Share this Page URL

Chapter 17. Paper Chase > The Heart of the Matter: Writing a Thesis Statement - Pg. 198

Paper Chase 198 Cut Down to Size To get that beast of a subject tailored to an appropriate size, try phrasing the subject as a question. You can also list subdivisions of the subject to create topics. Can't find subtopics? Consult card catalogues, reference books, and textbooks for ideas. Here are some examples: Subject space exploration social services violence antidepressants intelligence Topic Should the space program be drastically cut back? Is workfare working? Do violent video games, movies, and songs influence children to commit violence? Are antidepressants being over-prescribed? Is intelligence determined by nature or nurture? Goldywriter and the Three Bears So the porridge is too hot, the porridge is too cold. How can you make sure the porridge--and your topic--is just right? Try this checklist: Is my topic still too broad?Check your sources. How many pages do they devote to the topic? If it takes other writers a book to answer the question you've posed, your topic is still too big. Is my topic too limited?Is the topic perfect for a 350to 500-word essay? If so, it's too narrow for the typical research paper. Is my topic tedious?Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. If your topic bores you before you've even started writing, you can bet it will bore your audience. Is my topic too controversial?If you're afraid you're going to offend your audience with your topic, don't take the risk. Start with a new topic that suits both your audience and purpose. Is my paper onesided?If there's only one opinion about your topic or the vast majority of people think the same way as you do, there's no point in arguing the issue. Save your breath to cool your porridge. Here's where the rubber meets the road, you driving machine. You can't cut corners with this stage; answer all the questions to make sure you're on the right track. The Heart of the Matter: Writing a Thesis Statement Once you've narrowed your topic, it's time to turn your attention to your thesis statement, what you're proving in your research paper. An effective thesis statement states your main idea, reveals your purpose, and shows how your argument will be structured. As you draft your thesis statement, consider what you want to prove. Word Watch The thesisstatement is the central point you're proving in your research paper.