Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates
Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates
Published on June 7, 2022 by Tegan George . Revised on December 7, 2022.
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical early steps in your writing process . It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding the specifics of your dissertation topic and showcasing its relevance to your field.
Generally, an outline contains information on the different sections included in your thesis or dissertation , such as:
- Your anticipated title
- Your abstract
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review, research methods, avenues for future research, etc.)
In the final product, you can also provide a chapter outline for your readers. This is a short paragraph at the end of your introduction to inform readers about the organizational structure of your thesis or dissertation. This chapter outline is also known as a reading guide or summary outline.
Table of contents
How to outline your thesis or dissertation, dissertation and thesis outline templates, chapter outline example, sample sentences for your chapter outline, sample verbs for variation in your chapter outline, frequently asked questions about thesis and dissertation outlines.
While there are some inter-institutional differences, many outlines proceed in a fairly similar fashion.
- Working Title
- “Elevator pitch” of your work (often written last).
- Introduce your area of study, sharing details about your research question, problem statement , and hypotheses . Situate your research within an existing paradigm or conceptual or theoretical framework .
- Subdivide as you see fit into main topics and sub-topics.
- Describe your research methods (e.g., your scope , population , and data collection ).
- Present your research findings and share about your data analysis methods.
- Answer the research question in a concise way.
- Interpret your findings, discuss potential limitations of your own research and speculate about future implications or related opportunities.
To help you get started, we’ve created a full thesis or dissertation template in Word or Google Docs format. It’s easy adapt it to your own requirements.
Download Word template Download Google Docs template
It can be easy to fall into a pattern of overusing the same words or sentence constructions, which can make your work monotonous and repetitive for your readers. Consider utilizing some of the alternative constructions presented below.
Example 1: Passive construction
The passive voice is a common choice for outlines and overviews because the context makes it clear who is carrying out the action (e.g., you are conducting the research ). However, overuse of the passive voice can make your text vague and imprecise.
Example 2: IS-AV construction
You can also present your information using the “IS-AV” (inanimate subject with an active verb ) construction.
A chapter is an inanimate object, so it is not capable of taking an action itself (e.g., presenting or discussing). However, the meaning of the sentence is still easily understandable, so the IS-AV construction can be a good way to add variety to your text.
Example 3: The “I” construction
Another option is to use the “I” construction, which is often recommended by style manuals (e.g., APA Style and Chicago style ). However, depending on your field of study, this construction is not always considered professional or academic. Ask your supervisor if you’re not sure.
Example 4: Mix-and-match
To truly make the most of these options, consider mixing and matching the passive voice , IS-AV construction , and “I” construction .This can help the flow of your argument and improve the readability of your text.
As you draft the chapter outline, you may also find yourself frequently repeating the same words, such as “discuss,” “present,” “prove,” or “show.” Consider branching out to add richness and nuance to your writing. Here are some examples of synonyms you can use.
When you mention different chapters within your text, it’s considered best to use Roman numerals for most citation styles. However, the most important thing here is to remain consistent whenever using numbers in your dissertation .
The title page of your thesis or dissertation goes first, before all other content or lists that you may choose to include.
A thesis or dissertation outline is one of the most critical first steps in your writing process. It helps you to lay out and organize your ideas and can provide you with a roadmap for deciding what kind of research you’d like to undertake.
- Your chapters (sometimes subdivided into further topics like literature review , research methods , avenues for future research, etc.)
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
George, T. (2022, December 07). Dissertation & Thesis Outline | Example & Free Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved March 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/dissertation/dissertation-thesis-outline/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, dissertation table of contents in word | instructions & examples, figure and table lists | word instructions, template & examples, thesis & dissertation acknowledgements | tips & examples, what is your plagiarism score.
Ohio State nav bar
The Ohio State University
- Find People
- Search Ohio State
As I stated earlier, I love reading books in the productivity/self-help sort of space. When I was starting to realize that things were going south in the first incarnation of my thesis, I turned to these types of resources. I knew that I needed to bring some clarity to the task at hand if I was going to succeed on this project. I went to every library system in the central Ohio area, CML , Grandview , Upper Arlington , OSU … and got every book I could that seemed related to writing in any variation of long-form writing or thesis writing. I read a lot of stuff, in books and online, and a pattern started to emerge. I cross-referenced this pattern with several theses that had been written recently in the department and it seem to hold true. This works in your favor quite a bit.
This is the pattern, or maybe more accurately, the observation made by myself and countless authors on the subject.
The Overall Thesis Structure
A thesis is an extremely formulaic type of writing.Every thesis follows pretty much the same organizational structure.
There are four primary parts of every single thesis. They may vary a little as to how many chapters each part has, but every thesis has at least one chapter covering thesis four parts.
