english 1 essay

Open Posted By: surajrudrajnv33 Date: 04/03/2021 High School Assignment Writing

 For this week's homework, you will write a rough draft of your essay 2. Your rough draft is due posted here by Sunday (NO LATE ESSAYS OR YOU WILL MISS OUT ON PEER REVIEWS). Please post it as a DOC or PDF file. Make sure it is in MLA format, so you the info provided under this week to set up the format correctly.  

For essay #2, you will be writing a "Working Thesis Essay," as described in chapter 5 of TPRW. After reviewing your research essay prompt (essay 3) and the readings for this week, respond to the essay 2 prompt below.


Write a brief narrative essay where you discuss the topic you have decided to research and write about.  Tell your audience, your fellow classmates and your instructor how you arrived at this topic, some of the other ideas you considered in your brainstorming activities, and the working thesis you have settled on for the start of your project. Also, be sure to let us know about some of the initial library [or other online/credible] research you have found so far.

This is a short essay (approx. 750 words) that should be detailed, show evidence of significant thought and consideration, as also illustrate some research. However, this is not a research paper so quotes and a Works Cited page is not needed. This is more like your plan for your upcoming research essay (essay 3).

*Remember to read the whole essay 2 assignment prompt again so you are clear about the essay requirements.

 Working Thesis Draft _ PR (20) 


Correct SubmissionEssay draft is at least two pages, double-spaced, and uploaded on time as a DOC or PDF file.
*Comment on areas that are correct AND those that need to be fixed for the final draft.

MLA FormatEssay follows basic MLA formatting with: 1" margins, centered title, name/instructor/course/date on top left side of page one only, headers. indented paragraphs, all font the same size/type, and double-spaced with NO extra spacing between any lines of the essay.
*Give feedback on strengths AND areas to improve.

CONTENT - ProblemEssay states the topic, why it was chosen, and how it was narrowed down to a specific problem.
*Give feedback on strengths AND areas to improve.

CONTENT - Working thesisSomewhere in the essay should be a clearly stated working thesis of what the student is planning to use in their research essay.
*Give feedback on where you found thesis (if you did), and its strengths or ways to improve.

CONTENT - SourcesSomewhere in the body of the essay the student should mention multiple (3 or more) credible sources they have found so far, and that they might plan to use in their research. Titles should be given, with authors and brief descriptions optional. Sources can include online articles, websites, books, people to interview, videos, and movies. [There should be NO quoting, other than for titles, - this is not the research essay!]
*Give feedback on strengths AND areas to improve.

OrganizationEven though this is a narrative, the essay should have a clear essay structure with: intro paragraph, body paragraphs that contain the required CONTENT items, and a conclusion.
*Give feedback on organization that it strong OR should be moved/rearranged.

Editing & StyleThis is a rough draft and does not need to be perfectly polished yet. However, areas to review are: wording should be clear and not too casual (no slang or abbreviations), sentences with capitalization and correct punctuation marks, correct spelling, and avoid wordiness and grammar mistakes.
*Give feedback on strengths AND areas to improve.


Essay 2 Assignment Instructions (Working Thesis Essay)

Final Draft Due: week 4 (see Canvas for due dates) Worth: 20% of your total grade

Rough Draft Due: week 3 (see Canvas for due dates)  


  • To demonstrate critical reading and thinking skills
  • To illustrate the ability to formulate a strong and compelling thesis statement
  • To understand how to utilize pre-writing and revising techniques
  • To prepare an MLA-formatted essay to serve as a plan for a research essay
  • To illustrate how to take feedback on previous essay to improve in a subsequent essay

For essay #3, you will be writing a "Working Thesis Essay," as described in chapter 5 of TPRW . After reviewing this prompt, the research essay prompt, and the sample essay(s), write your own MLA-formatted working thesis essay, following the instructions below:

WRITING PROMPT (read this) read this read this!

