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Developing a Thesis Statement
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As you start your research you may decide to change your thesis statement. This is perfectly OK, and may be necessary. You need to be flexible enough to recognize that what you've chosen to write about might be more interesting if examined from a different angle. Or perhaps you're not finding enough to back up your original idea, but you're coming across tons of stuff about a different aspect of the subject. The important thing is to leave your mind open, stay focussed, and get organized!

Determine the requirements of the assignment

  • When is it due?
  • How long should it be?
  • Is the topic assigned?

  • Often the assignment itself can provide clues as to how to go about formulating your thesis statement. For example, if the professor wants a three page paper, "Why the United States Should Withdraw from Iraq" would not be a suitable thesis.

    Choose a topic

  • The class discussions or the textbook you are using may help you find a topic.
  • Click on "Subject Terms" on the green bar in Academic Search Premier, one of the databases on the HVCC library web page. Or try the Opposing Viewpoints Online database listed further down the page.
  • Check out the subject guides on the Library web page that were put together by HVCC librarians. It may be particularly helpful to look through one of the subject-specific encyclopedias.
  • Express one main idea, and word it in such a way that reasonable people could disagree on the issue. Try using one of these question starters to formulate your thesis statement:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?
  • How Often?
  • To What Extent?
  • Make sure it is an issue that interests you, and then take a position on it. For example, if you like animals, choose an issue relating to them. For example, "How Human Development in the Midwest is Endangering the Native Wildlife."