Narrative Script for Pullman Research Paper

Step 4: Write a thesis statement and a title

Sort your notes into groups having the same heading.

When Kiran finished taking notes, she saw that she had used a lot of different headings from her working outline. In her computer file, however, all the different notes were jumbled together. To organize notes with the same heading one after another, she pulled down the Edit menu and clicked on the Search or Find command. In the window that opened, she typed a heading and clicked Next. Each time she arrived at a note with the same heading, she cut and pasted it right below other notes with that heading. Here's an example of related notes—from two different parts of her file—that Kiran put next to each other because they both deal with the positive qualities of the early company town:


Pullman as a company town: positive

good education for workers' children
p. 34


Pullman as a company town: positive

working-class homes considered modern for their time:

  • places for recreation
  • indoor plumbing
  • gas

p. 119

Evaluate your notes.

Kiran talked to classmates about her research. They asked her questions that she couldn't answer—for example, how many people lived in Pullman originally, and how much rent did they pay? She had to go back to her sources and look up that information, or she would have to find a new source.

Make sure that all your information fits the scope of your paper.

Kiran had so many notes that she began to worry that her paper would be too long. She went through all her notes once more to see what she might eliminate. One of the notes she decided to put aside is shown below. It includes a well-worded quotation, but Kiran could make the point in her own words. She put a red X on this note to remind herself that its information was not required for her paper.


The end of the company town

Pullman Town: "a fascinating—if ultimately unsuccessful—experiment"
p. 119

Arrange the information in a way that readers will easily understand.

Kiran's working outline presented the information in the order her teacher gave in the assignment. Within the section labeled "IV. What I learned," Kiran carefully followed chronological, or time, order, which she felt made sense for the history of a place.

Identify your audience and your purpose.

Her teacher and classmates were the audience that Kiran had focused on until now. She was putting a lot of time and energy into her research, though, and began to wonder if she should also offer the final draft to the Historic Pullman Foundation Visitor Center for tourists to enjoy. She would discuss this possibility with her teacher.

Draft a working thesis statement.

Kiran was getting closer to drafting her research report, but she knew she needed a clear statement of what she'd cover. She tried several versions of a working thesis statement, eliminating them as awkward or unclear. Finally, she hit on one that was complete and not too long.

After learning about my grandmother's role in saving her neighborhood from the wrecking ball, I was curious about its long—ago history and its recent history.

I wanted to learn how the neighborhood my grandmother lived in was doing since the time when grandmother helped save it from the wrecking ball and also about the origins of the neighborhood.

I was surprised to learn that in the 1960s, my grandmother stopped Chicago from knocking down the Pullman district, so I wanted to find out why she thought the neighborhood was worth saving and what happened to the neighborhood in the years since then.

Draft a working title

Kiran liked the idea of a two-part title with a colon separating the general topic from her limited focus. She came up with three possibilities.

Pullman, Illinois: Beginnings, Threats, Survival
Pullman, Illinois: Rise, Fall, and Rebirth
Pullman, Illinois: 130 Years of History