- Introduction: Don’t mess around with it! The only purpose is to introduce the research. You will outline the problem you intend to investigate, state the aim of the research, limit the scope of the investigation, and provide an overview of what lies ahead. 3-5 pages is usually sufficient.
- Background: The purpose is to position your research into the context of what has gone on before, what is currently taking place, and prove you know how research is generally conducted in this area. This is generally where your literature review goes. You might have chapters that cover the brief history of the topic area, current theory or practice, and/or results of any preliminary studies you may have carried out to help define your problem.
- Your Own Work: This part is really comprised of two parts nearly always: Your methodology and your Data and Analysis . Your methodology is the design of research developed to test hypotheses or answer questions developed from the background section. Your Data & Analysis is just that, the data and results of your methodology.
- Synthesis: This is your new contribution to the body of knowledge and is usually handled in two parts. This first part is a discussion that examines your work (part 3) in light of the background you presented (part 2). This may lead to the development of a new model or theory. The second part is a set of conclusions that should arise directly out of the discussion and and respond directly to the aim of the work stated in the Introduction (part 1)
How Many Chapters?
Largely this will develop out of your content and will be a bit different for everyone, but for planning and visualizing the end goal, I found the following useful.
In “How to write a better thesis” by David Evans and Paul Gruba , it states these general guidelines for thinking about the overall structure.
- Each of your four parts, Intro, Background, Your Own Work, and Synthesis should have between 1-3 chapters. I can tell you now… your introduction will only be one chapter, and a short one.
- If you have more than 10 chapters total, you should suspect that some are actually only subsections of other chapters and start consolidating. You might be framing your chapters in a less than logical way or attempting to cover more than you need.
- We should expect no more than 8-10 chapters. Many theses are accomplished in 5-7 chapters.
For right now though, do not worry too much about this. Now just seemed like the most logical place to include this. For now, we are going to operate under the assumption that you are going to have exactly five “chapters”.
I know what you are thinking, five chapters? But Gabe, you said there were Four primary parts. You are right, and kudos to you for reading so attentively. I also said that the “Your Own Work” part (part 3) is nearly always accomplished in two parts: Your methodology and your Data and Analysis. This gives us five parts.
How to begin structuring a chapter
I do not want to get too into the specifics of chapter construction just yet, as this will be covered a bit more in the “Managing Writing” section, but chapters are also extremely formulaic. This should really be a refresher from your high school composition, but here is the big insight for now.
With the exception of the Introduction Chapter, which is its own sort of beast, every chapter will follow this basic structure:
- Introduction: Every chapter should have an introduction of some kind. People who read theses will scan these to decide if they want to read the chapter. This will link back to previous chapters, state the aim/purpose/function of the the chapter, and outline how you intend to achieve this aim/purpose/function.
- Content: The stuff of your chapter.
- Conclusion: Every Chapter should have a Conclusion. This should cover what has been achieved or established in the chapter that previously had not.
That is it. With this information your very first outline is already complete. It is very generic, but the basic structure is there ready for you to start capturing ideas and making the outline about YOUR thesis.
Your FIRST Outline
Just to make this easy on you, here is your first outline. You should be able to essentially copy and paste this into your text editor of choice and get to work organizing your ideas.
Your outline will expand from here, but this is the bare minimum to achieve something resembling a thesis document. In case you are wondering, my outline started exactly this way, and this is what it grew into.
So now that we have your basic outline as a way to start wrangling the content of your thesis, time to address the materials that are related to this process.
Find the best tips and advice to improve your writing. Or, have a top expert write your paper.
Master’s Thesis Outline: Example And Tips For Writers
A thesis outline is a detailed description of the major parts of your thesis – from introduction, literature overview, thesis problem and methodology to the results, discussion, and conclusion sections.
Thesis Outline Template
- Introduction : Describe the large problem to be solved.
Introduction answers the question: Which problem area this thesis is about to address?
- Literature Overview : Review the existing research in this problem area.
Answers the question: How did the previous researchers deal with this problem?
- Thesis Problem : Define your intended contribution to solving this problem and make the promise of the thesis.
Answers the question: What will be your contribution to the current work on solving this issue?
- Method Section : Describe the protocol you’ve followed to obtain the results.
Answers the question: What methods have you chosen for the research and why are they suitable for this study?
- Results : Present your findings.
Answers the question: What are the outcomes of this research?
- Discussion : Question your findings from the different perspectives, discuss their significance.
Answers the question: How can the research results be interpreted? (it is advisable to use such expressions as “ on one hand/on the other hand, instead, nonetheless, however , etc.”)
- Conclusion : Summarize your findings and answer the research question.
The thesis statement outline or main outline is an important blueprint used to guide the process of organizing and writing your thesis or dissertation. These works are usually required in pursuit of a master’s or Ph.D. degree in many academic fields. What you choose to do depends on your school’s requirements as well as the type of degree you are seeking to earn.
