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After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic.Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument.For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times.
Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.
You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.
As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.
If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance. Reason This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II). Identified topic (warfare being a major theme in that work).As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn.Thus, you might begin with something like this: At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement.Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be.This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses.