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English Composition LAN 101: The Big Picture

Suggested Materials for the Argumentative Essay Assignment

Where to Start

Developing a good thesis

The first step of research is investigative background research. The aim of this research is to understand the scope, language, and key terms of your subject. Let me show you some academic tools to help you do background research.

Reference Resources: 

  • Give you the big picture
  • Indicate major issues associated with the topic
  • Give broad and general overviews

Reference Works

Reference Works: Provide short, authoritative articles that are non-technical and have full bibliographies.  These are good to read when you do not have much experience with the topic you are researching.

  • Where to start: Subject specific encyclopedias and dictionaries
  • Some examples would be International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Counseling.
  • Credo is a database of over 700 encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases and reference handbooks.
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Putting it all together

  1. Choose a topic–Consult reference works to build a foundation of essential ideas and search terms.
  2. Formulate a specific research question–This is the single focus of your research.
  3. Formulate a hypothesis–This is your educated guess that answers the specific research question.
  4. Identify questions–These are questions that must be answered to test and validate this hypothesis.
  5. Answer questions and revise the hypothesis–Consult books and scholarly journals. These resources, along with magazines and newspapers, will shed light on what both the academic community and public audience thinks of the topic formulated in the hypothesis
  6. Craft a thesis–By now you should have enough information to write your thesis statement defining what you will discuss in your paper
  7. Support the thesis–Use the library resources you found along the way.

Research Paper

Basic Thesis Statement Construction Guide

Here is an approach to constructing a thesis statement. 

Constructing a thesis statement involves two distinct phases: "the process," which serves as a preparatory stage, and the "thesis," which is the actual statement. 


The process is not meant to be included in your essay. It's a personal tool for you to use before you start writing. There are three processes you'll need to follow.

Process One:  

Your thesis topic is the center of your argument. The thesis topic should be written as a sentence, not a phrase. For instance, a thesis topic could be, "Christians should cultivate 'knowing and doing' theology in our modern world. "

PROCESS 2:Thesis Question

Come up with a plausible thesis question that connects to your thesis topic. This should be written in an open-question style. An open-question style is a question/interrogative sentence starting with "Why, what, or how"? 

A "why or how" question will be more beneficial for an argumentative essay. For example, "Why should Christians cultivate "knowing and doing" theology in our modern world"? 

PROCESS 3: Thesis Answers 

Answer the thesis question in at least three points.  


  • To effectively witness to unbelievers
  • To properly mature into the image of Christ
  • To credibly defend against false doctrines. 



The thesis statement is what you will write in your essay. Again, you do not need to showcase "the process" of creating the thesis in your essay. Only the one-sentence thesis is needed in your essay's introduction paragraph. In most cases, your thesis statement combines the thesis topic and the thesis answers in one sentence. TT[THESIS TOPIC) + Subordinating Conjunction (i.e., because, because of, due to, to, by, for, etc) + TA (Thesis Answers)

Christians should cultivate 'knowing and doing' theology in our modern world to effectively witness to unbelievers, properly mature into the image of Christ, and credibly defend against false doctrines.