Aspects of an effective outline.

Write an outline for Paper 4.  To do so, you should organize the information that will be in your essay.  The purposes of an outline are many, and it is a vital skill to be able to make an effective structure for your thoughts.  Outlines should save you time and effort, while also making your work far more effective.  That said, few students use them at all, or use them effectively.  That is why we are going to practice them here.

An effective outline should have a few basic elements.  To demonstrate these, I will do so in outline form.  You can watch this video for some helpful tips too.

  1. Aspects of an effective outline
    1. Hierarchy of ideas (structure)
      1. Defines the function of each idea
        1. Topic sentence: defines a paragraph
        2. Major detail: supports the topic sentence and is usually a concept of some kind
        3. Minor detail: supports a major detail and is often a specific, concrete example, quote, statistic, or explanation
    2. Content: evaluating your ideas
      1. Order: there should be a logical way to connect the ideas
        1. Chronological: develops along a time line
        2. Spatial: develops in a physical space
          1. Example: from US regions—West, Mountains, Plains, Midwest, East Coast, South
        3. Importance
          1. From most to least important
          2. From least to most important
      2. Quantity: there should be enough evidence to clearly make your point
        1. Are there any concepts that need additional explanation or evidence to support?
        2. Are there any terms that the reader might not know that need definition?
      3. Quality: the points should be specific and easily understood
    3. Organization
      1. Unity
        1. Every point that is made pertains to the thesis
      2. Coherence
        1. All the points transition well
          1. Transitions are relationships, so there needs to be an obvious relationship between ideas

You should view the Outline Rubric before you begin this assignment.  You are also required to write two peer responses, which is a space that should be used to review each other’s work and make suggestions for improvement.

Please remember that the rubric is a qualitative evaluation of the discussion forum. Students will be expected to complete an original post and two responses.

To complete this assignment:

  • Write your outline

Please choose a prompt from the following sources.  Take careful note of what the prompt is asking, and be sure that your paper directly addresses the question at hand.

For “Fish Cheeks” answer the following:

In this article, what does Amy Tan identify as “being American”?  Do you agree with her?

Aspects of an effective outline



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