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The Holy Grail research topic 

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The Holy Grail

Submit your argumentation thesis statement. Remember the requirements!

· It must be a Word document in MLA format.

· It must be saved to your computer and then uploaded through the assignment link.

· No papers can be accepted unless they're submitted through the assignment link.

· Do not submit your paper directly from the Word online app used in MyHinds or from any other online app such as Google docs. Instead, save a copy of your paper to your computer and submit that copy through the assignment link. 

· Be sure that you've obeyed the rules of academic integrity. Any plagiarism, accidental or intentional, will result in a grade of zero and possible further action. 

· Review the document you intend to submit carefully to make sure it's the right one; you'll be graded on what you submit. 

Turning the Research Question into a Thesis Statement

Now that you have a sound and correctly polished research question, writing your thesis is a simple matter of directly and clearly answering that question.

If you’ve done good work so far, this should be a simple matter of changing a few works and the final punctuation from a question mark to a period to indicate that you’re making a statement rather than asking a question.

Kitty Wu’s research question is “Was Jack the Ripper in fact a prolific American serial killer named H.H. Holmes?”

Her answer to this question is yes—she does believe that the Ripper was H.H. Holmes. Therefore, when she answers her research question she comes up with a thesis that sounds something like this:

Jack the Ripper was in fact a confirmed, prolific American serial killer named Henry Howard (H.H.) Holmes.

Kitty Wu has a strong, clear thesis! Yay!

Example of argumentation thesis statement

Kitty Wu Smith Comp 2 22 March 2022

Argumentation Thesis Statement

Evidence demonstrates that Jack the Ripper was in fact Henry Howard (H.H.) Holmes, a known American serial killer.

Reading to help with research topic and example

Forming a Research Question

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How do I start?

You’re looking for an unresolved question, an interesting problem, or an unexplained connection so you can pose a solution to it.

It should be a problem with relevance and significance; it should matter that someone answers this question.

Your clear and decisive answer to this question is your research thesis.

Starting with a good question helps build in the still-essential elements of any thesis—position, disputability, significance, etc.

It also adds the element of individuality, creativity, & interest.

Focusing a Research Question

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Bear in mind that you still have to narrow your topic & decide on your approach.

Remember that you’re obligated to fully discuss every aspect of your thesis. Don’t obligate yourself to too much by having a vague or too-broad thesis.

Too broad/vague: The mystery of Jack the Ripper is intriguing and horrifying.

Because I didn’t narrow it down, I’ve obligated myself to discuss every “intriguing” and “horrifying” aspect of “The mystery of Jack the Ripper.” It would take an entire book to accomplish this.

A good research thesis: Jack the Ripper was in fact an American named Henry Howard (H.H.) Holmes, a confirmed serial killer whose crimes in the United States beginning five years after the Ripper murders make his work in London look almost trivial in comparison.

Because I’ve narrowed it down, I’m now only obligated to discuss the aspects of Jack the Ripper that tie him to H.H. Holmes. This can be reasonably done in 6-10 pages.

Taking a Plausible Research Stance

Your research thesis can’t be totally factual or totally opinionated.

Too factual → needs no research to be proven

EX: Jack the Ripper was a sadistic killer whose crimes horrified the world.

Everyone knows this. Research is not necessary to prove it, so this would not really be a research project.

Too opinionated → there is no relevant research available

EX: Jack the Ripper was a literal spawn of Satan sent to earth to punish the wicked.

There will be no scholarly evidence that can prove that Jack the Ripper made a deal with the devil or that he’s literally a demon.

Your research thesis must occupy a reasonable middle ground; debatable enough to be researched, but empirically plausible enough to back up with solid evidence.

Image result for research question

So how do I do all this?

Before you formulate your research thesis, you need to have a clear and precise research question that your thesis will be answering.

This is a step-by-step process that is accomplished by starting with a general question and then polishing and shaping it into a research question.

1—What general question are you trying to answer?

This is the first thing you must have clear in your head. What important question needs to be answered about your topic? In the case of Kitty Wu, who is studying Jack the Ripper, the obvious important question is “Who was Jack the Ripper?” So…

1 = Who was Jack the Ripper?

2—Your research question should have a clear significance. In the case of unsolved mysteries, this is simple: everyone wants to know the answer. Kitty Wu might want to underscore that by adding words like “mystery” and “elusive” to her research question. She might also want to add words like “killer” to emphasize the significance of his crimes. Kitty Wu revises her original research question to reflect this and comes up with…

2 = Who was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper?

3—It must focus on a key/specific issue or concern rather than on a generality.

This means it’s time to bring in the angle—to start addressing what Kitty Wu thinks the answer to the mystery is.

Kitty Wu thinks Jack the Ripper Was H.H. Holmes. She incorporates this into her research question.

3 = Was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper a man named H.H. Holmes?

4—At this point, your research question should be answerable by a direct “yes” or “no” response. Kitty Wu checks for this.

4 = Was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper a man named H.H. Holmes?

A reader can either respond, “Yes, it was Holmes” or “No, it was not Holmes,” so Kitty Wu’s question is on track right now.

If her question was still too vague or broad, it would be impossible to answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” For instance, if she were still asking the question “Who was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper?” it would be impossible for someone to answer this question by responding “yes” or “no.”

If your question isn’t answerable by a “yes” or “no” at this point, go back to step 3 and narrow it down more.

5—Your research question should indicate the direction of your research—i.e., it should be specific. Give the readers some idea of what your main points might look like; essentially, give them some ideas of where your argument is headed.

5 = Was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper a man named H.H. Holmes, an American serial killer, and did untreated syphilis lead to the madness behind the crimes?

6—At this point, make sure your research question is asking only one clear question.

This helps you narrow your focus. Make sure you’re not actually trying to write about two separate topics in one paper. In Kitty Wu’s case, we can see from her #5 that she’s asking both whether or not Holmes was the Ripper and also whether or not he had syphilis. She can’t do both; the identity of the killer doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with his having syphilis. In expanding her research question she actually went a bit too far and now has two distinct topics rather than one. She must chose one or the other, and she narrows her question down to reflect this.

6 = Was the elusive killer behind the mystery of Jack the Ripper a man named H.H. Holmes, an American serial killer?

7—Your research question must be grammatically flawless as well as interesting and advanced in language and tone. Kitty Wu revises her question to meet this requirement.

7 = Was Jack the Ripper in fact an American named Henry Howard (H.H.) Holmes, a confirmed serial killer whose crimes in the United States beginning five years after the Ripper murders make his work in London look almost trivial in comparison?

Her research question is now significant, focused and direct, indicating the direction of her research, and asking one clear question. It is doing all of these things in grammatically correct and sophisticated language.

8—BEFORE YOU MOVE ON, run your completed research question back through steps 2-7 again. You never know—in revising your question to indicate the direction of your research, you might have accidentally made it no longer answerable by a direct “yes or “no.” Check it against against all the steps!

Kitty Wu runs her question through the steps again and finds that she's now asking more than one central question again. As stated now, her question asks both if Holmes was the Ripper and whether Holmes' crimes make the Ripper murders look trivial. One can be true even if the other is not, so it's not properly focused. She eliminates the secondary question to focus on the main one:

8 = Was Jack the Ripper in fact a prolific American serial killer named H.H. Holmes?

After completing these steps carefully and thoughtfully, Kitty Wu now has a strong, clear research question:

Was Jack the Ripper in fact a prolific American serial killer named H.H. Holmes?