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Research Outline sample

1. RESEARCH PROJECT: OUTLINE FOR THE RESEARCH ESSAY

Purpose
The purpose of this assignment is to organize your ideas, different viewpoints, and research before starting
to write the essay. There are some writers who need to just start writing the essay in order to organize their
ideas. This is fine; however, you still need to create an outline to make sure that you are moving in the
right direction prior to submitting the essay.

Approach
The outline does not need to be formal with roman numerals (I, II, III, IV), capital letters (A, B, C) and then
subpoints in lower case roman numerals and letters (i, ii, iii, iv; a, b, c, d). If this works for you, fabulous. If
it doesn’t then you are welcome to provide a more informal outline using some type of bullets and headings
that show the different sections. The key is to visually show the organization of your essay by the points
you are making and how you will use your sources. Based on our outline reading, I do recommend the
“micro-outline,” meaning detail of what you think you’ll use from your sources, too.

What to include in the outline:
• Your main point, which is your argument
• What you plan to use in your introduction to grab readers’ attention and lead them into your topic
• Your personal connection to this social issue topic
• The points you will make that support your argument
· Support you will use from sources as evidence for your points
• At least one counterargument (a viewpoint that challenges yours)
· Support from source(s) as evidence for this counterargument
· How you will address this counterargument
• What you plan to wrap up your essay with in the conclusion

Please Note: Avoid dividing up your outline by paragraphs. Instead, organize your outline (and eventually
the essay) by POINTS you will make. Until you start writing, you usually don’t know if one point will take
two or three paragraphs to explain, while another will take one.

Tip: DO NOT organize your essay by sources. Instead, organize your research essay by the points you
will make to support your argument and address the counterargument. The following examples are BRIEF
examples of organization, NOT full outlines. Your outline will have more information than what is
provided below.

EFFECTIVE SAMPLE ORGANIZATION: DO organize your essay by POINTS you are making.
(Remember this is only an outline shell, not a complete outline, and this is only one example. There are
many ways to effectively organize an outline.)
▪ Introduction
▪ Background Information, if needed
▪ Point #1 (Your point that you are making.)
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
▪ Point #2 (Another point that you are making.)
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point

▪ Counterargument #1
· Source #___, information from the source, & address the counterargument
· Connection to your point
▪ Point #3 (Another point that you are making.)
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
▪ Counterargument #2
· Source #___, information from the source, & address the counterargument
· Connection to your point
▪ Point #4 (Another point that you are making.)
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
· Source #___, information from the source, & connection to your point
▪ Conclusion

Again, this is a sample. Your points and counterarguments can be in a different order. In addition, you will
include more information than what appears above. Provide the name of the source. This is only a shell of
an example outline to illustrate the organization.

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The following is an ineffective way to organize your essay:
INEFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION
DO NOT organize your outline/essay this way.
▪ Introduction
▪ Source #1
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
▪ Source #2
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
▪ Source #3
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
▪ Source #4
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
· Quote from source & Connection to your point
▪ Conclusion

No, no, no. Do not organize your essay by sources and simply explain what information each source
provides. This is ineffective. Instead, you should organize your outline and essay by the supporting points
for your argument/stance.

As a reminder, this outline is not graded, though I highly recommend you submit the outline in order to

2. THE MAIN ESSAY :RESEARCH PROJECT: RESEARCH ESSAY

Optional: Three Pages of the Research Essay with the Works Cited Page & the Self-evaluation
Submission is optional, though feedback is provided.

Required: Final Research Essay with the Works Cited Page & the Research Project Reflection
Submission is required on the last day of class (no late submissions).

——————————————————————————————————

Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to share your researched argument on your approved topic and
present a new perspective to your readers – those who disagree with you. Try to change their minds with
your ideas backed up by evidence from credible sources presented in a respectful manner.

Audience: Your audience is those whose minds you want to change about this topic because they
disagree with you. Of course, with only six pages, you won’t change their minds completely, but give them
something new to consider. Show your readers that you understand their point of view as you present your
own argument without offending your readers.

Approach: Your research essay should be at least 6 pages (MLA format) and address discussion prompts
presented below. Do not list these prompts in your essay; instead, use them as a way to brainstorm ideas
for the essay.
• Your personal connection to this social issue
• The answers you found to your two-three research questions (if they still apply)
• The conversation / different viewpoints surrounding this topic/argument
• The point you are trying to make / your stance on the topic
• At least one counterargument, if not more (those who disagree with you)
• Utilize logos, pathos, and ethos to help persuade your readers
• What you can add to this conversation that is new regarding your topic

These prompts are not an outline for the essay. Instead, consider them as you begin to plan and write
about your topic. The most important quality of this research essay is that you and your ideas appear in the
essay, and your research supports your ideas. Do not let the source information take over your essay. In
addition, this is not a report (merely reporting information about the topic). Instead, you are creating your
argument based on researched evidence to try to change the minds of your readers in a respectful way.

You will use in-text citations (signal phrases and parenthetical references) and quotation sandwiches. In
addition, you will introduce your sources at least the first time they are mentioned. For example, you may
provide names and credentials of authorities (e.g. “According to Janet Smyth, a researcher from
Northwestern University Medical Center,…”). Reference back to our readings about writing with sources.

Important: This research essay must be about the approved topic we agreed upon. If you submit a
research essay about a new topic that has not been approved, you will receive a zero for the
Research Essay assignment. As a reminder, this research essay is required to pass the class.

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Works Cited Page
(Required—NOT included in page count)
If you do not include a Works Cited page, you will not pass this assignment. Remember that the
Works Cited page includes the sources that you cite in your research essay. This allows your readers to
see where you found your research, and you are able to give credit to the original works’ creators. The
sources should be listed alphabetically and follow MLA format.

Structure of the Research Essay
Your essay should…
· include a unique title.
· be at least six (6) typed pages (not including the Works Cited page) and follow the
assignment format listed in our syllabus.
· include a Works Cited page at the end of your essay (not part of the page count).
· include MLA documentation.
· contain all the elements of an essay including, but not limited to, and introduction, thesis
(argument), body paragraphs, and conclusion.
· be free of errors that limit understanding.
· follow the MLA assignment format.
· have your name, course, date, and assignment on the first page (top, left-hand corner).
· have your last name and page numbers on subsequent pages.

Reminder: Be sure to submit Microsoft Word documents. If you do have a word processing program other
than Microsoft Word, then you will need to save and send your work as a .docx or .doc file. For example, if
you have a Mac, you will need to save your Pages document as an MS Word file. If you use Google
Docs, you can download your document as a Microsoft Word document, too. You can also
download Office 365 for free from your CLC portal (see the Course Syllabus).

Write: Self-evaluation (for Three Pages of the Research Essay)

The Self-evaluation is due with the Three Pages of the Research Essay.  As a reminder, I will not review your Three Pages of the Research Essay if you have not posted the self-evaluation.   

Please provide thorough answers to the following questions below.   (One sentence is not thorough — offer explanation.)  To submit the Self-evaluation, click on the “Start Assignment” button in the top right corner.  Be sure to number your answers.

1. What is the most successful part of your research essay so far? Explain.

2. What is the least successful part of your research essay so far? Explain.

3. What do you see as the next steps in order to complete your essay? Explain.