MTM Writing Clinic
A working thesis is a model which you will adapt over time as you research and gather new evidence. However, having a working thesis will help narrow the focus of your paper.
It is often helpful to start with pre-writing strategies to discover what you know about a subject before developing a working thesis. Once you are confident in what you know, you can begin to ask yourself, "What am I missing?" Exploring a problem that you do not fully understand makes for a great analysis!
Like a fully completed thesis, a working thesis should a topic, and an assertion about that topic. For example, an incomplete working thesis might read:
Many pilgrims in Canterbury Tales exhibit universal character traits
While this statement clearly identifies the topic, it does not contain an assertion. To make a more complete working thesis, you might add:
Pilgrims in Canterbury Tales exhibit universal character traits which are exhibited even in modern times.
While this thesis is still vague, it does provide enough information on which to begin researching the topic thoroughly.