Write a brief narrative essay where you discuss the topic you have decided to research and write about.  Tell your audience, your fellow classmates and your instructor how you arrived at this topic, some of the other ideas you considered in your brainstorming activities, and the working thesis you have settled on for the start of your project. Also, be sure to let us know about some of the initial library [or other online/credible] research you have found so far.

Even though this is a short essay (approx. 750 words), it should be very detailed, show evidence of significant thought and consideration, as also illustrate that you have started your research by including several credible sources you have found. In addition, attention to the feedback you received on essay 2 peer reviews should be obvious with evidence of revision and editing on this essay.

*This essay is required to move onto essay 3 (the research essay). Students who change their topics for the research essay after writing this essay must first complete a new working thesis essay based on the new topic.

Category: Mathematics & Physics Subjects: Calculus Deadline: 24 Hours Budget: $80 - $120 Pages: 2-3 Pages (Short Assignment)

Attachment 1

Dent 1

Stu Dent Angelina Misaghi English 1 28 October 2018

Revealing the Truth About What You Feed Your Body

To live, we must maintain our body and health by nourishing it constantly with

nutrient-rich goods, such as food, fluids and vitamins. Food stabilizes our body and also

gives it the energy it requires to progress through one’s day. In the modern world, farms

utilize many conventional ways of growing their produce—often geared towards the

fastest way to create the best-looking produce with the longest shelf life. Consumers can

be under the mistaken impression that they chose a healthy food or product, but with a

few minutes of basic research into the company that produced it, they can discover their

mistake and determine that their “healthy choice” could have harmful effects on their

body and future health. Healthy food is the general topic I started with.

Brainstorming strategies such as freewriting and clustering helped narrow my

topic from healthy food to the specific problem of conventional farming methods. I chose

this issue primarily because of my passion for “clean” eating. While healthy foods and

their benefits have always intrigued me, finding clean and superior quality foods

produced from trustworthy companies has been a greater interest because it is much more

challenging than one could imagine. I was also interesting in this topic because my father

was diagnosed with a digestive disease that required a very specific diet. In the

beginning, it was difficult to find a place where we could all eat as a family. Since then

his disease, celiac disease, has become more widespread and gluten-free foods have

Dent 2

become more common. Not only did my family and I have to find nutritious and gluten-

free food for my father, this change in all of our lives forced us to learn about the

importance of food quality and finding trustworthy companies with honest labeling.

After researching and brainstorming and realizing that my problem was

conventional farming methods, I took a quick trip to the grocery market, and

somewhere between the meat and poultry aisle I ultimately came up with a very rough

idea of my working thesis: “Although all produce might seem fresh and wholesome,

many produce farmers use conventional methods (versus organic methods) to grow

their foods to be most visually appealing, without regard to harmful—or even life-

threatening—effects they may have on one’s health and future.” I know I might need

to cut this down more, or put it into two sentences to make it clearer.

Now more than ever, it has become a trend in society to eat fresh and healthy

foods. For example, super foods like kale and quinoa are becoming more popular.

However, the problem is that not everyone inquires about the source of their kale or

quinoa prior to consumption. Consumers should investigate and scrutinize the source of

their fresh produce and other grocery items, including the reputation of the growers and

the manner in which they were grown.

I started my research process and organization by gathering articles that relate to

my topic specifically. So far, I have found four articles from the SMC database, namely,

“Association between Time Perspective and Organic Food Consumption in a Large

Sample of Adults”, “Is Eating Organic a Healthy or Safer Option”, “A Profile of the

Organic Produce Consumer” and lastly, “Aspects Regarding the Evolution the Organic

Food Market in the World.” These articles discuss the various dangerous health effects of

Dent 3

conventionally grown foods on a human being, as well as the different growing process

protocols involved in producing organic versus conventional produce. In addition to the

articles, I found an incredible Ted Talk called “Why You Have the Right to Know

What’s In Your Food” which gave me a lot of information, but I am still trying to decide

what I might use from it in my essay. I also have my textbook from the Nutrition 1 class I

took last year, and I hope to find useful information in there. I know there are several

documentaries on the problems with the western diet so I will research some of those for

my paper.