When students ask “what is a thesis?” or “do I have to create an outline?” we respond by explaining that the thesis a study that can range anywhere between 100 to 300 pages that address a specific problem or answers a question in a specific area of study. It is considered an authoritative work that other researchers and academics will build upon and use in their own studies. Something of this depth and scope can get pretty messy without the aid of a well-crafted outline. So, while an outline is not a prerequisite to completing the assignment, it most certainly helps to create one before attempting to write.
In this article, we provide a standard template for you to use as well as detailed instructions on how to write a thesis outline. There are a number of resources available on the web, but this no-nonsense approach is a great start and provides you with all the information you need.
A Thesis and Outline Should Be Mirror Images
Your thesis proposal outline is something you need to do before you start your research in earnest. It needs to be approved by your graduate advisor as it will guide your study for the next several months. However, the paradox about creating a proposal outline is that you likely don’t have a well-developed plan and should actually conduct a little background research before trying to put one together. After you receive this approval, you can get to work, and after you’ve accumulated tons of notes including quotations, paraphrases, questions, responses, data, and more, you will be ready to create the thesis outline.
How to write a thesis? It’s not much different from writing a long research study – but will likely require a lot more of your time and dedication. When writing an outline you can draw from the dissertation proposal outline so that it is basically a mirror image of the work you were granted approval to do. Of course, the revised outline at this stage will have far more detail but it should follow the same chapter or section order as well as meet any of the specific department requirements.
Thesis Outline Template for Free Use
This thesis paper outline lays the foundation for the entire assignment. While you may find very slight differences and may even need to adhere to specific departmental guidelines, the thesis outline example we provide here should help to organize your capstone project in most disciplines.
Unlike the research or term papers, you are experienced with, an academic work of this scope requires a lot more. You shouldn’t be intimidated by this statement, but you should take the time to become familiar with all that is expected that you include and reference. The best place to start is to create a thesis chapters outline touching on all of the major sections. These include a title page, an abstract , an introduction, methods and discussion, conclusions, and a bibliography. Here’s a thesis outline sample you can use for free:
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- General Introduction of the Research Study
- Research Problem or Questions with Sub-Questions
- Reasons or Needs for the Research Study
- Definition and Explanation of Key Terminology
- Context of Research Study within the Greater Discipline (Area of Study)
- Chapter 2: Hypothesis (Theory)
- Brief Overview of Theoretical Foundations Utilized in the Study
- Brief Overview of Literature Reviewed, Discussed and Applied
- Study Model and Process Aligning with Literature Reviewed
- Hypotheses and Justifications Tied to Prior Sections or Statements
- The Scope of Your Study with Theoretical Assumptions and Limitations
- Chapter 3: Methods
- Introduction and General Description Study Method and Study Design
- In-Depth Description of the Study Design (Study Materials to Be Used)
- Explanation of Sample to Be Used in the Study
- Explanation of Measurements, Definitions, Indexes, etc. and Reliability and Validity of Study Method and Study Design
- Description of Analytical Techniques to Be Applied and Justification for Them
- Reliability and Validity of Internal/External Design and Related Subtypes
- Assumptions of Study Method and Study Design with Implied Limitations
- Chapter 4: Findings
- Brief Overview of Material
- Findings (Results) of the Method of Study and Any Unplanned or Unexpected Situations that Occurred
- Brief Descriptive Analysis
- Reliability and Validity of the Analysis
- Explanation of the Hypothesis and Precise and Exact Data (Do Not Give Your Opinion)
- Chapter 5: Discussion
- Full Discussion of Findings (Results) and Implications
- Full Discussion of Research Analysis of Findings
- Full Discussion of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Post Analysis and Implications of Hypothesis and of Findings
- Chapter 6: Conclusion
- Summary of Academic Study
- Reference to Literature Review
- Implications of Academic Study
- Limitations of the Theory or Method of Research
- Recommendations or Suggestions of Future Academic Study
- Chapter 7: Bibliography
- Complete List of all Sources Used Regardless of Citation or Inclusion
How to Make a Thesis Outline
You can use the template above to save time – but we thought a simple process on how to write a thesis outline and getting started with organizing your material before applying the information to the appropriate section would be equally beneficial.
- Start with your hypothesis . Place it right at the top of the page – all of the subsequent sections will need to relate or address this in some way. The page doesn’t have to be too detailed since you are the only one who will be looking at these notes. Just make sure you understand it.
- Work down the template in the order it is presented above . Fill in all top-level sections and add sub-sections as necessary (e.g., I.a, I.b. II.a, II.b., II.c., etc.). We recommend you use a combination alpha-numerical dissertation outline because you will have a lot of information to organize, but this is a matter of personal preference. Use whatever format with which you are most comfortable.
