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.
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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