The chemicals, hormones, and additives put into our produce, dairy, fish, meat

and poultry by farms and production companies are not given the attention and scrutiny

they deserve. We must be armed with knowledge in order to properly choose what we

want to feed our bodies and the bodies of those we care for. Conventionally grown foods

are a serious issue, with lasting impacts on people’s well-being and lifespan. I hope that

my research paper can be a helpful tool in providing information and evidence of the

effects of conventionally grown food as well as provide my audience a beneficial


Attachment 2

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

Chapter Five The Working Thesis Exercise • Working with Assigned Topics • Coming Up with Your Own Idea • Brainstorming for Ideas • Brainstorming with Computers • Moving From Ideas to Topics with the Help of the Library and the World Wide

Web • Writing Your Working Thesis • Assignment: Writing The Working Thesis * A Sample Assignment * Questions to Consider with a First Draft * Review and Revision

* A Student Example: “Preventing Drunk Driving by Enforcement” by Daniel Marvins

This chapter is about finding something to write about in the first place. As I suggested earlier in the introduction and in Chapter 1, “Thinking Critically About Research,” the process of finding something to write about is complicated. In many ways, you need to think critically about the idea of research, you need to go to the library or the internet and conduct research, and you need to formulate a question or thesis to research all at the same time. Sometimes, the subject of your research is called a “research question” or “problem statement.” I’ve decided to call this process “the working thesis” exercise to emphasize the idea that embarking on a research writing project involves making “a point” that is also a continually revised “work” in progress. A working thesis is tentative in that it will inevitably change as you go through the process of writing and researching. But if you’re more comfortable thinking of the starting point of your research project as being about asking the right questions or finding the right problem, that’s okay too. Working With Assigned Topics Many times, starting an academic writing assignment is easy: you write about the topic as assigned by the instructor. Of course, it is never a good idea to simply repeat what the instructor says about a particular topic. But in many college classes, the topic of your writing projects will be determined by the subject matter of the class and the directions of the instructor. If you are required to write a research paper for your political science class that focuses on the effects of nationalism, chances are an essay on the relaxation benefits of trout fishing would not be welcomed.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”2

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

So, how do you write about topics assigned by the instructor? The answer to this question depends on the specific assignment and the class, but here are a few questions you should ask yourself and your instructor as you begin to write: • What is the purpose and who is the audience for the essay you are being asked to

write? In other words, what do you understand to be the instructor’s and your goals in writing? Is the instructor’s assignment designed to test your understanding and comprehension of class lectures, discussions, and readings? Is the instructor asking you to reflect and argue about some aspect of the class activities? Is the intended audience for the essay only the instructor, or is the assignment more broadly directed to other students or to a “general reader”?

• What do you think about the topic? What’s your opinion about the topic

assigned by the instructor? If it is a topic that asks you to pick a particular “side,” what side are you on? And along these lines: to what extent would it be appropriate for you to incorporate your own feelings and opinions about the topic into your writing?

• How much “room” is there within the assigned topic for more specialized

focuses? Most assigned topics which at first appear limiting actually allow for a great deal of flexibility. For example, you might think that an assigned topic about the “fuel economy and SUVs” would have little room for a variety of approaches. But the many books and articles about fuel efficient vehicles suggest the topic is actually much larger than it might at first appear.

• Does the assignment ask students to do additional research, or does it ask

students to focus on the readings assigned in class? Assignments that ask students to do additional library and Internet research are potentially much broader than assignments that ask students to focus on class readings.

