Chapter 5 Alex

Start with a really good question
-build new knowledge or understanding by posing questions, gathering info, and processing it to draw conclusions
-tell readers the question right away so they can look to see if you answered it

Developing an Argument

  • Keep reading
  • Apply your own perspective
  • Make your own luck
  • Challenge yourself
  • Talk with others
  • Try free writing


  • About existence or fact
    • Is it true?
    • Did it happen?
  • About definition or interpretation
    • Does this cause fit the definition?
    • How do we interpret this information?
  • About cause, consequence or circumstance
    • Was it intentional?
    • Are there extenuating circumstances?
  • About Evaluation
    • Is it right or wrong?
    • Is it serious enough to warrant our attention?
  • About jurisdiction, procedure, policy or action to be taken
    • What, if anything,should we do about it?

Good questions are

  • Challenging
    • Don't ask questions when you already know the answer.
    • Need proof, data and investigation
  • Compelling
    • Significant consequences or implications for real people and situations
  • Controversial

*Inspire disagreement
-Dig narrow and deep rather than broad ans shallow
-You can change your thesis
-Don't settle on a thesis before writing

Evolve Thesis

  • Evolve thoughts
    • Start with initial hypothesis, then introduce counterarguments
  • Build a complicated argument
    • Prove/ explain one part of thesis
  • Develop controversial argument
    • Begin with a position most people are okay with
      • gradually evolve this
  • Keep readers interested or involved
    • give readers a "taste" of your position at first

Titanic Thesis Statements

  • Clich├ęd arguments
    • restate common wisdom
  • Interesting arguments
    • Stating that something is interesting is a matter of opinion, don't do it

-Aim for both provocative and clear thesis statements
-"although" statements (120)

Checklist for thesis statements

  • Answer a challenging, compelling, and/or controversial question
  • Get to the heart of the controversy
  • Breathe new life into an issue, avoid overused common wisdom
  • Appropriate for audience, purpose, and context
  • Engages reader with specific and interesting content and style
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