Thesis Statement


A sentence, typically appearing in the introduction of the essay, that states the writer’s position or argument regarding the topic of the essay. The statement is usually in the form of a claim that could be disputed by others. The thesis statement prepares the reader for the arguments and information that will follow in the essay. It typically provides a succinct response to the question the writer wishes to answer with the essay.

Working Thesis Statement


A working thesis statement is a thesis statement that the writer adopts tentatively during the writing process as a means of guiding his or her research, reading and writing. A writer is likely to modify the working thesis statement based on insights and information gained in the writing process. As the writer develops the essay, the working thesis statement evolves into the definitive thesis statement of the final draft.

Driving Questions


Questions a writer develops and keeps in mind while finding and reading sources in the early stages of developing a working thesis statement. These questions will help focus attention on relevant features of sources, such as books or journals.


Creating a Working Thesis

Generating ideas for an essay can feel challenging. Even when a list of potential topics is provided, you will need to consider what aspects of, or point of view on, the general topic you will develop. For topics that have been assigned (or that you choose from a list), you may be expected to modify or mold the topic into something that is your own.

At this early stage, you want to develop a working thesis statement to guide your research, reading and writing. It is unnecessary to generate a definitive thesis statement or argument at this point as your ideas are likely to evolve.


A useful strategy when creating a working thesis is to develop some driving questions to guide your research. Begin by considering course themes or issues relevant to your assignment. Examine these and then pay attention to questions that come to mind.


What would you like to know about the topic?  

Click the button below for an example of driving questions in developing a working thesis.