Research Assignment Outline & Working Thesis Statement
To help you determine the structure of your Research Assignment, complete a written assignment outline.
Step 1: Review the Assignment Guidelines & Gather Sources
· Using the Research Assignment PromptDownload Research Assignment Prompt and your in-class writing and materials from the past few weeks, prepare to write your Research Assignment outline by doing the following from our “Why & How to Create a Useful Outline” handout:Download “Why & How to Create a Useful Outline” handout:
o Determine the purpose of your paper – what is the primary reason for writing this type of assignment?
o Determine the audience you are writing for – what type of reader are you addressing? How familiar are they with your “thing”?
o Develop the thesis of your paper – the thesis statement of your assignment should be directly supported by the topics of your outline’s body paragraphs (this will likely change in the coming weeks, and that’s okay!), referencing our Types of Thesis Statements handoutDownload Types of Thesis Statements handout as you write.
· If you haven’t already, decide which sources will be important to reference and engage with in your Research Assignment.
o Remember – the prompt asks you to use at least 2 scholarly secondary sources, and suggests you’ll likely need additional popular sources to support your assignment’s points.
o Be sure to familiarize yourself with your chosen sources before basing your writing on them. Use active reading strategies to deepen your understanding of your sources’ points.
Step 2: Construct the Outline
· Write your Research Assignment outline, using the Nicola Tesla outlineDownload Nicola Tesla outline as an example to follow.
o Notice that the example outline mixes sources within paragraphs, putting them in conversation with each other. To do this, find points within topics that your sources agree or disagree on.
o If you finish structuring your outline and realize that your paragraph topics don’t support your thesis statement, be sure to revise either the thesis statement or your topics to line them up.
o Remember – the Tesla outline example is the minimum of what you’ll need to create a useful outline. Feel free to add more detail to your outline by writing out your major/minor points of each paragraph, what parts of a source you’ll be using in each paragraph, etc. Taking more time on your outline right now often leads to spending less time writing your draft later!
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