Formulating Thesis Problem

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You need a good thesis statement for your essay but are having trouble getting started. You’ve focused on a topic--high school cliques--which is a smart move because you’ve settled on one of many possible angles.

You may have heard that your thesis needs to be specific and arguable, but still wonder what this really means. Imagine you’re writing about John Hughes’s film is a romantic comedy about high school cliques. But the claim is weak because it’s not yet arguable.

” will require only some basic descriptive statistics to answer and should, at best, be a component of a larger argument.

Make it manageable Ensure that you can answer the question within your research timeframe and with the resources available to you. It might be tempting to put together a complex question that would require a large sample and elaborate methods to answer.

Or why does the film challenge our expectations about romantic comedies by focusing on high school cliques? is a romantic comedy criticizing the divisiveness created by high school cliques. You’re starting to take a stance by arguing that the film identifies “divisiveness” as a problem and it, but your readers will want to know how this plays out and why it’s important. If your argument lacks evidence, readers will think your thesis statement is an opinion or belief as opposed to an argument. To get started, you might experiment with some of these “mad libs.” They’re thinking exercises that will help propel you toward an arguable thesis.

If you can answer one of those questions (or others of your own), you’ll have a strong thesis. Right now, the thesis still sounds bland – not risky enough to be genuinely contentious. By examining __________________ [topic/approach], we can see _____________________[thesis—the claim that's surprising], which is important because ___________________________.[1] Example: is merely entertaining, I believe its message is political.

If your thesis doesn’t go beyond summarizing your source, it’s not arguable. Although the film appears to reinforce stereotypes about high school cliques, it undermines them in important ways, questioning its viewers’ assumptions about what’s normal. We also have a sense of why this argument is important.

The key words in the thesis statement are “romantic comedy” and “high school cliques.” One way to sharpen the claim is to . The film’s larger goal, we learn, is to question what we think we understand about normalcy.

After all, you will be working on this project for at least a year, so you better make it stimulating and fun.

Wording the question It’s unlikely that your first version of the research question will also be your final. Avoid simply copying ideas you came across in other study modules or research papers. It is very important not to make the question too broad or too vague. ” is most likely a question too large and non-specific enough to answer in a single study.


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