Compose a purpose statement. 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. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn. Thus, you might begin with something like this: This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression. I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society's authority.
Compare the following: Original thesis: There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. (a fill_in_the_blank formula). Revised theses: Careful manipulation of data allows a researcher to use statistics to support any claim she desires. In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report. Because advertisers consciously and unconsciously manipulate data, every consumer should learn how to evaluate statistical claims.
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