In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing.
You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view.
Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement.
For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming.
If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback.
Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own.
This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing.
After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence.
There isn’t one right answer; there are only strong and weak thesis statements and strong and weak uses of evidence. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. Think about what the reader would expect from the essay that follows: most likely a general, appreciative summary of Twain’s novel.
But the question did not ask you to summarize; it asked you to analyze.