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Outline for Research Paper

1-2 pages Due Monday, April 16th At this point in the writing process, you should have a solid, debatable thesis and notes taken from the sources that you have read. Now you will begin organizing your ideas and research by creating an outline. Take this assignment seriously. Good organization is vital to the success of your research paper, and a detailed outline will help you write a strong, wellorganized draft. How do I create an outline?

Determine the purpose of your paper. What is the topic? Why is it significant? Write out the thesis of your paper. What background material is relevant?

Then: Brainstorm: List all the main ideas that you want to include in your paper. Organize: Group related ideas together. Order: Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete. Label: Create main and sub headings.

You must have the following elements in your outline: o a debatable thesis statement that either presents an argument or analyzes primary sources o relevant background information o clear topic sentences or main points that further your argument or analysis o evidence and examples from the texts you have read that serve to support your ideas o conclusion

Sample Outline Thesis: The televising of trials is a bad idea because it has several negative effects on the First Amendment: It gives viewers a deceptive view of particular trials and of the judicial system in general, and it degrades the quality of media reporting outside the courtroom.
Student includes relevant backgrou nd informati on. Student begins outline with a strong thesis statement that

I. Introduction A. Trend toward increasing trial coverage B. First Amendment versus Sixth Amendment II. Effect of televising trials on First Amendment A. Provides deceptive version of truth 1. Confidence in verdicts misplaced a. William Smith trial b. Rodney King trial 2. Nature of TV as a medium a. Distortion in sound bites b. Stereotyping trial participants c. Misleading camera angles d. Commentators and commercials B. Confuses viewers about judicial system 1. Contradicts basic concept innocent until proven guilty 2. Cant explain legal complexities C. Contributes to media circus outside of court

Student moves from general ideas to concrete examples. Students evidence supports main points. Students main points support thesis statement.

1. Blurs truth and fiction 2. Affects print media in negative ways 3. Media makes itself the story 4. Distracts from other issues III. Conclusion A. Summary of argument B. Call to action

Source: Barnet, Sylvan and Hugo Bedau. From Critical Thinking to Argument. New York: Bedford, 2008