Thesis Questions

In the beginning stages of the planning process, your thesis statement may be referred to as the working thesis. A working thesis is like a rough draft thesis. It is a work in progress, and not quite in its most perfect version yet.

As you work through your thesis statement, you might ask yourself these questions:
  • What is the length requirement for the assignment?

The traditional 5-paragraph essay is a common writing assignment in many college classes. Sometimes a strong thesis can come from the formula used for 5-paragraph essays.

  • How much information am I going to find to support my thesis? 

If your thesis is too broad, you may find yourself overwhelmed with source material. Make sure the thesis is specific, and can actually be supported with the sources that you find.

  • Who is the audience for the assignment?

You will write your paper differently depending on your audience. You may have to provide some background information about the topic before you launch into your argument or define jargon terms or acronyms for the reader.

Consider these questions about your overall topic:
  • What biases might you have as you launch into the construction of your argument?

Sometimes our biases show through, so carefully craft your thesis so that it makes a strong argument without inserting assumptions or broad generalizations.

  • What do you already know about the topic?

Your own experiences can be valuable when constructing your argument, as well as when you start to look for resources to support your assertions.

  • What information might be considered “common knowledge” for your readers?

Your introduction paragraph and thesis may not need to go into great detail about information considered common knowledge. Common knowledge information is information that is widely known (like the signing of the Declaration of Independence) or easily verified (May is the 5th month of the year).