The purpose of this assignment is to help you map out your rough draft. Above all, this assignment is a tool to help you move from the research phase to the rough draft phase. By creating this outline, you are pushing yourself to make some decisions about what you will argue and what you will cover in your paper to make that argument. You are not committing yourself to cover exactly the same material in your rough draft as you list in your outline. In fact, it is likely that it will change, which reflects a healthy drafting process. Again, this is simply a tool to help you start planning your paper, and I’ll be giving you feedback on it.
Your outline must follow a formal outline structure. There is a sample outline for you at the end of this document, but here is a “skeleton” outline for you to follow. Everything in parentheses in this skeleton outline must be filled in with specifics in your outline:
A. (State how you will introduce the subject of your paper)
B. (Provide a first draft of your thesis statement)
II. Body of the Paper
A. (First major section of paper—informing your reader about your topic)
B. (Second major section of your paper—supporting your argument?)
C. (Third major section of your paper—addressing counterarguments?)
A. (Restatement of your thesis)
B. (State how you will conclude your paper)
The individual items in your outline do not need to be stated in complete sentences, but the points you are making and/or the information you are presenting must be specific. For example, section I.A. should not read, “Engaging opening sentences” but instead something like “Description of a dying coral reef from Time magazine.” You can do the minimum that the skeleton outline asks for, or you can go way beyond that (I had one student turn in a four-page outline once!). Just remember, the more detailed your outline is, the easier it will be to sit down and write your rough draft. Also, double-space your outline and give it a title.
Also, you may want to review the Four Argument Strategies in the Lecture on Argumentation.
Will your paper argue a position? Propose a solution? Justify an evaluation? Or speculate about causes? The sample below provides an example of an outline of a paper that is proposing a solution—the best treatment for meth addiction.
Breaking Good: Effective Treatment for Methamphetamine Addicts
A. NY Times Magazine story of couple who used and dealt meth, got arrested, lost children to
foster care system.
B. We need to make long-term in-patient treatment available to more addicts to best combat
the problem of meth addiction.
A. A history and overview of the meth problem in the U.S.
1. Early history: military and motorcycle gangs
2. The “rising tide” of meth
a. “Meth Epidemic” map of spread
b. Falkowski’s description/stats on arrests
c. “Faces of Meth” campaign
d. Breaking Bad television show
B. The effects of the drug on individuals and communities
1. How meth is made
2. Effects of meth on the body and brain
3. Crime statistics where meth is a problem
4. “Meth labs” and the environmental impact
C. Treatment vs. Punishment
1. Meth users are breaking the law
2. Meth addicts often commit petty crimes to support their habit
3. If we don’t offer treatment, they just pick up where they left of when released from
D. Overview of Different Forms of Treatment
1. Shortcomings of short-term treatment
2. Short-comings of out-patient treatment
E. Why Long-Term In-Patient Treatment Works Best
1. Long-term in-patient treatment center in Washington state
2. Story of Celie (kids stayed in treatment center with her, motivating her recovery)
3. Research showing higher recovery rates
A. By making long-term in-patient treatment available, we can fight the “rising tide” of meth
B. Return to story of couple used in the introduction with happy ending through treatment.
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