Page 5 Chapter 5 Notes

Where Can We Find a Compelling Thesis

Some key things to know when developing an argument:

  • Keep reading: Scholars write from sources. You may ask your scholarly mentor to recommend readings on your topic. When you have found a good source to find more information you can always look at its bibliography for related readings that will take you into new and deeper directions.
  • Apply your perspective: Find fresh and new perspectives to a subject. Knowing little about something may help you ask questions.
  • Make your own luck: Discovery often happens by mistake so be brave and curious about your topic.
  • Challenge yourself: Arguments demonstrate evidence of thinking. It can lead to a good thesis even if it's not news to experts.
  • Talk with others: Conversation often sparks great ideas. Talking with trusted friends and mentors helps us refine fuzzy ideas and discover more original angles from which to approach a topic.
  • Try freewriting

Ask the right questions

  • Explore controversies that arguments address, which we explain in Chapter 3.
  • Write down as many questions as you can.

Challenging: Scholars don't asks questions when they already know the answers.
Compelling: Good questions have significant consequences or implications for real people or real situations, even if the effects are mostly theoretical.
Controversial: Great questions are inspired by some disagreement among readers concerning the best solution to a problem.

Dig narrow and deep, rather than broad and shallow

Writing an Evolving Thesis

  • To show readers your evolving thoughts
  • To build a complicated argument
  • To develop a controversial argument
  • To keep the reader interested or surprised.

Titanic Thesis Statements:

  • Cliched arguments usually restating common wisdom (something everyone already knows.)
  • Interesting arguments (Things based solely on personal opinion.)

We aim for thesis statements that are both provocative and clear.

Checklist for thesis statements:

  • Answers a challenging, compelling, and/or controversial question
  • Gets at the heart of 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 a specific and interesting content and style.

Page 6, CH 6 Notes

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