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.
Is your thesis statement specific? Your thesis statement should be as clear and specific as possible. Normally you will continue to refine your thesis as you revise your argument(s), so your thesis will evolve and gain definition as you obtain a better sense of where your argument is taking you. Tip: Check your thesis: Are there two large statements connected loosely by a coordinating conjunction (i.e. "and," "but," "or," "for," "nor," "so," "yet")? Would a subordinating conjunction help (i.e. "through," "although," "because," "since") to signal a relationship between the two sentences? Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis? If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development.
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