What Does It Look Like?

Select the video below to see a presentation which will provide you with a basic outline for developing an illustration essay.

Video Transcript
Outline for a Five Paragraph Illustration Essay

In a basic five paragraph illustration essay, you will follow a traditional structure common to most academic essays. You will have an introduction, plus body paragraphs, plus your conclusion.

In this example outline for an illustration essay, we will use the topic Success in Online Classes. Remember, a good thesis in a traditional essay always makes some kind of assertion. A good illustration thesis that might work well within this topic would be: It is essential to develop good study habits in order to be successful in online classes.

Now, we will take a look at how we could outline our introduction using our thesis with the goal of writing an illustration essay. A good introduction provides background on a topic, transitions to the thesis, and then presents the thesis.

In this example, we would first provide background on our topic by explaining how online classes are different from traditional face-to-face classes. We would then briefly explore how good study habits can be developed and make a difference in student success. This would help us transition to our thesis as the final sentence of our introduction.

When you write an illustration essay, think about the subtopics and examples you can use to help illustrate your points for your audience.

The body paragraphs for our illustration essay could be broken down into the subtopics which will give us a chance to really illustrate our points. We could have one body paragraph that addresses individual online study habits, a second that covers online teams, and a third that focuses on using school resources.

As you develop each body paragraph, make sure you connect to your thesis and relate each body paragraph to your main idea.

A good conclusion will generally reinforce information from the body of the essay and remind readers of the thesis. In the outline for our conclusion, we should summarize the need for good study habits in online classes, remind our audience of the main points of each of our three body paragraphs, and, of course, remind our audience of our thesis statement.

Remember, you should not repeat the exact words of your thesis in your conclusion, but you should emphasize the main idea.

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