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WGST/PSYC 405/505 / SOC/CRJ 443/543: Gender Roles (Deward)

Research Guide for Gender Roles course

Developing Strong and Focused Thesis Statements About Your Social Problem

Your thesis statement should identify the social problem being discussed, why it's gendered, and why it's important. Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction. Use it to generate interest in your social problem and encourage your audience to continue reading.

Most researchers start out with a broad topic of interest and narrow it down to a particular area of focus. If a topic is too broad, you will find too much information and your Social Problem Analysis will be unmanageable. It will be far easier for your to research and write your Social Problem Analysis if you develop a strong thesis statement that anchors it.

To develop a strong and focused thesis statement for your topic:

Do some exploratory research on your topic idea, in your course textbook, class notes, and basic library research to identify specific gendered issues, arguments, and analytical approaches in your research area and then identify possible relationships between them. 

Ask yourself questions about your topic idea. What concepts, issues, or other aspects of this topic interest you? What have people said about it? What gaps, contradictions, or concerns arise as you learn more about it? What relationships are there between different aspects of the topic?

Focus your topic into a gendered social problem: Use the information from your exploratory research to define your social problem and connect it to themes, concepts, or theories from your course readings. Indicate why the social problem is gendered and why it's important.

Choose a current social problem: Your goal is to summarize and analyze current findings of an area of research. Pick a research topic about which articles are continuing to be published. Avoid defunct or little-known areas of research. 

Write about what interests you: Professors want students to write about topics that they care about. If you're interested in the topic, it will be more fun for you to write your paper and probably more fun for your professor to read it, too.

Ask Prof. Deward for feedback on your thesis statement.

Picking Your Topic IS Research

Once you've picked a research topic for your paper, it isn't set in stone. It's just an idea that you will test and develop through exploratory research. This exploratory research may guide you into modifying your original idea for a research topic. Watch this video for more info:

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