Coming up with your own idea At other times, instructors allow students to pick a topic for their research-based writing projects. However, rarely do instructors allow their students to write research- based essays on anything for a lot of good reasons. For example, your composition and rhetoric course might be structured around a particular theme that you are exploring with your other reading assignments, your discussions, and your writing. Other ideas and topics don’t really lend themselves to academic research writing. You probably have a special person in your life worth writing about (a parent, a grandparent, a boyfriend or girlfriend, etc.), but it is usually difficult to write a research-based essay on such a person. Some potential topics are too divisive or complex to write about in a

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”3

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

relatively short academic research-based essay, or some are topics that have become so overly-discussed that they have become clichés. Besides the general theme of the course and other potential limitations to ideas for research, you also need to carefully consider your own interests in the ideas you are thinking about researching. If you are allowed to choose your own research project topic, be sure to chose carefully, especially if it is a topic you will be working with throughout the term. Don’t pick a topic simply because it is the first idea that comes to mind or because you imagine it will be “easy” to research. Focus instead on an idea that meets the goals of the assignment, is researchable, and, most importantly, is a topic that you are interested in learning more about. Taking the time to develop a good research topic at the beginning of the research writing process is critical. Planning ahead can be difficult and time-consuming, and it can be tempting to seize on the first idea that seems “easy.” But all too often, these “easy” first ideas end up being time-consuming and difficult projects. In other words, the time you spend turning your research idea into a topic and then a working thesis will pay off when it comes time to actually write the research project assignment. Exercise 5.1 • What are some ideas that would NOT make good research projects for this class? Working in small groups, try to come up with a list of items that you all agree would be difficult (if not impossible) to write a research project about for this class. • Are there items that you can add to your list of topics that would NOT make good research projects, ones that are “researchable” but that seem too cliched or controversial to do effectively in one semester? Brainstorming for Ideas Whether you are assigned a particular topic or are allowed to choose your own topic within certain guidelines, the next step is to explore the ideas that you might write about in more detail. This process is called “brainstorming,” though some instructors and textbooks might refer to similar techniques as “invention” or “pre-writing.” Regardless of what it’s called, the goal is the same: to lay the foundation for focusing in on a particular topic and the working thesis of a research-writing project. I recommend you keep three general concepts in mind when trying any approach to brainstorming with your writing:

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”4

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

• Not all of these approaches to brainstorming will work equally well for everyone or work equally well for all topics. Your results will vary and that’s okay. If one of these techniques doesn’t work for you, try another and see how that goes.

• When trying any of these techniques, you can’t censor yourself. Allow yourself

the freedom to brainstorm about some things that you think are bad or even silly ideas. Getting out the “bad” or “silly” ideas has a way of allowing the good ideas to come through. Besides, you might be surprised about how some topics that initially seem bad or silly turn out to actually be good with a little brainstorming.

• Even if you know what topic you want to write about, brainstorm. Even if you

know you want to write about a particular topic, you should try to consider some other topics in brainstorming because you never know what other things you could have written about if you don’t consider the possibilities. Besides, you still should do some brainstorming to shape your idea into a topic and then focus it into a working thesis.

Freewriting One of the most common and effective brainstorming techniques for writing classes, freewriting, is also easy to master. All you do is write about anything that comes into your head without stopping for a short time—five minutes or so. The key part of this activity though is you cannot stop for any reason! Even if you don’t know what to write about, write “I don’t know what to write about” until something else comes to mind. And don’t worry—something else usually does come to mind. Looping or Targeted Freewriting Looping is similar to freewriting in that you write without stopping, but the difference is you are trying to be more focused in your writing. You can use a more specific topic to “loop” back to if you would like, or, if you do the more open-ended freewriting first, you can do a more targeted freewriting about one of the things you found to be a potentially workable idea. For example, you might freewrite with something general and abstract in mind, perhaps the question “what would make a good idea for a research project?” For a more targeted freewriting exercise, you would consider a more specific questions, such as “How could I explore and write about the research idea I have on computer crime?” Group Idea Bouncing One of the best ways we all get different ideas is to talk with others. The same is true for finding a topic for research: sometimes, “bouncing” ideas off of each other in small groups is a great place to start, and it can be a lot of fun. Here’s one way to do it: name someone in a small group as the recorder. Each person in turn should give an idea for a potential topic, and the recorder should write it down.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”5

