The thesis statement is also a good test for the scope of your intent. The principle to remember is that when you try to do too much, you end up doing less or nothing at all. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in the United States? At best, such a paper would be vague and scattered in its approach. Can we write a good paper about problems in higher education in Connecticut? Well, we're getting there, but that's still an awfully big topic, something we might be able to handle in a book or a Ph.D. dissertation, but certainly not in a paper meant for a Composition course. Can we write a paper about problems within the community college system in Connecticut. Now we're narrowing down to something useful, but once we start writing such a paper, we would find that we're leaving out so much information, so many ideas that even most casual brainstorming would produce, that we're not accomplishing much.
Compare the original thesis (not specific and clear enough) with the revised version (much more specific and clear): Original thesis: Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated. (if it's so timid and gentle, why is it being exterminated?) Revised thesis: Although the timber wolf is actually a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated because people wrongfully believe it to be a fierce and cold_blooded killer.
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