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Academic Resource Center: Drafting an Outline

Sample Essay Outline

Your preliminary thesis statement is the central argument of your essay, the claim your essay will support with evidence. It should appear towards or at the end of your introduction.

  1. Begin a new paragraph with a topic sentence that supports your thesis and expresses the main idea of that section.

Support A

- Evidence: quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Include in-text/parenthetical citation (MLA & APA) or footnote (Chicago) immediately after the quotation.

- Explain evidence (brief notes connecting evidence to topic sentence and thesis)

Support B

- Evidence, with citation

- Explain evidence

                Support C, D, etc. Add as many paragraphs as needed to support each section. 

2.  Topic sentence  

Support A

       - Evidence, with citation

       - Explain evidence

Support B

       - Evidence, with citation

                         - Explain evidence

      3.  Topic sentence  

Support A

       - Evidence, with citation

       - Explain evidence

Support B

       - Evidence, with citation

                         - Explain evidence

And so on….add as many sections of support as you’ll need to prove your thesis. End with a separate paragraph of conclusion.