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

Every person should take a turn quickly “bouncing” an idea out for the others—no “I don’t know” or “come back to me!” Remember: no ideas are bad or silly or stupid at this point, so do not censor yourself or your group members. Clustering Clustering is a visual technique that can often help people see several different angles on their ideas. It can be an especially effective way to explore the details of a topic idea you develop with freewriting or looping. On a blank sheet of paper, write a one or two word description of your idea in the middle and circle it. Around that circle, write down one or two word descriptions of different aspects or characteristics of your main idea. Draw circles around those terms and then connect them to the main idea. Keep building outward, making “clusters” of the main idea as you go. Eventually, you should get a grouping of clusters that looks something like the illustration below.

Journalist Questions One of the key elements of journalistic style is that journalists answer the basic questions of “What?” “Who?” “Where?” “When?” “How?” and “Why?” These are all good questions to consider in brainstorming for your idea, though clearly, these

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”6

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

questions are not always equally applicable to all ideas. Here are some examples of the sort of journalistic questions you might want to ask yourself about your idea: • What is my idea? What are the key terms of my idea?

• Who are the people involved in my idea? Who is performing the action of my topic? Who are the people affected by my idea?

• Where does my idea take place? Where did it come from? Is it restricted to a particular time and place?

• When did my idea happen? How does it relate to the other events that might have taken place at a similar time? Are there events that happened before or after my idea that might have effected it?

• How did my idea happen, or how is it still happening? • Why did my idea happen, or why is it still happening?

Brainstorming with Computers Computers are a great tool for fostering these and other collaborative brainstorming techniques. For example, group idea bouncing can be used effectively with Internet “chat rooms,” with instant messaging software, or with local area network discussion tools. You can also collaborate on your brainstorming activities with computers with little more than simple word processing or email; Here are three variations on a similar theme: • Email exchange: This exercise is conducted as an exchange over email. Each person in a small group does a looping/targeted freewriting to discover ideas for things she is interested in doing more research about. Then, each person in the group can post his looping/targeted freewriting to all of the other members of the group simultaneously. Email also allows for members of the group to collaborate with each other while not being in the same place--after all, email messages can be sent over great distances--and not at the same time. • “Musical computers:” This approach is similar to the previous two exercises, but instead of exchanging diskettes or email messages, members of a group of students exchange computer stations in a computer lab. Here’s how it works: a group (up to an entire class of students) does a looping/targeted freewriting at a computer station for a set period of time. When time is up, everyone needs to find a different computer in the fashion of the children’s game “musical chairs.” Once at the new computer station, the new writer comments on the original freewriting exercise. The process can be repeated several times until everyone has had a chance to provide feedback on four or five different original freewritings.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”7

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

Exercise 5.2 • By yourself, work with at least two of the brainstorming techniques described above or other brainstorming techniques described by your instructor. • Working with others in a small group, work with at least two of the brainstorming techniques described above or other brainstorming techniques described by your instructor. For example, have all the members of the small group each complete their own freewriting or clustering activity on the topic of her choice. Then, compare results. How do each of you react to different exercises? Are some techniques more useful for some? Moving From Ideas to Topics With the Help of the Library and the World Wide Web Coming up with an idea, especially using these brainstorming techniques, is not that hard to do. After all, we are surrounded by potential ideas and things that could be researched: teen violence, computer crime, high-fat diets, drugs, copyright laws, Las Vegas, dangerous toys. But it can be a little more tricky to figure out how ideas can be more specific and researchable topics. Ideas are general, broad, and fairly easy for all of us to grasp. Topics, on the other hand, are more specific, narrow, and in need of research. For example: “Idea” “Topics” Computer Crime Terrorism and the ‘net, credit card fraud,

computer stalking, “helpful” hackers High-fat diets Health risks, obesity, cholesterol, heart

disease, health benefits of, weight loss from Pharmaceutical Drugs Cost of prescriptions, medical advances,

advertising, disease prevention In other words, a topic is a step further in the process of coming up with a researchable project for academic writing. Chances are, your brainstorming activities have already helped you in the process of developing your idea into a topic. But before you move onto the next step of developing a working thesis, you should consider two more helpful topic developing techniques: a quick library subject search and a Web engine search.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”8

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

A quick library subject search is just what it sounds like: using the computerized catalog system for your library, you can get a sense about the sort of ways other researchers have already divided up your idea into different topics. ☛ Hyperlink: For guidelines and tips for using your library’s computer system to conduct subject searches, see Chapter Two, “Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research” and the section called “Finding Research in the Library: An Overview.” For example, imagine your brainstorming has led you to the general idea “fisheries” and the potential problem of over-fishing in some part of the world. While this seems like it might be a potentially good and interesting thing to write about and to research, “fisheries” is an idea that could be narrowed down. If you conduct a subject search on your library’s book catalog for “fisheries,” you might find the library keeps track of different books in several categories. Some examples of these categories include:

• Fisheries, Atlantic Ocean. • Fisheries, Canada. • Fisheries, Environmental Aspects.

You might also want to use your library’s periodical databases for some quick keyword searches. For example, a keyword search for “computer crime” in a periodical database returns article titles like “Demands for coverage increase as cyber-terrorism risk is realized” and “Making sense of cyber-exposures” (which are both articles about the concern businesses and insurance companies have about cyber crime), and also articles like “Meet the Hackers,” an insider’s view of computer hacking that disputes it being a “crime.” At this point in the research process, you don’t need to look up and read the sources you find, though you will probably want to keep track of them in case you end up needing them later for your research project. Another great place to go to brainstorm ideas into topics is one of the many search engines on the World Wide Web, and you are probably already familiar with these services such as Google, Yahoo!, or alltheweb.com. ☛ Hyperlink: For guidelines and tips for working with Web-based research, see the section “Finding Research on the Internet” in Chapter Two, “Understanding and Using the Library and the Internet for Research.” Like a quick library keyword search, doing a quick keyword search on the Web can give you some good direction about how to turn your idea into a topic. However, keep these issues in mind when conducting your Web searches: • Search engine searches are done by computer programs, which means that they

will not sort out for you what is “relevant” from what is “irrelevant” for your search.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”9

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

• Most search engines and search directories offer an “advanced search” option that explains how to do a “smarter” search. Read these instructions and you will be on your way to better searches.

• Different search engines index and collect information in different ways. Therefore, you should do keyword searches with the same phrase with a few different search engines. You might be surprised how your results will differ.

• If you aren’t having much luck with the keywords of your general idea, try a couple of synonyms. For example, with “computer crime,” you might want to try “Internet crime,” or a related term such as “computer hacking.”

Exercise 5.3 With an idea in mind, try doing a quick keyword search on the library’s computer system and on a World Wide Web Search Engine. • What sort of differences are there in the information you get back from doing a

quick keyword search at the library versus doing one on the Web? • If you are having a hard time getting results with your searches, can you come up

with any synonyms for your key words? Writing a Working Thesis The next step, developing a “working thesis,” can be a difficult and time-consuming process. However, as was the case when considering different ideas for research in the first place, spending the time now on devising a good working thesis will pay off later. For our purposes here (and for most college classes), a thesis advocates a specific and debatable issue. In academic writing (including the writing done by your professors), the thesis is often stated fairly directly in the first third or so of the writing, though not usually at the end of the first paragraph where students are often told to place it. The sentence or two that seems to encapsulate the issue of the essay is called a “thesis statement.” Frequently, theses are implied—that is, while the piece of writing clearly has a point that the reader understands, there may not be a specific sentence or two that can easily be identified as the “thesis statement.” For example, theses are often implied in newspapers and magazines, along with a lot of the writing that appears on Web pages. The point is a thesis is a point. Theses are not statements of facts, simple questions, or summaries of events. They are positions that you as the writer take on and “defend” with evidence, logic, observations, and the other tools of discourse. Most kinds of writing—and particularly academic writing—have a thesis, directly stated or implied. Even most of the writing we largely think of as “informational” has a directly stated or implied thesis.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”10

