Chapter 5 Berkelman
  • how to develop an argument:
    • keep reading
    • apply your perspective
    • make your own luck
    • challenge yourself talk with others
    • try freewriting
  • categorize controversies:
    • controversies about existence or fact (is it true? did it happen?)
    • controversies about definition or interpretation (does it fit the definition? how do we interpret this information?)
    • controversies about cause, consequences, or circumstances (intentional? extenuating circumstances?)
    • controversies about evaluation (right or wrong? serious enough to warrant our attention?)
    • controversies about jurisdiction, procedure, policy, or action to be taken (what should be done?)
  • what makes a good question?:
    • it's challenging
    • it's compelling
    • it's controversial
  • stimulating question criteria:
    • which questions are most controversial, interesting, or complicated?
    • which questions already have obvious, simple, or commonly known answers? (avoid these)
    • is this question expansive and sophisticated enough for me to fulfill my assignment's page requirement, yet narrow enough for me to investigate it deeply within the page limit?
    • how might i answer this question? what method could i use?
    • do i have the time and resources that i'll need to answer this question?
  • constraints of the writing task:
    • available time
    • available knowledge
    • available space
  • you can change your thesis because they evolve as the research does
  • you shouldn't set your thesis before you start writing
  • an evolving thesis has advantages:
    • to show readers your evolving thoughts
    • to build a complicated argument
    • to develop a controversial argument
    • to keep the reader interested or surprised
  • a thesis designed to sink is called a titanic thesis
    • cliched arguments
    • "interesting" arguments
  • aim for thesis statements are both provocative and clear
  • checklist for a thesis statement
    • answers a challenging, compelling, and/or controversial question
    • gets at the heart of the controversy
    • breathes new life into an issue and avoids overused, common wisdom
    • is appropriate for the argument's audience, purpose, and context
    • engages readers with specific and interesting content and style
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