- You might consider using a master outline for the entire work and working outlines for each chapter . The latter will help you focus on just one section at a time, a strategy which can help you stay organized and productive throughout the months-long writing process.
- Review each of your outlines and make adjustments prior to filling it in with all the remaining research content notes you have. It’s easier to do this now before you have to rethink and reorganize large pieces of text. The outline for thesis is a tool to facilitate your writing – but it won’t be of much help if you don’t structure it in a logical manner before getting to work.
- Now, you can flush out all of the details with key terms, phrases, and sentences to guide you through your first draft. Most students should look towards revising the outline(s) after completing the first draft. This may seem a little tedious but it really does help (as we’re certain you will see after completing the draft).
Professional Services to Help with Writing Outline
Creating a thesis outline is difficult, but it’s a challenge you can overcome when you seek out professional assistance . We can provide you with a custom template for your thesis statement and outline. We can also help you to write, revise, edit, and proofread your work anytime throughout the year. We know that the importance of earning a master’s degree and we ensure that our experts are always ready to go the extra mile to give the highest-quality support that you will find anywhere on the internet. Give us a call to discuss your project and unique needs, we’re glad to work within your budget and will always exceed expectations.
Tired of writing thesis on your own? Great news! Enter promo “ thesis20 ” and get a unique outline with 20% discount!
Make PhD experience your own
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
As Putin continues killing civilians, bombing kindergartens, and threatening WWIII, Ukraine fights for the world's peaceful future.
Get Access to ALL Templates & Editors for Just $2 a month.
- Google Docs
- Apple Pages
- Illustrator (AI)
- MS Publisher
- Vectors (EPS)
- Google Sheets
- Apple Numbers
- Power Point
- Coloring Pages
- Video Online
15+ Thesis Outline Templates – Sample, Example
A thesis outline template is made to ensure that the plans for the creation of a thesis is put together in such a way that all the variables necessary to the scope of the study are considered appropriately. A thesis outline is a great help in making a great research analysis paper as it organizes the data as well.
Thesis Proposal Outline Template
Thesis Proposal Gantt Chart Outline Template
Free Master Thesis Outline Template
Free Traditional Senior Thesis Outline Template
Thesis Outline Templates
- The topic of your thesis and the target audience.
- Then comes the introduction of the thesis and the thesis sample statement . The introduction includes a brief introduction to your thesis, and it should conclude with your thesis statement . A thesis statement is generally the last sentence of the introduction part.
- The body is the most important part of your thesis. Your entire content of the thesis should be included in the body of your thesis.
- Finally, the conclusion is written at the end of your thesis.
Free Thesis Statement Outline Template
- Then comes the introduction of the thesis and the thesis personal statement . The introduction includes a brief introduction to your thesis, and it should conclude with your thesis sample statement . A thesis statement is generally the last sentence of the introduction part.
Free Outline for Thesis Proposal Template
How to Create a Thesis Outline Template
- Be aware of the kind of thesis study that you would like to create so you can decide on the outline format that you may use.
- Download any of the outline templates that we have provided in this post so you can be guided by formatting the layout and content of your thesis outline plan template.
- Enumerate all the items that are needed to be present in your research and plot them accordingly on the formal template that you will use.
What Should a Thesis Outline Look Like
- It must contain the introduction of the research study.
- A literature review is essential to ensure the need for the study to push through.
- The research questions that need to be answered should also be stated.
- A methodological design must be included in the discussion within a thesis outline.
- The assessment sheet to be followed by the research study once information has already been gathered must also be presented
- Properly incorporate the way that a conclusion and recommendation may be stated based on the relation of the hypothesis to the results of the study. You can also see more on Email Outline .
Free University Honors Thesis Outline Template
Free Sample Thesis Essay Outline Template
Free High School Academic Thesis Outline Template
Free Thesis Paper Outline with Informative Introduction
Free APA Thesis Outline Template
Free MLA Research Paper Thesis Outline Template
Free Student Thesis Outline Form Template
Free Baby Thesis Outline in PDF Format
Free Environmental Science Thesis Outline Template
Guidelines in Creating a Thesis Outline
- Assure that the outline template that you will use may it be in MS Word format , PDF format , or MS Excel format is appropriate to the thesis or research study that you will conduct.
- Be precise with the items that you will put in the thesis outline and make sure that they are relevant to the study that you want to immerse yourself into. You can also see more on Sign Outline .
- Properly present the topic area which will generally be discussed and researched.
- Identify the reasons why the research is important. You can specify how it can benefit a community and the other stakeholders of the research activity.
- Be specific with the group of people to whom the results of the thesis will be highly usable.
- Your thesis outline must present the scope and limitations of the research interest. You can also see more on Memo Outline .
