By Stefanie Weisman
If you’re a high school or college student, you probably dread having to come up with a thesis. A thesis is the argument you make in your paper based on research and/or your own experience. Sometimes a thesis will come to you very quickly, in a flash of inspiration. But most of the time, it takes a lot more work.
When writing a research paper, consider yourself part of a scholarly debate. It’s perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to challenge the ideas you read in a book or heard from your teacher. A thesis should be your own unique, original contribution to the debate.
To come up with a thesis, think critically as you read books, articles, and other sources. You should constantly ask yourself questions such as:
- Why did a person or character do something? What motivates him/her?
- Who/ What is responsible for an event or action?
- What is the cause of something? What is the effect of something?
- What is the significance of an action or event?
- What are some potential flaws in an author’s argument or idea? Are there other possible explanations?
- What do you think about an issue? Do you agree with the given interpretation? Why or why not?
- How did an event or action take place? Why did it take place the way it did?
|As you do research, try thinking like a reporter – always ask “who, what, where, when, why, and how?”|
Do you have any tips for coming up with a thesis?
For more tips on writing papers, check out The Secrets of Top Students.