Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, "What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss?" and "How will I convince the reader that this is true?" When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.
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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