Many of you wrote really good outlines, but I suspect a lot of people wouldn’t mind seeing an example of a really good outline that they can use as a model moving forward.

I am attaching to this post the outline that Dane submitted (with his permission). Of all the good outlines in the class, I wanted to share this one as a model because I think it is actually very easy to emulate. It’s structure is actually very typical of an essay, and so it isn’t overly particular to his topic.

Notice how the introduction builds up to a clear thesis statement and summarizes 3 primary supports for the thesis (Section I.E). Then notice that 95% of the rest of the outline is divided into 3 sections that correspond to the three supports specified in I.E.1-3.

In a way, Dane’s outline is a lengthy spin on the structure that many of us learned in high school: the “five paragraph essay.” In the five paragraph essay, the first paragraph is the introduction, and the last sentence of it is the thesis statement. The next three paragraphs each offer 1 point in support of the thesis. The fifth paragraph is a conclusion, which ideally looks forward and doesn’t just repeat the thesis (this is one area Dane’s outline could be stronger, but this is not a big deal). By “looks forward,” I mean that usually the paper says something like, “OK, now that I have shown [thesis], here are some next steps to move this agenda forward and to develop its contribution: [a][b][n]….”

Anyway, for those of you really struggling even to know where to start, the five paragraph essay framework offers a good starting strategy to organize your ideas. Please note that it is not the only strategy, so please don’t feel obligated to use it!

OK, I have added Dane’s post the “Gallery” of this blog, but I am not smart enough (yet) to get a link to it directly in this post. UPDATE: I think it will appear below.

dane-petersen-outline

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