See It in Practice
In this video cast, you’ll see how our student writer has organized all of her research into a traditional outline.
Because my research paper is thesis based, I used a traditional outline from the Online Writing Lab. I followed the structure provided in the sample. You will notice I have my introduction, a plan for five, well-developed body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
In my introduction, I made sure to include my working thesis, and for all of my body paragraphs, I listed my topic sentences first. Then, I worked to develop supporting points that would stay focused on that particular topic sentence. I want my body paragraphs to have good focus and purpose. And by including my working thesis and my topic sentences, I am able to quickly tell if I am maintaining good focus in my essay.
You will also notice that I have included a paragraph to address my opposing views. This was particular to my assignment, as my professor listed this as one of the requirements for my essay. Because I am writing a persuasive piece, I have to be sure to address my counter-arguments. This is not always required in a research paper, but it was in this one.
In my conclusion, I plan to remind my readers of key points, and I have a good plan, I think, to connect to a bigger picture issue of writing in the workplace.
I think I have a good start with this outline, and I know it will help me keep my information organized as I draft. Of course, if I don’t follow this outline exactly, that is okay, too. Just like a working thesis is a guide, so is an outline.