Composing A College-Level Thesis Outline: A Step-By-Step Guide


When writing a college thesis paper, students need to make an outline. Many of the best writers in the world use outlines because they help to organize the writers thoughts and ideas. With a good outline, the student can make sure that they create a cohesive logical argument. In addition, it is much easier to modify the order of the argument in an outline. It also helps students to sort their quotes and data according to the part of the thesis paper that it will appear in.

Begin With a Thesis Statement

The first thing that students should create is a thesis statement. This normally spans just one or two sentences. Within the thesis, the student sums up the entirety of their argument. When they begin to write the document, the thesis statement will be included in the middle or the end of the first paragraph.

Figure Out the Introduction and the Conclusion

Although it seems counterintuitive, the conclusion is actually one of the first things that the student should write. If the student has already created their introduction and the conclusion, they will know exactly where their argument begins and how it will end. This will allow the student to easily construct the rest of the essay because they know where they should end up.

Sort Through Research Notes

As the student does their research, they should make sure to list the bibliographical information from each source. In addition, they should start to figure out where they will include each piece of research in their writing. The best research papers are thoroughly backed by data and relevant sources. As the student creates their outline, they should take notes about which pieces of information they plan on using to support each paragraph.

Design Topic Sentences

In each of the paragraphs, the student will need to create a topic sentence. This serves as a mini-thesis and is normally included toward the beginning of the paragraph. Once the topic sentence is created, the student can use one to three pieces of research to support what they have said. In the outline, the student will probably just write out the topic sentence and take notes on the pieces of research that they will use. Later on, the student can connect all of this information as they write the actual research paper. If the outline is well-made, the student will have an easy time actually writing out their essay.

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