The UVic Writer's Guide

The Thesis

All essays that involve the development of an argument require a thesis: the point you are arguing. While the topic is your subject, the thesis defines your position on that subject. Your essay will take a position and will provide convincing evidence to support that view. It is important to develop a working thesis early because it will help direct your thoughts and research; of course your thesis may change as your reading and writing progresses and you begin to incorporate new information.

Once you have chosen your topic, you can begin to formulate your thesis by thinking closely about it, doing some exploratory reading, or drawing from lectures or conversations with classmates and friends. One way to develop a thesis is to ask yourself questions about the topic and to focus on a central issue or problem which the topic raises. Your answer to this question will be your thesis.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated May 11, 1995