Chapter Twelve: Positing a Thesis Statement and Composing a Title / Defining Key Terms

Chapter Twelve Objectives

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Many novice researchers struggle with crafting an effective thesis statement. We walk you through the steps of writing a good thesis statement and provide examples of thesis statements gone wrong. We also discuss an underrated skill: composing a title.

From there we discuss the importance of defining your terms. In “Scholarship as Conversation,” we explain how to avoid the “hit and run” citation style in which quotes are strung together with little or no context. We previously emphasized the importance of using strategic keywords in your research, but part of your job as a writer is to define and contextualize those terms for your audience. Some terms may have multiple meanings; the definitions you provide will allow your audience to know how you understand them.

Learning Objectives

Keep the conversation analogy in mind as you work through this chapter. You will learn how to

  • posit a thesis statement
  • compose a title
  • define your key terms


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Strategies for Conducting Literary Research Copyright © 2021 by Barry Mauer & John Venecek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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