Outliningدوره: Academic Writing Essentials University Writing Crash Course / فصل: The Writing Process / درس 3
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We’re back today we’ll be discussing step two of the writing process which is outlining in section two
later on our lecture series will discuss in more detail how to organize your writing effectively
including how to write a strong thesis how to write coherent paragraphs and so on.
For now however I’d like to briefly introduce you to the practice of outlining and show you the beginning
stages of developing a thesis statement and your supporting paragraphs.
So why do we outline an outline is your plan or your blueprint to constructing a strong paper.
Imagine building a house for example without a blueprint.
I think that goes there.
No wait the kitchen is supposed to on the other side of the house.
It would never work.
My father in law for example is a general contractor and has built countless homes and commercial buildings
over the past 30 years.
But despite his confidence and experience he begins every project even a simple bedroom renovation by
drawing up a plan.
I do the same when I write.
So here are some reasons why we outline first it saves time in the long run.
It really does.
Students never believe me on this but it really does.
A quick outline saves so much time in the long run it forces you to organize your ideas early on into
a logical structure.
It keeps you centered on your original thesis.
It reminds you quickly what you wanted to say next or what you were going to say next.
If you have to ever stop while you’re writing.
It keeps your mind from going blank or getting sidetracked while you’re writing so altogether.
There really are only two parts of an effective outline.
The first is your thesis which is your argument or your intervention.
The second part is simply the structure of your argument.
So let’s talk about each of these quickly.
A thesis statement is what really sets called writing apart from all types of pre-college writing.
Writing a strong thesis statement is by far first year college writing students and what returning college
students have the most trouble with.
Believe me many third and fourth year students still have never figured it out before college.
Most schools and teachers are interested in what information you’re able to digest and regurgitate in
Most professors and schools are interested in what you can critically and creatively do with the information
given you how will you react.
What insights or knowledge can you add to any given subject.
How can you work to create new knowledge.
A thesis is your clear declaration in response to these questions.
It is not a summary of what you know.
It is a statement of what you are going to do with the knowledge or how you’re going to persuade me
to trust your claims.
So let’s let’s work back from our from our previous lecture and build a very basic thesis for our writing
If you remember we did a brief pre-writing assignment with an example of free-wriding and that idea about
returning to what we wrote down is the best way to begin to write a good thesis.
In other words whether you did free-writing pre wright or free-writing an idea map or any other form of brainstorming
returning back to what you wrote down during that exercise during your pre-writing exercise is the most
efficient and effective way to begin writing a good thesis.
So looking back again at the assignment and what we wrote down as our initial response the essignment in our
free writing exercise.
The key word in the assignment is a critical response.
So looking back at our free-writing exercise what was our response.
Our response was No it’s not a mandatory national curriculum for students is not a good idea.
Believe it or not that is the beginning stage of your thesis.
So beginning thesis would be.
No it’s not exclamation point.
We’ll learn later on in section 2.
And some of our lectures in section two about how to express this thesis more elegantly and more professionally
But for now this is our foundation our critical response to the given statement in the assignment is.
No it’s not.
And beginning with this thesis is the best way to start an effective outline.
The second is then to separate and organize your ideas into groups.
So again let’s return to our other pre-writing exercise this time to our idea map so remember what our
initial ideas were and how we began to group them already.
We can always build from our pre-writing exercises if we look back at our idea map.
We see that we already have grouped ideas under a few specific headings so let’s use those headings
as the sections.
The preliminary sections of our outline to support our thesis.
So if we go back we have our three headings of our three categories.
What is taught.
Types of students and arguments for.
We also already have a few ideas under each heading.
These could be the beginnings of our paragraphs.
Now we just have to choose which order we think best supports our response and then build begin to build
We always begin our outline with our thesis statement after all the outline is simply a map of how we
are going to best support our thesis.
Then we list our section headings and subheadings in the order we think best supporter argument for
response style paper.
Especially such a short one.
Remember the assignment was only two to three pages.
I think it is wise to begin with the counter arguments since our goal is to persuade our readers
to disagree with the arguments that are in favor of a national curriculum.
So the first section heading is arguments for then go ahead and list your subheadings directly from
So we have it ensures that all students reach a certain standard level provides every student with the
same opportunity and is easy to monitor.
Now do this for each of your headings and subheadings so types of students are subheadings what gets
taught with our subheadings.
And there you have it.
That is our basic outline.
We were revise it or learn to revise or outline a bit in the next lecture as we discuss the next step
in the writing process which is drafting.
But for now that’s how we move from pre-writing to the outlining stages in the process.
In the writing process pre-write is our immediate response.
Put out all of our ideas on paper in response.
The assignment an outline is how we begin to organize that response after we found what our initial
foundational thesis statement is.
Again we did not have to develop an elegant perfectly crafted thesis statement to begin outlining.
Rather we identify what our claim is and then we begin to organize it from there.
So we’ll see a next time as we talk about drafting and we continue to revise this outline into a solid.