Developing a Research Question/Thesis
A thesis statement tells your reader the central message of your paper. A thesis should:
- State the main subject of the paper
- Convey the purpose of the paper
- Indicate the focus of the paper
- Use specific language, not vague or sweeping statements
- May indicate or state the major subdivisions of the paper's topic
Developing a Thesis Statement
As you research and explore your topic look for:
- Interesting contrasts or comparisons
- Relationships that are not apparent
- Strong arguments for or against an idea
Consider the following questions:
- 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't be right!" or "Yes, absolutely. I agree!"?
Example of Developing a Thesis
- Select a topic (Television violence and children)
- Ask an interesting question (What are the effects of television violence on children?)
- Read the research, revising your thesis as you learn more
- Determine a preliminary argument and then take a focused stance (Violence in television cartoons increases aggressive behavior in preschool children.)
- Revise your thesis if your research provides evidence counter to your initial stance