See It in Practice

In the video cast below, you’ll see our student writer consider her research and use her findings from researching her research question in order to develop a working thesis. A working thesis is a tentative thesis you establish early on in your research writing process to give you focus as you complete your process. You may find you need to revise your working thesis later during drafting or revision, but establishing a good working thesis can help make the research writing process much easier.

Video Transcript
Student says:

My next step was to develop a working thesis for my project, which proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I had so much information to consider, some of it quite complicated. It seemed really difficult for me to get everything narrowed down into just one sentence.

My research has shown that test scores have improved as a result of No Child Left Behind, but researchers are quick to point that higher test scores do not necessarily mean improvement. The sources I have found indicate that there is evidence of “teaching to the test,” which means little room for a comprehensive writing program in most schools.

I had a really hard time conveying this in one sentence. I wrote down my research question first to help me stay focused. You will see here my four attempts at a thesis. My first thesis seemed way too vague, as did my second one. I also didn’t like my wording, but it seemed like writing these down helped me think about my thinking.

My third thesis was closer, but it still didn’t seem concrete enough. Again, however, it seemed to help me move in the right direction.

I feel pretty good about my fourth attempt, and I think I will settle on this as a working thesis. I think it is getting to the heart of the matter I am researching, and I like that it is specific. I am sure I will need to tweak it later, but I think I have a good working thesis here.

I will get some feedback from my professor to make sure I am on the right track.

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