Chapter 5 Where Can We Find A Compelling Thesis

* Scholarly inquiry builds new knowledge or understanding by posing questions, gathering information, and processing that information to draw conclusions

Ask the Right Questions

  1. Controversies About Existence of Fact (Is it true? Did it happen?)
  2. Controversies About Definition or Interpretation
  3. Controversies About Cause, Consequence, or Circumstance
  4. Controversies About Evaluation (Is it right or wrong? Is it serious enough to warrant our attention?)
  5. Controversies About Jurisdiction, Procedure, Policy, or Action To Be Taken (What, if anything, should we do about it?)

What's a Good Question? (dig narrow and deep, rather than broad and shallow)

  • Challenging
  • Compelling
  • Controversial

Strongest Thesis Questions

  • Investigating a controversy thoroughly to identify the best questions that people haven't answered fully yet
  • Selecting challenging, compelling, and controversial questions
  • Focusing on the later controversy categories

Changing My Thesis

  • Thesis ultimately evolves
  • Settling on a thesis before writing closes off opportunities to learn

Advantages of Evolving Your Thesis

  1. To shows readers your evolving thoughts
  2. To build a complicated argument
  3. To develop a controversial argument
  4. To keep the reader interested or surprised

Thesis Statements to Stay Away From

  • Cliched Arguments: restate common wisdom or rely on an overused idea
  • "Interesting" Arguments: state that a problem of concept is interesting; relies solely on personal opinion

Thesis with Style

  • Aim for thesis statements that are both provocative and clear (vivid in their expression and evident in their meaning)
  • Use "Although" statements to position your idea against an opposing idea
  • Select a purpose, audience, or genre that your reader may not expect
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