More in Outline Templates
38+ FREE & Premium Outline - Download NOW
Beautifully Designed, Easily Editable Templates to Get your Work Done Faster & Smarter.
- U.S. Locations
- UMGC Europe
- Learn Online
- Find Answers
- Current Students
Online Guide to Writing and Research
The research process, explore more of umgc.
- Online Guide to Writing
Planning and Writing a Research Paper
It can be difficult to start from scratch when you begin a draft. An outline is very beneficial in the beginning stage of your writing. Here are a few ways an outline can help:
organize your ideas
present your material in a logical form
show the relationships among your ideas
construct an ordered overview of the topic
How to Create an Outline
Begin by brainstorming. Write down a few main ideas about the text or assignment and then narrow them down into two or three main points. From these main ideas, you will get a sense of what you are going to write about. This is called a thesis, the central statement or argument of an essay: the purpose of your paper. You will need supporting evidence to uphold your main ideas or argument. Once you have these components, you will be able to create an effective essay.
For a sample outline, visit this page: Online Guide Sample Outline Chapter Two
Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process. If you are struggling at all with your research paper, try writing an outline and see if that helps.
Here is another link to a great resource about outlines: Prewriting and Outlining
- As you manage your research project, keep the dynamic character of outlining in mind.
- Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process.
Mailing Address: 3501 University Blvd. East, Adelphi, MD 20783 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . © 2022 UMGC. All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of information located at external sites.
Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing
Chapter 1: College Writing
How Does College Writing Differ from Workplace Writing?
What Is College Writing?
Why So Much Emphasis on Writing?
Chapter 2: The Writing Process
Doing Exploratory Research
Getting from Notes to Your Draft
Prewriting - Techniques to Get Started - Mining Your Intuition
Prewriting: Targeting Your Audience
Prewriting: Techniques to Get Started
Prewriting: Understanding Your Assignment
Rewriting: Being Your Own Critic
Rewriting: Creating a Revision Strategy
Rewriting: Getting Feedback
Rewriting: The Final Draft
Techniques to Get Started - Outlining
Techniques to Get Started - Using Systematic Techniques
Thesis Statement and Controlling Idea
Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Freewriting
Writing: Getting from Notes to Your Draft - Summarizing Your Ideas
Writing: Outlining What You Will Write
Chapter 3: Thinking Strategies
A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone
A Word About Style, Voice, and Tone: Style Through Vocabulary and Diction
Critical Strategies and Writing
Critical Strategies and Writing: Analysis
Critical Strategies and Writing: Evaluation
Critical Strategies and Writing: Persuasion
Critical Strategies and Writing: Synthesis
Developing a Paper Using Strategies
Kinds of Assignments You Will Write
Patterns for Presenting Information
Patterns for Presenting Information: Critiques
Patterns for Presenting Information: Discussing Raw Data
Patterns for Presenting Information: General-to-Specific Pattern
Patterns for Presenting Information: Problem-Cause-Solution Pattern
Patterns for Presenting Information: Specific-to-General Pattern
Patterns for Presenting Information: Summaries and Abstracts
Supporting with Research and Examples
Writing Essay Examinations
Writing Essay Examinations: Make Your Answer Relevant and Complete
Writing Essay Examinations: Organize Thinking Before Writing
Writing Essay Examinations: Read and Understand the Question
Chapter 4: The Research Process
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Ask a Research Question
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Cite Sources
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Collect Evidence
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Decide Your Point of View, or Role, for Your Research
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Draw Conclusions
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Find a Topic and Get an Overview
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Manage Your Resources
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Outline
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Survey the Literature
Planning and Writing a Research Paper: Work Your Sources into Your Research Writing
Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Human Resources
Research Resources: What Are Research Resources?
Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found?
Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Electronic Resources
Research Resources: Where Are Research Resources Found? - Print Resources
Structuring the Research Paper: Formal Research Structure
Structuring the Research Paper: Informal Research Structure
The Nature of Research
The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources Be Evaluated?
The Research Assignment: When Is Research Needed?
The Research Assignment: Why Perform Research?
Chapter 5: Academic Integrity
Giving Credit to Sources
Giving Credit to Sources: Copyright Laws
Giving Credit to Sources: Documentation
Giving Credit to Sources: Style Guides
Practicing Academic Integrity
Practicing Academic Integrity: Keeping Accurate Records
Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material
Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Paraphrasing Your Source
Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Quoting Your Source
Practicing Academic Integrity: Managing Source Material - Summarizing Your Sources
Types of Documentation
Types of Documentation: Bibliographies and Source Lists
Types of Documentation: Citing World Wide Web Sources
Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations
Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - APA Style
Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - CSE/CBE Style
Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - Chicago Style
Types of Documentation: In-Text or Parenthetical Citations - MLA Style
Types of Documentation: Note Citations
Chapter 6: Using Library Resources
Finding Library Resources
Chapter 7: Assessing Your Writing
How Is Writing Graded?
