Interesting contrasts or comparisons or patterns emerging in the information
- Is there something about the topic that surprises you?
- Do you encounter ideas that make you wonder why?
- Does something an “expert” says make you respond, “no way! That can be right!” or “Yes, absolutely. I agree!”