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Gordon DesBrisay, History Faculty

Thesis Statement

What is the best way to go about creating a good thesis statement?

I suppose a good thesis statement requires that you understand something about the topic. It's tricky for students, because we'll say, "I need a proposal." I require this at most levels. I need to see an essay proposal that should have a thesis statment in it. Tell me what the problem is and how you expect to go about addressing it and what the basic frame of your argument is likely to be, understanding that it's not a binding contract and this might evolve. However, it's hard to make until you've done the...The best thesis statements, the best outline for an essay would be written after you've written the essay. It's understood that it's a work in progress and it's necessary for most people: to give them that nudge to require that they start getting down to it. It is tricky to write a thesis statement in advance of doing the work. You've got to try to collect a coherent body of material, go through it quickly, and see the shape of what you might like to do. Then proceed from there. It's...Research and writing, I see them as a tail-chasing circuit or process. You do some reading and you write something, and then you think about it and do some more reading, and that leads you to write something a little different, and then you've got to check something else and so on.