There are several techniques that you can use that will help you get a thesis. I will mention two basic ones. As you read along, keep the double A's: "Analyze your assignment" and "Analyzing your potential readers" in your thoughts whenever you need to create a thesis (Faigley 462-463). Let's take a look at them:
I. "Analyze your assignment"
Pay attention to details carefully and slowly given to you by the instructor by looking, "for key words like argue for, take a stand, and write on a controversial issue" in your assignment. They are telling you that, "you are writing a position argument". If the instructor gives you a list of options of requests to choose from in your assignment, than you can:
1."turn the request into a question"
Since a thesis statement "directly answers the question asked of you" than the "the answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay". Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN gives us examples:
Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?”
A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”
You can than choose from your list of questions to "compose one or two complete sentences answering that question". Warning 1: "Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis,” a basic or main idea, an argument that you think you can support with evidence but that may need adjustment along the way". Keep in mind, a strong thesis is one that is able to answer the question. If the instructor did not assigned any specific question, than:
2. "Find an issue"
"Your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about". Suggestions are the following in "finding an issue":
1. "Make a list of possible campus issues"
2. "Make a list of possible community issues"
3. "Make a list of possible national and international issues". (Faigley 462-463)
a. "Read your issue"
This is where you need to use any available resources (internet, local library, newspaper, etc.) to read about your issues from the lists created by asking yourself questions such as "what are the major points of view on the issues," "who are the experts on these issues and "what do they have to say?," "what major claims are being offered?," "what reasons are given to support the claims?," "what kind of evidence are used to support the reasons?" (Faigley 463). Reminder: Your gathering evidence, getting acquainted with the strong points and weak points from both side of the list of issues in order to make an informed choice as to which specific question you are able to answer. Warning 2: "Deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment".
II. "Analyze your potential readers"
This is just as equally crucial as it is to "analyze your assignment". You also need to get acquainted with your readers by investigating what "....areas would they most likely will disagree with you?, what assumptions do you have in common with your readers?, what attitudes and beliefs will your readers likely have about this issue?, for whom does this issue matter?, and whose interests are at stake?" (Faigley 463). Warning 3: "A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand" and "if your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument".
All quotations are from:
Faigley, Lester. Writing: A Guide for College and Beyond. New York: , 2007. Print.
Thesis Statements. The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 26 February 2013
Thesis Statements. Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. 26 February 2013