In Unit 1, you mentioned a possible “big idea” to pursue this term. For this week’s Invention Lab, you will brainstorm four research questions related to that topic or another one if you have changed your mind. These questions are what you would like to find out in the process of your research. After writing the four questions, write down what you think the answer will be to each question, based on what you already know. (Naturally, your answers to these questions might change as you continue your research, and that is fine!)


Here are some examples for a topic about anti-smoking campaigns:

  1. How much money is spent yearly in the United States on anti-smoking campaigns? [Provisional answer: I really don’t know yet, but I read that anti-smoking campaign funding is going down and anti-obesity funding is going up.]
  2. How do researchers determine how well an anti-smoking campaign works? [Provisional answer: Researchers can determine whether an anti-smoking campaign works by using focus groups or surveys to find out if smokers think that the campaign message influences them to change their behavior. Maybe they could also track a study group and a control group over time to see if exposure to certain anti-smoking messages causes the study participants to smoke fewer cigarettes or stop smoking.]
  3. Is second-hand smoke really harmful? [Provisional answer: Yes. Second-hand smoke is harmful.]
  4. Should the United States require tobacco companies to include graphic warnings on cigarette packs? [Provisional answer: Yes. The United States should require tobacco companies to include graphic warnings on cigarette packs.] Notice how the first two or three questions may lead to factual answers. However, any answer to the fourth question would probably be a debatable claim, which would make it an appropriate thesis statement for a persuasive argument.

Part 2:

Do you think any of your provisional answers might be your working thesis statement? Which one might be a good thesis? Please post your first attempt at a thesis statement. You want a concise (1-2 sentence) statement that clearly indicates your position.

You want to make sure that your thesis statement is persuasive and logical.

  • Avoid informative thesis statements such as this: Many health organizations claim that smoking is bad for one’s health, and this has led to warning labels and advertising limitations.
  • Also avoid illogical thesis statements. This one uses the “slippery slope” fallacy: Smoking should not be banned in public places. If this happens, the government will ban overeating and drinking in public next.
  • An effective persuasive thesis typically includes a claim (what should be done, for example) and why. For example: Exposure to cigarette smoke poses serious health risks, particularly to children and those with breathing problems. Therefore, smoking should be banned in all public places to protect the most vulnerable.

What challenges will you face in trying to prove your thesis? For more on creating effective persuasive thesis statements, review the following Writing Center resources:

The Unit 2 project will include your thesis statement, so this is a great opportunity to receive feedback prior to submitting your project.

Your response to the two parts of discussion should be approximately 200-250 words. Respond to two classmates with posts of a minimum of 100 words each. In those responses, note any challenges you think your classmate may face in proving the thesis and any recommendations you have for overcoming those challenges. You might also note other research questions and mention resources that could be useful.

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