The goal in this exercise is to “Say One Fricking Thing” about your research findings. Remember that your point can be exploratory or argumentative and you might even play around with both types of points. To get started, we’ll use the Exercises in Chapter 4 to help turn our inquiry questions into tentative, working thesis statements.
Here’s the process:
1. Reply to this post with your current inquiry question. Tell us what kind of inquiry question it is. For example:
What should be done about the problem of smoking on campus? (Policy)
How do smoking bans on college campuses influence social relationships between smokers? (Relationship)
2. After completing Exercise 4.1 with a partner and fast writing about your experience on your own blog, comment here on your own reply and write down your point (the answer to “Dave’s” final question on p.145).
3. Finally, after we discuss refining questions and thesis statements, reply here again to your reply and complete exercise 4.2, using the templates (you can always break out of these later). At this point you may write down a few types of inquiry questions you’re thinking of using and you can generate a couple potential thesis statements out of them. Remember, this is always changing, but the important thing now is to practice and play with turning inquiry questions into thesis statements. For example:
Inquiry Question (Policy): What should be done about the problem of smoking on campus?
Thesis from a Question of Policy: In the debate over smoking on campus, I’m persuaded that the most important thing to do is set up designated smoking areas, rather than banning smoking altogether.
As usual, remember that this is partly a creative process. Keep your thinking open, expansive, and be aware that you might, as Ballenger points out on p.147, not get to your perfect point during this exercise. You may find out that “you’re still groping for a thesis” and may have to write an exploratory draft. Or, you may find that “[y]ou have no clue what might be the S.O.F.T.” and you have to do more research. Or, maybe you’ll know what your point is and you’ll be ready to start drafting that argumentative essay this week (Ballenger 147). Whatever the outcome, use it to gauge how much research and preparation you’ll have to do this week as you get ready to draft.