banner Return to the Research Room Main Page Learn More about Mike Palmquist



Drafting a Preliminary Thesis Statement

Developing & Refining a Thesis Statement

Build on Your Research Question

Consider Your Purpose & Role

Consider Your Readers

Consider Scope


How to Develop a Thesis Statement

Drafting a Preliminary Thesis Statement

Your research question provides the basis for creating a preliminary thesis statement about the issue you've decided to address. A preliminary thesis statement is a tentative answer to your research question. It's the important first step in the process of developing your thesis statement. For now, think about the difference between a preliminary thesis statement and a thesis statement as the difference between saying, "I'm not exactly sure what I want to say yet, but I'm leaning toward saying this" and "I know precisely what I want to say, and here it is."

To draft your preliminary thesis statement, try brainstorming a list of responses to your research question. In this research guide, we'll follow Megan O'Neil, a student in a college composition class who has been asked to research a health issue affecting Americans. Megan followed the steps in the research guide How to Develop a Research Question, and her efforts are shown below. We can see how Megan begins to turn her working research question into a thesis statement. She begins by trying to answer her research question.

Megan's Research Question:

What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and how can Americans reduce their risk of getting these diseases?

Megan's Reponse—Her Preliminary Thesis Statement:

Type 1 diabetes is a disease where a person loses their insulin cells. People with Type 2 diabetes aren't able to use their insulin very well. You can't reduce your risk of Type 1 diabetes but you can reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by eating better and exercising.

Bedford/St. Martin's About The Bedford Researcher Composition Catalog Order a Book Contact Us Technical Support