Developing a Thesis Statement

Considering the Purpose and your Audience

Consider both your purpose and the interest of your audience next. Notice that the new question is more purpose driven. The inquiry is more specific. It asks: "Why" does one situation exist and "how" will it affect another? Notice that the "what" component has been removed, replaced by a fact and a rephrased question that incorporates the "why" component.

With a clearer purpose the interest of the audience will be much easier to hold. In this case, two groups with opposing views have been identified. Each has a vested interest in what you have to say. With a more purposeful question a more precise thesis can now be shaped.

Revised Preliminary Thesis Statement: Currently the second largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, China may very well become the largest, possibly importing as much as two-thirds of its requirement by 2025. This rapidly expanding demand for oil may be caused, in part, by their exploding automobile industry and, in part, by an inability to meet their nuclear power plant construction targets. Regardless, the stakes are high and oil resources are limited. With increased global competition, the demand will rapidly outpace current production capabilities in the oil producing nations. Such increased competition is going to seriously impact the current debate between environmentalists and corporate America regarding drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And, in the end, the environmentalists may not like the outcome.

You can see that, with just a little tweaking, the preliminary thesis has taken on a sharper focus, one that will attract the attention of an audience that includes people on both sides of this divisive issue. It begins with a simple statement of fact supported by reasons that address the new "why" in the revised question. A very transparent conclusion suggesting the direction the research paper will take follows.

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