Developing a working thesis can serve to tell you what further information you need to provide in the essay and help you decide on the order of your ideas, or what further arguments you need to support the working thesis.
After a few cycles of stating, working with, and revising a working thesis, you will be able to see how your ideas change or evolve over time, and you will start to see what will become your final thesis emerge.
As you write, keep returning to the question that you hope your essay will answer. Don’t hesitate to revise this question as your understanding of the topic develops. Each time you do so, consider what your possible or probable answer is at that point. This answer can be written out in sentence form and serve as a working thesis, something like a hypothesis that you are testing.
Your working thesis should state your position on your topic and not simply present a topic. One way to generate a working thesis is to complete the following sentence in relation to the question you hope your essay will answer:
At this point I think I am going to argue that ….
To learn more about a working thesis, see Developing a Working Thesis under Resources.