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I am having trouble with my thesis

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A great thesis often develops in stages; it is ever-evolving as your understanding of your topic deepens and shifts.

Let's briefly explore what a thesis is and then we can highlight what a thesis should do.

What is a thesis statement?

  • It is a sentence, found somewhere around the end of your introduction, that states the primary argument of your paper and points to the kind of support you will use to make that claim.

What should a thesis do?

  • Serve as a road-map: Your thesis shows your reader what route you are going to take through the various paragraphs of your paper. The thesis helps ensure that your readers are following your line of reasoning, and it works for you as the writer too-- keeping your paper on topic and reminding you of what you want to cover as you write.
  • Articulate your primary argument: a good thesis is a statement that you have to support with evidence. Take a moment and ask yourself if the argument you are writing needs support or if it reflects generally accepted facts.

Start out with these steps . . .

  • Read the Writing Center's detailed description of a good thesis sentence.
  • Fill out this worksheet [doc] to help you generate ideas for your thesis sentence.
    • Once you have written a thesis sentence, you may find that you adjust your ideas while writing the rest of your paper. That is ok; in fact, it is great. When this happens, return to your thesis and revise it so that it clearly names the new direction you take in your paper.
    • After your paper is complete, you can return to your thesis for additional stylistic revisions. You may want to change a word or incorporate a new phrase into your thesis that you thought of while you continued writing. You may find that you are completely happy with your thesis and do not want to change any of it.