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.
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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