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Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.
Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence.
As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another.
As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.
If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.
A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes.
To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic.Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument.As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times.Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately.Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going.For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic.