Exercise 4: Choose the Best Research Thesis

The exercises below are designed to improve your ability to select a good research thesis.

Choose the best working thesis among each set for the proposed research paper.

Thesis Set #1

Thesis A is weak because it's too general.

Thesis B is the best working thesis. It identifies specific causes of anorexia nervosa and indicates the grouping and order in which the causes will be discussed in the research paper.

Thesis C is too narrow. It could be proven with one or two statistics and does not invite the writer's own perspective on the topic.

Thesis Set #2

Thesis A really is not a thesis at all, since it offers no particular perspective on a topic or stand on an issue.

Thesis B is a researchable thesis, but it may yield too much information to be a good working thesis. "Business practices" can cover many things from marketing and customer service to management philosophies, styles of business correspondence, or speed at which business is conducted.

Thesis Set #3

Thesis A may not be researchable because you'd need to find primary sources to really prove Shakespeare's intent (letters or diaries or notes for plays that Shakespeare wrote). Although you could provide evidence from the play itself to show that Shakespeare intended the audience to question the existence of the ghost, there's other evidence in the play that contradicts this stance. Therefore, you'd need the more "irrefutable" type of evidence that a primary source would provide in this case.

Thesis B is the best thesis.

Thesis B focuses its thought on two types of dilemma raised by the appearance of Hamlet's father's ghost. You could use evidence from the play as well as evidence from critics' interpretations of the play in order to support this stance.

Thesis C is too broad. You'll create a paper without depth if you try to include all of the critics from Shakespeare's time to now who have debated the significance of Hamlet's father's ghost.

Thesis Set #4

Thesis sentences A, B and C are all potentially usable as working theses for a research paper. Thesis B is an example of a working thesis for an analytical research paper while thesis C is an example of a working thesis for an argumentative research paper. Both B and C are researchable and, once you started to research, you'd probably find ways of defining the phrase "substantially helped." Yet the best thesis is thesis A, since it already does specify the ways in which the "whole language" approach has helped elementary school children to read. Thesis A functions better as a working thesis, since it focuses the search in what might be a very broad field of benefits.

Thesis sentences A, B and C are all potentially usable as working theses for a research paper. Thesis B is an example of a working thesis for an analytical research paper while thesis C is an example of a working thesis for an argumentative research paper. Both B and C are researchable and, once you started to research, you'd probably find ways of defining the phrase "substantially helped." Yet the best thesis is thesis A, since it already does specify the ways in which the "whole language" approach has helped elementary school children to read. Thesis A functions better as a working thesis, since it focuses the search in what might be a very broad field of benefits.

Thesis sentences A, B and C are all potentially usable as working theses for a research paper. Thesis B is an example of a working thesis for an analytical research paper while thesis C is an example of a working thesis for an argumentative research paper. Both B and C are researchable and, once you started to research, you'd probably find ways of defining the phrase "substantially helped." Yet the best thesis is thesis A, since it already does specify the ways in which the "whole language" approach has helped elementary school children to read. Thesis A functions better as a working thesis, since it focuses the search in what might be a very broad field of benefits.

Thesis Set #5

Thesis A is the best thesis since it is the most focused and specific. Thesis A focuses the argument on the hospital as an oligopoly (a certain type of economic structure). It also implies that the writer will explain how changed policy has influenced hospital economics.

Thesis B is too broad as well as being potentially unresearchable. What are the Asian nations mentioned in thesis B? There are many Asian nations. Thesis B would have to be focused and specified in order to be pursued as a working thesis sentence for a research paper.

Thesis C is too broad as well as being potentially unresearchable. Who are the citizens mentioned in thesis C? All U.S. citizens? If so, is there valid evidence that represents all citizens' concerns? Thesis C would have to be focused and specified in order to be pursued as a working thesis sentence for a research paper.

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