Research Papers

 

A Thesis That's Good Enough

An original thesis is the starting point for an excellent research paper.

But we can't all be excellent, all of the time. Often, as students, we're forced to crank out essays in an hour, or a day, or a week, and we simply can't afford the luxury of spending years researching a topic and developing an original thesis. In such circumstances, we must settle for a thesis that is "good enough."

My favorite formula for a "good enough" thesis is this:

For example, if we want to write about global warming, our thesis could be:

That's not an original idea, and the chances that you can say something original about the causes or consequences of global warming are small. Nonetheless, it's an important topic, and your paper might help someone, somewhere, to understand it a little better.

Furthermore, there are many corporations (and many politicians) who are trying very hard to convince the public that global warming is nothing that anyone needs to worry about. So if you can add your voice to the side that says it is a serious problem, well, that would be a valuable contribution to the current debate.

A variation of this formula is this:

This thesis can work for topics big and small. Here are some examples:

You'll notice that these are compound sentences (sentences with two clauses). Often, the first clause can serve as your thesis, while the second clause can be something you put into the conclusion.

In other words, after writing three paragraphs that prove that the food in the school cafeteria is unhealthy, you could then conclude your essay by suggesting that the district should hire a new catering company.

Or, after writing three paragraphs that prove that police brutality is a serious problem, you could conclude your essay by suggesting that Congress should pass new laws to protect people from police abuse.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.

Quiz