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English 105

Writing a Good Thesis Statement

Created by East Tennessee State University Library

Writing a thesis statement

All good thesis statements begin with a research question(s).

  • What is it that you want to know about your research topic?
  • Start broad, then focus your question(s) as you develop your topic, locate sources, and read arguments and information.
  • Your thesis will change depending on the focus of your research question.
  • Before you arrive at a focused thesis statement try creating a draft or open thesis. A draft thesis should state your general idea, but not yet reflect how you intend to support that idea.

For Example:

  1. Broad Topic: Death penalty
  2. Initial Research Question(s): Is the death penalty fair? Should there be a death penalty?
  3. Topic Development - Narrowing Topic: economic aspects, racial aspects, political aspects, moral/ethical aspects
  4. Focused Question(s): Does a defendant’s socioeconomic status influence the verdict in a death penalty case? Are low income minorities more likely to receive a death sentence than others who commit the same crime?
  5. Draft or Open Thesis: Poverty and race may too often play a role in death penalty cases.
  6. Focused Thesis (Answer to Focused Research Question): The death penalty should be abolished, because it is unfairly applied to minorities and the poor.

Adapted from Palm Beach State College's Writing a Thesis Statement Guide

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