How Is Writing Graded?: A General Assessment Tool
The Draft Stage
The Draft Stage: The First Draft
The Draft Stage: The Revision Process and the Final Draft
The Draft Stage: Using Feedback
The Research Stage
Using Assessment to Improve Your Writing
Chapter 8: Other Frequently Assigned Papers
Reviews and Reaction Papers: Article and Book Reviews
Reviews and Reaction Papers: Reaction Papers
Writing Arguments: Adapting the Argument Structure
Writing Arguments: Purposes of Argument
Writing Arguments: References to Consult for Writing Arguments
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Anticipate Active Opposition
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Determine Your Organization
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Develop Your Argument
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Introduce Your Argument
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - State Your Thesis or Proposition
Writing Arguments: Steps to Writing an Argument - Write Your Conclusion
Writing Arguments: Types of Argument
Appendix A: Books to Help Improve Your Writing
General Style Manuals
Researching on the Internet
Special Style Manuals
Appendix B: Collaborative Writing and Peer Reviewing
Collaborative Writing: Assignments to Accompany the Group Project
Collaborative Writing: Informal Progress Report
Collaborative Writing: Issues to Resolve
Collaborative Writing: Methodology
Collaborative Writing: Peer Evaluation
Collaborative Writing: Tasks of Collaborative Writing Group Members
Collaborative Writing: Writing Plan
Appendix C: Developing an Improvement Plan
Working with Your Instructor’s Comments and Grades
Appendix D: Writing Plan and Project Schedule
Devising a Writing Project Plan and Schedule
Reviewing Your Plan with Others
- Writing Center
- Walden University
- Academic Guides
- Writing a Paper
Writing a Paper: Outlining
- Why Set a Writing Goal
- How to Set a Writing Goal
- How to Avoid Ineffective Writing Goals
- Examples of Effective Writing Goals
- How to Achieve Your Writing Goals
- Critical Reading (ASC page)
- Critical Thinking (ASC page)
Example outline, introduction/context, thesis/purpose statement, major & minor points, outlining video, related resources.
- Webpage Feedback
- Organizing Your Thoughts
- Thesis Statements
- Writer's Block
- Understanding Arguments
- Developing Arguments
- Comparing & Contrasting
- Avoiding Logical Fallacies
- Addressing Assumptions
- Responding to Counterarguments
- Revising in General
- Revising Based on Feedback
- Revising for Focused Ideas
- Revising for Stronger Evidence
- Revising for Effective Organization
- Revising for Scholarly Voice
- Revising for Grammar
- Revising for Writing Goals
- Reflecting & Improving
Outlining your first draft by listing each paragraph's topic sentence can be an easy way to ensure that each of your paragraphs is serving a specific purpose in your paper. You may find opportunities to combine or eliminate potential paragraphs when outlining—first drafts often contain repetitive ideas or sections that stall, rather than advance, the paper's central argument .
Additionally, if you are having trouble revising a paper, making an outline of each paragraph and its topic sentence after you have written your paper can be an effective way of identifying a paper's strengths and weaknesses.
The following outline is for a 5-7 page paper discussing the link between educational attainment and health. Review the other sections of this page for more detailed information about each component of this outline!
A. Current Problem: Educational attainment rates are decreasing in the United States while healthcare costs are increasing. B. Population/Area of Focus: Unskilled or low-skilled adult workers C. Key Terms: healthy, well-educated Thesis Statement: Because of their income deficit (cite sources) and general susceptibility to depression (cite sources), students who drop out of high school before graduation maintain a higher risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.
A. Historical Employment Overview: Unskilled laborers in the past were frequently unionized and adequately compensated for their work (cite sources). B. Historical Healthcare Overview: Unskilled laborers in the past were often provided adequate healthcare and benefits (cite sources). C. Current Link between Education and Employment Type: Increasingly, uneducated workers work in unskilled or low-skilled jobs (cite sources). D. Gaps in the Research: Little information exists exploring the health implications of the current conditions in low-skilled jobs.
III. Major Point 1: Conditions of employment affect workers' physical health.
A. Minor Point 1: Unskilled work environments are correlated highly with worker injury (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Unskilled work environments rarely provide healthcare or adequate injury recovery time (cite sources).
IV. Major Point 2: Conditions of employment affect workers' mental health
A. Minor Point 1: Employment in a low-skilled position is highly correlated with dangerous levels of stress (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Stress is highly correlated with mental health issues (cite sources).
