Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Monday, February 04, 2008

How to Create an Outline for Your Paper

Remember your outline and first draft are due this week. Be sure to bring two copies of your first draft to class - one for me to collect and one for you to get comments on and continue working.

Below are some tips on building an outline.

Answer the Following questions before you construct your outline.

1. What is my main point/thesis about this subject?
2. What are the main reasons I believe my thesis is true?
3. What details and evidence do I have to support each of these reasons?

With these answers in mind, write your thesis first, then organize your main points under it.

Example: Answers to Questions

1. My Thesis: Star Trek's Captain Kirk is a more likable starship captain than the next generation Star Trek's Captain Picard.

2.
Roman Numeral I. Kirk shows more conflict in moral dilemas while Picard considers following orders more important.

Roman Numeral II. Kirk makes mistakes, like other human beings, while Picard only makes minor errors.

Roman Numeral III. Kirk agonizes over the death of any crew member while Picard only cares if the officers closest to him are killed.

3. Supporting evidence for point I.

A. episode where Kirk is used as a disease carrier to help kill off people on an overpopulated planet. Dialogue from specific scenes shows his conflict.

B. Captain Picard is faced with several situations where he would have followed the prime directive and let humans/aliens die if not for the intervention of other crew members. Dialogue shows his obesession with "the right way to do things"Then the resulting outline would start like this:

Thesis: Star Trek's Captain Kirk is a more likable starship captain than the Next Generation Star Trek's Captain Picard.

I. Kirk shows more conflict during moral dilemas while Captain Picard considers following orders more important than anything else.

A. In one episode Kirk is used as a disease carrier to help kill off people on an overpopulated planet. His reaction to this shows his humanity.

1. Dialogue with Spock shows his conflict.
2. His scene with the girl from the planet shows his remorse.

B. Captain Picard is faced with several situations where he would have followed the prime directive and let humans/aliens die if not for the intervention of other crew members.

1. A planet is about the explode, but Picard doesn't try to help until Data contacts a little girl on the planet.
2. Wesley rebels agains the captain in an episode about the Prime Directive.

You get the idea. You may not have all your evidence yet; that's o.k. Just show me you know what your major reasons are and what evidence you can use to support them.My spacing is off because of blogger's formatting, so be sure you indent supporting information. Follow the spacing example on page 14 in our Writer's Reference book. Microsoft word also has an outline template that does the spacing for you.

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