After you've chosen a topic and located background information to give you an understanding of the key points, you need to define a specific question you want to answer or a thesis statement you will argue (see your assignment for your specific task).
Developing a Topic Into a Thesis
After you've chosen a topic and located background information, you need to define it into a question you want to answer or a thesis statement you will argue (see your assignment for your specific task).
Here's an example:
Disinformation and social media
What responsibility do social media companies have for any harm created by disinformation on their platforms?
“Social media companies should help to stop harm created by disinformation on their platforms.”
This thesis states the topic and takes a stance but is less clear about the argument the student plans to make. The thesis also lacks specifics about how the argument will be made.
“Social media companies should develop clear policies on the spread of disinformation, share them with users frequently, and apply them fairly in order to diminish its impact on society.”
The research question above is not a question that can be answered in a simple yes or no and expands on the topic by focusing on a specific issue/concern.
The updated thesis statement above makes a specific claim about the topic and very briefly outlines an argument. This thesis expands on the original topic, takes into account current conversations around the issues, and will allow the writer to organize their paper in a cohesive way.
Additional Resources on Thesis Writing
Check your progress! Is your thesis question "just right"? If it's too broad, you will have trouble sifting through all of the information you find and won't be able to articulate specific answers in your paper. If it's too specific, you won't find any information to write about. If you're not sure, ask your Professor or the Writing Center for feedback.
Do you understand the basic facts about your topic? This will be essential to searching effectively for sources in Step 3 so you can select the best ones out of the many search results you'll find.