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

Theses also tend to lend a certain organization to written arguments since what you include (or exclude) in a written text is largely controlled by the thesis. The main goal of the thesis (either as a specific statement or as an implied statement) is to answer two key questions that are concerns of all readers: “what’s your point?” and “why should I care?” Now, a working thesis is more or less a temporary thesis you devise in the beginning of the research process in order to set some direction in your research. However, as I wrote in the beginning of this chapter, you should remember: Your working thesis is temporary and should change as you research, write, and learn more about your topic. Think of the working thesis as the scaffolding and bracing put up around buildings when they are under construction: these structures are not designed to forever be a part of the building. Just the opposite. But you couldn’t build the building in the first place if you didn’t have the scaffolding and bracing that you inevitably have to tear away from the finished building. Here’s another way of thinking of it: while the journey of 1000 miles begins with just one step (so the saying goes), you still have to pick some kind of direction in the beginning. That’s the purpose of a working thesis. You might change your mind about the direction of your research as you progress through the process, but you’ve got to start somewhere. What does a working thesis look like? Before considering some potentially “good” examples of working theses, read through these BAD examples of statements, ones that ARE NOT theses, at least for the purposes of academic writing: • Computer crime is bad. • Fisheries around the world are important. • The Great Gatsby is an American novel. None of these sentences would make effective theses because each of these is more or less a statement of fact. Of course, we could debate some of the details here. But practically speaking, most people would assume and believe these statements to be true. Because of that, these statements don’t have much potential as working theses. These statements ARE NOT really theses either: • There are many controversial ways of dealing with computer crime. • There are many things that could be done to preserve fisheries around the world. • The Great Gatsby is a wonderful novel for several different reasons.

The Process of Research Writing Chapter Five, “The Working Thesis Exercise,”11

Steven D. Krause | http://www.stevendkrause.com/tprw | Spring 2007

These revised working thesis statements are better than the previous examples, but they are not quite working theses yet. The problem with these possible working theses is that they are hopelessly vague and give no idea to the reader where the essay is going. Also, while these statements are a bit more debatable than the previous group of examples, they are still statements that most people would more or less accept as facts. While this next group of statements is yet another step closer, these statements ARE NOT really good working theses either: • This essay will be about the role computer hackers play in computer crime

committed on the Internet. • This essay will discuss some of the measures the international community should

take in order to preserve fisheries around the world. • My essay is about the relevance today of The Great Gatsby’s depiction of the

connection between material goods and the American dream. Each of these statements is close to being a working thesis because each is about an idea that has been focused into a specific topic. However, these statements are not quite working thesis statements because they don’t offer a position or opinion that will be defended in some way. To turn these topics into working theses, the writer needs to take a side on the issues suggested in the statements. Now, these revised statements ARE examples of possible working theses: • While some computer hackers are harmless, most of them commit serious

computer crimes and represent a serious Internet security problem. • The international community should enact strict conservation measures to

preserve fisheries and save endangered fish species around the world. • The Great Gatsby’s depiction of the connection between material goods and the

American dream is still relevant today. If you compare these possible working theses with the statements at the beginning of this section, you will hopefully see the differences between the “bad” and “good” working theses, and hopefully you can see the characteristics of a viable working thesis. Each of the “good” working thesis statements: • takes a stand that is generally not considered a “fact;” • is specific enough to give the writer and potential reader some idea as to the

direction the writing will take; and • offers an initial position on the topic that takes a stand. Another useful characteristic of a good working thesis is that it can help you as writer to determine what your essay will NOT be about. For example, the phrasing of the