Look for patterns in your evidence. To find out what your "controlling idea" is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence. As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.
Does my thesis pass the "So what?" test? If a reader´s first response is likely to be "So what?" then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue. Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It´s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary. Does my thesis pass the "how and why?" test? If a reader´s first response is "how?" or "why?" your thesis may be too open_ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.
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