Working Thesis or 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.

Thesis or 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.


Developing a Working Thesis

Developing a working thesis can serve to tell you what further information you need to provide in the essay and help you decide on the order of your ideas, or what further arguments you need to support the working thesis.


After a few cycles of stating, working with, and revising a working thesis, you will have created the actual thesis or central idea of your essay.

As you write, keep returning to the question that you hope your essay will answer. Don’t hesitate to revise this question as your understanding of the topic develops. Each time you do so, consider what your possible or probable answer is at that point. This answer can be written out in sentence form and serve as a working thesis, something like a hypothesis that you are testing.


Your working thesis should state your position on your topic and not simply present a topic. One way to generate a working thesis is to complete the following sentence in relation to the question you hope your essay will answer:



            At this point I think I am going to argue that ….



To learn more about a working thesis, see Developing a Working Thesis under Resources.