V. Major Point 3: Physical health and mental health correlate directly with one another.
A. Minor Point 1: Mental health problems and physical health problems are highly correlated (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Stress manifests itself in physical form (cite sources)
VI. Major Point 4: People with more financial worries have more stress and worse physical health.
A. Minor Point 1: Many high-school dropouts face financial problems (cite sources). B. Minor Point 2: Financial problems are often correlated with unhealthy lifestyle choices such unhealthy food choices, overconsumption/abuse of alcohol, chain smoking, abusive relationships, etc. (cite sources).
A. Restatement of Thesis: Students who drop out of high school are at a higher risk for both mental and physical health problems throughout their lives. B. Next Steps: Society needs educational advocates; educators need to be aware of this situation and strive for student retention in order to promote healthy lifestyles and warn students of the risks associated with dropping out of school.
Your introduction provides context to your readers to prepare them for your paper's argument or purpose. An introduction should begin with discussion of your specific topic (not a broad background overview) and provide just enough context (definitions of key terms, for example) to prepare your readers for your thesis or purpose statement.
Sample Introduction/Context: If the topic of your paper is the link between educational attainment and health, your introduction might do the following: (a) establish the population you are discussing, (b) define key terms such as healthy and well-educated , or (c) justify the discussion of this topic by pointing out a connection to a current problem that your paper will help address.
A thesis or purpose statement should come at the end of your introduction and state clearly and concisely what the purpose or central argument of your paper is. The introduction prepares your reader for this statement, and the rest of the paper follows in support of it.
Sample Thesis Statement: Because of their income deficit (Smith, 2010) and general susceptibility to depression (Jones, 2011), students who drop out of high school before graduation maintain a higher risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.
After the initial introduction, background on your topic often follows. This paragraph or section might include a literature review surveying the current state of knowledge on your topic or simply a historical overview of relevant information. The purpose of this section is to justify your own project or paper by pointing out a gap in the current research which your work will address.
Sample Background: A background section on a paper on education and health might include an overview of recent research in this area, such as research on depression or on decreasing high school graduation rates.
Major points are the building blocks of your paper. Major points build on each other, moving the paper forward and toward its conclusion. Each major point should be a clear claim that relates to the central argument of your paper.
Sample Major Point: Employment and physical health may be a good first major point for this sample paper. Here, a student might discuss how dropping out of high school often leads to fewer employment opportunities, and those employment opportunities that are available tend to be correlated with poor work environments and low pay.
Minor points are subtopics within your major points. Minor points develop the nuances of your major points but may not be significant enough to warrant extended attention on their own. These may come in the form of statistics, examples from your sources, or supporting ideas.
Sample Minor Point: A sample minor point of the previous major point (employment and physical health) might address worker injury or the frequent lack of health insurance benefits offered by low-paying employers.
The rest of the body of your paper will be made up of more major and minor points. Each major point should advance the paper's central argument, often building on the previous points, until you have provided enough evidence and analysis to justify your paper's conclusion.
More Major and Minor Points: In this paper, more major points might include mental health of high school dropouts, healthcare access for dropouts, and correlation between mental and physical health. Minor topics could include specific work environments, job satisfaction in various fields, and correlation between depression and chronic illness.
Your conclusion both restates your paper's major claim and ties that claim into a larger discussion. Rather than simply reiterating each major and minor point, quickly revisit your thesis statement and focus on ending the paper by tying your thesis into current research in your field, next steps for other researchers, your broader studies, or other future implications.
Sample Conclusion: For this paper, a conclusion might restate the central argument (the link between lack of education and health issues) and go on to connect that discussion to a larger discussion of the U.S. healthcare or education systems.
Note that this video was created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.
- Prewriting Demonstrations: Outlining (video transcript)
Didn't find what you need? Search our website or email us .
Read our website accessibility and accommodation statement .
- Previous Page: Brainstorming
- Next Page: Organizing Your Thoughts
- Student Wellness and Disability Services
- Academic Residencies
- Academic Skills
- Career Planning and Development
- Customer Care Team
- Field Experience
- Military Services
- Student Success Advising
- Writing Skills
Centers and Offices
- Center for Social Change
- Office of Degree Acceleration
- Office of Student Affairs
- Office of Research and Doctoral Services
- CAEX Courses and Workshops
- Doctoral Writing Assessment
- Form & Style Review
- Quick Answers
- Walden Bookstore
- Walden Catalog & Student Handbook
- Student Safety/Title IX
- Legal & Consumer Information
- Website Terms and Conditions
- State Authorization
- Net Price Calculator
- Contact Walden
Walden University is a member of Adtalem Global Education, Inc. www.adtalem.com Walden University is certified to operate by SCHEV © 2023 Walden University LLC. All rights reserved.
Butte College Library
- Books & More
- e-Book Collections
- e-Journal Titles
- Web Resources
- Other Libraries
- How do I...?
