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Thesis Idea


The thesis idea is the cornerstone of the entire thesis project. An excellent idea can survive mediocre writing, but a mediocre one will not produce an excellent thesis. Therefore, the student should invest an adequate amount of time in this stage in order to come up with an idea that is innovative, unique, and arguable or provable (depending on the academic discipline for which one is writing).

Students develop thesis ideas in many different ways. Perhaps the primary way is to expand and strengthen a minor project that one has done previously. In order to expand the project, one may research the subject in more in-depth or primary ways; extend the thesis statement to include more material or to explain the existing material in greater detail; or couple the thesis statement with a different piece of information, such as creating a project that compares two seemingly unrelated ideas in the field.

However, one does not need to choose a thesis idea from among the work he or she has previously completed. Instead, one may choose to explore an idea that has seemed interesting but that has not been accessible or relevant to coursework in the past, or one may choose to investigate something new altogether, as long as it relates in some way to the academic discipline that is conferring the degree. These brand new thesis ideas often cause the student to have to work harder initially in order to come up to speed on the background information, but they can produce very strong theses due to the student's fresh approach.

Students who struggle with developing thesis ideas may benefit greatly from discussing possibilities with other people who know the field, such as professors or classmates. Talking with others often generates unexpected, inventive thoughts, and people who already know the subject matter will be able to volley those thoughts competently. If the student still cannot arrive at an interesting idea, he or she should choose some aspect of the field and begin reading on it and talking about it with the professor. A thesis idea will eventually come.


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