A thesis is an answer to a question that is specific and requires evidence in order to be persuasive.
♦ It is clear and specific.
♦ It is unambiguous - meaning it can only be interpreted to mean one thing.
EX: ambiguous: During the last century, the American population grew. (how did it grow...in size? in height?)
EX: unambiguous: During the last century, the American population increased in number.
♦ It is arguable.
non-trivial: you can imagine someone arguing the opposite.
♦ A thesis is not a list of ideas:
EX: The Civil War was caused by westward expansion, slavery, and state's rights.
♦ A thesis is not confrontational, moralistic or personal
EX: The destruction of NAZI Germany was due to the fact it was evil.
An early thesis "draft" is often referred to as a working thesis.
Research Question: How significant was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in shaping the Civil Rights movement as a whole?
Working Thesis: The victory achieved with the Montgomery Bus Boycott inspired Civil Rights activists to protest racial discrimination through non-violent protest.
Unless you are doing original research, making a thesis arguable (i.e. it can be a challenged)-
Here is one way to make this much easier:
♦ Start off by acknowledging a potential argument against your thesis -
**Start your thesis with "Despite the fact...." or "Although..."