- Tipsheets & Guides
- Instruction Videos
- Research Papers
- Information Literacy
- Library Classes
- My Library Account
- Borrowing Books
- Renew Books
- Place a Hold
- Interlibrary Loan
- Library Instruction
- Test Proctoring
- Place Items on Reserve
- For Faculty
- Search Reserves
- For Students
- About the Library
- Dean's Page
- News & Events
- Areas of Service
- Study Rooms
- Chico Center
- Main Campus
- Library Values
- Code of Conduct
- Computer Use
- Collection Development
- Service Desks
- Staff Directory
- Ask Us
- Recommend a Purchase
- Comments & Suggestions
Research Paper Menu
- 1. Overview
- 2. Finding Topic Ideas
3. Creating a Thesis Statement & Outline
- 4. Choosing Appropriate Resources
- 5. Using Butte College Library Resources
- 6. Scholarly Journals
- 7. Online Search Techniques
- 8. Taking Notes and Documenting Sources
- 9. Evaluation of Resources
- 10. Citation and Plagiarism
I.What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is usually a sentence that states your argument to the reader. It usually appears in the first paragraph of an essay.
II. Why do I need to write a thesis statement for a paper?
Your thesis statement states what you will discuss in your essay. Not only does it define the scope and focus of your essay, it also tells your reader what to expect from the essay.
A thesis statement can be very helpful in constructing the outline of your essay.
Also, your instructor may require a thesis statement for your paper.
III. How do I create a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is not a statement of fact. It is an assertive statement that states your claims and that you can prove with evidence. It should be the product of research and your own critical thinking. There are different ways and different approaches to write a thesis statement. Here are some steps you can try to create a thesis statement:
1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay.
Example: youth gangs + prevention and intervention programs
2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence.
Example: Prevention and intervention programs can stop youth gang activities.
3. Revise the sentence by using specific terms.
Example: Early prevention programs in schools are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
4. Further revise the sentence to cover the scope of your essay and make a strong statement.
Example: Among various prevention and intervention efforts that have been made to deal with the rapid growth of youth gangs, early school-based prevention programs are the most effective way to prevent youth gang involvement.
IV. Can I revise the thesis statement in the writing process?
Sure. In fact, you should keep the thesis statement flexible and revise it as needed. In the process of researching and writing, you may find new information that falls outside the scope of your original plan and want to incorporate it into your paper. Or you probably understand your thoughts more and shift the focus of your paper. Then you will need to revise your thesis statement while you are writing the paper.
V. Why do I need to make an outline when I already have a thesis statement?
An outline is the "road map" of your essay in which you list the arguments and subtopics in a logical order. A good outline is an important element in writing a good paper. An outline helps to target your research areas, keep you within the scope without going off-track, and it can also help to keep your argument in good order when writing the essay.
VI. How do I make an outline?
You list all the major topics and subtopics with key points that support them. Put similar topics and points together and arrange them in a logical order.
Include an Introduction , a Body , and a Conclusion in your outline. You can make an outline in a list format or a chart format .
A preliminary outline for a research paper is an organized list of topics to be included in the research paper along with notes under each topic about the details to be written in the paper. Outlines can also be completed with charts and in...
Paper is used to make books, magazines and newspapers as well as paper money and photographic paper. It’s used to make writing paper, toys, boxes, wrapping paper, glassine, paper napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue and paper ...
Community Service, The Plight of the Amazon Rainforest and The History of the Foster Care System are all examples of capstone topics. A capstone project should be specific to a student’s personal education experience.
How to outline your thesis or dissertation · Abstract. “Elevator pitch” of your work (often written last). · Introduction. Introduce your area of
Introduction: Don't mess around with it! The only purpose is to introduce the research. You will outline the problem you intend to investigate, state the aim of
D. Outline for Empirical Master's Theses, Kurt Kent, Ph.D. How to Actually Complete A Thesis: Segmenting, Scheduling, and.
A thesis outline is a detailed description of the major parts of your thesis – from introduction, literature overview, thesis problem and methodology to the
Thesis Outline Templates · The topic of your thesis and the target audience. · Then comes the introduction of the thesis and the thesis personal statement. · The
Begin by brainstorming. Write down a few main ideas about the text or assignment and then narrow them down into two or three main points. From these main ideas
Writing a Paper: Outlining · Outlining Strategies · Example Outline · Introduction/Context · Thesis/Purpose Statement · Background · Major & Minor Points · Conclusion
Q: How do I develop an outline for a Masters thesis proposal? · Introduction: The introduction provides background information and sets the
The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper needs to be, it should still follow the format of
The key to writing an research paper outline is to focus on the essential parts of the research paper. This guide is u...
III. How do I create a thesis statement? · 1. Start out with the main topic and focus of your essay. · 2. Make a claim or argument in one sentence. · 3. Revise the