Essay Outline (500 words)
The purpose of an essay outline is to set out the objectives, structure and sources that you will use in your full essay. You need:
• to explain how you intend to approach the question (questions can be interpreted in different ways, explain yours);
• explain the argument you propose to make;
• explain how you intend to make this argument (sections with different points or points of view e.g., the case for or against a statement);
• what evidence (from the literature) you will use to substantiate your points;
• what sources (articles /books) will use and why;
• what conclusions you expect to reach.
In order to prepare your outline you will have to become familiar with the key texts that are relevant to the topic, even if deeper and wider reading will be done in the course of completing your essay.
Introduction: Write out the introduction in full sentences. This should include a statement of your argument or main point (expressing your point of view/what you intend to argue on the subject); it could also include an attention-grabbing first line, a few lines on the importance/history of the argument, and a brief outline of how you will support your thesis statement.
Body Paragraphs: This section should be kept in outline form. Body paragraphs are where you present the evidence supporting your thesis statement. You should have one main idea per paragraph; you can further organize these paragraphs into sections with an overarching theme/topic if you wish (this is optional). You should guide the reader through the body paragraphs using clear topic sentences (opening lines of paragraph that make it clear where you are going) and transitions. You can also devote paragraphs to addressing critiques of your position (counter-points). The logic of your structure (i.e. why you are presenting material in the order you are) should be apparent.
- Section 1 Topic
1.1. Discussion of first main point
1.1.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
1.2. Discussion of second main point
1.2.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
1.3. Discussion of third main point
1.3.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
- Section 2 Topic
2.1. Discussion of first main point
2.1.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
2.2. Discussion of second main point
2.2.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
2.3. Discussion of second main point
2.3.1. Supporting examples, details, illustrations
Conclusion: Provide a synthesis of your argument (e.g., summarize/reword your key argument statement, briefly review the steps you took to get here) and possibly comment on its significance. End with a clincher to drive your point home and/or a statement on the broader implications of the discussion. You should not present new supporting evidence. For now you can leave this as one or two bullet-points.