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Outlining Your Research Paper and Writing Your Thesis

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Title: Outlining Your Paper Author: rmandel Last modified by: teachert Created Date: 4/15/2011 1:14:17 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Outlining Your Research Paper and Writing Your Thesis


1
Outlining Your Research Paper and Writing Your
Thesis
  • By Ms. Mandel

2
Why do we outline?
  • To sketch a plan
  • To provide structure to your ideas
  • To order your thoughts
  • To pre-write your draft

3
What kind of outline do I need?
  • Early in the process, rough outlines have
    advantages, you might start with a your thesis
    followed by a simple list
  • Formal outlines are more useful as you continue
    your research and as your ideas build
  • The more thorough your outline, the easier it
    will be to draft your paper

4
Guidelines for Outlining
  • Put the thesis at the top.
  • Make items at the same level of generality as
    parallel as possible.
  • If two or more ideas are parallel, they are
    easier to grasp when expressed in parallel
    grammatical form. Single words should be balanced
    with single words, phrases with phrases, clauses
    with clauses etc.
  • Not parallel The three causes of poverty are
    lack of education, lack of money and war.
  • Parallel The three causes of poverty are lack of
    education, lack of money and lack of safety
    caused by war or military conflicts.

5
Guidelines for Outlining
  • Use sentences unless phrases are more clear.
  • Use the conventional system of numbers and
    letters for the levels of generality.
  • I.
  • A.
  • B.
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • a.
  • b.
  • II.
  • Limit the number of major sections in the
    outline if the list of Roman numerals begins to
    look like a laundry list, find some way of
    clustering the items into a few major categories
    with more subcategories.
  • Be flexible in other words, be prepared to
    change your outline as your drafts evolve.

6
Guidelines for Outlining
  • Always use at least two subdivisions for a
    category, since nothing can be divided into fewer
    than two parts.
  • Types of food at the party
  • Pizza
  • Types of food at the party
  • Pizza
  • Ice cream
  • Soda

7
Guidelines for Outlining
  • Dont forget to cite your sources in the text of
    your outline.
  • What does that mean?
  • Provide parenthetical citations for all
    paraphrased ideas or direct quotes
  • Authors name and page number if available
  • (Solzhenitzyn 42)
  • When in doubt, cite it!

8
Turning Your Controlling Purpose Statement into a
Thesis Statement
  • What are the characteristics of any effective
    thesis?
  • Expresses the central idea of the paper that
    controls the papers focus (takes a position, or
    proposes an argument or answers a question)
  • Uses specific language (concise and precise)
  • Fits the scope
  • Justifiable (not too obvious)
  • Expressed in a single sentence

9
Turning Your Controlling Purpose Statement into a
Thesis Statement
  • Remove the phrase The purpose of this paper is
  • Remove any first person pronouns and their verbs
    In this paper I will
  • Look at the verbs you chose describe, analyze,
    compare and/or contrast
  • Do what the verb commands

10
Turning Your Controlling Purpose Statement into a
Thesis Statement
  • If your purpose was to describe, then you must
    give a detailed account of something
  • Controlling purpose The purpose of this paper is
    to describe The Great Depression.
  • Expository thesis The Great Depression was a
    time of economic hardship, political upheaval and
    social change

11
Turning Your Controlling Purpose Statement into a
Thesis Statement
  • If your purpose was to compare, then you must
    give an account of the similarities between two
    or more items
  • Controlling purpose The purpose of this paper is
    to compare the symptoms of depression and
    anxiety.
  • Expository thesis Depression and anxiety have at
    least three similar symptoms including mood
    swings, disorientation and an inability to sleep
    these similarities may make it difficult to
    distinguish anxiety from depression.

12
Wrapping up on outlining and thesis writing
  • What are your questions?
  • What have you learned?
  • What are you still struggling with?

13
References
  • Hacker, Diana. A Writers Reference. New York
    Bedford St. Martins, 2009
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