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.
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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