44
The Thesis
and the Outline
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Thesis: a statement that summarizes the central
idea of the paper
• Usually the last...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Thesis: serves 3 functions:
1. Establishes boundary around your subject that
discour...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Formulating the thesis
• Need to know a great deal about your subject before
formula...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Rules for wording the thesis
• The Thesis should:
1. Be clear, comprehensible and di...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• The Thesis should not:
1. Be worded in figurative language (indefinite/
hazy)
2. Be ...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• The Thesis should be a single concise, easily
understood sentence:
• Should function...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Placing the Thesis:
• It is preferential for the thesis to be the final
sentence in ...
The Thesis: Definition and Function
• Choosing a Title:
• Title should be clear, specific, and informative
• If possible, ...
The Outline
• Outline: an ordered list of the topics covered in
a paper
• Useful to the writer and the reader
• Writer is ...
The Outline
• Visual Conventions of the Outline:
• Formal outline conventions require the main idea be
designated by Roman...
The Outline:
Example of proper outline form
The Outline
• Visual Conventions of the Outline:
• Support contentions and propositions with
examples and details
The Outline
• Equal ranking in outline entries:
• All capital letter entries must be equivalent in
importance
Read example...
The Outline
• Parallelism in outline entries:
• Clarity and readability are improved if entries are
worded in similar gram...
The Outline
• Types of outlines:
• There are three main types of outline:
• Topic Outline
• Sentence Outline
• Paragraph O...
The Outline
• The Topic Outline: each entry as a phrase,
breaking down the subject into major
subheadings – useful for rel...
The Outline
• The Sentence Outline: uses a complete
sentence for each entry
• Well suited for complex subjects
Read exampl...
The Outline
• The Paragraph Outline: each entry as a
paragraph
• A condensed version of the paper
• Mainly used for long p...
The Outline
• Other outline forms use different methods
• Decimal Outline Notation:
• Gaining favor in business and scienc...
Choosing an Outline Form
• What kind of outline should you use?
• Beginner writer: use a detailed sentence outline (if
you...
Choosing an Outline Form
• Close correspondence between the outline and
the developed paragraph
1. Main entry of outline i...
Choosing an Outline Form
• Not all instructors require an outline (this class
does)
• Some writers do not use outlines, so...
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Writing The Research Paper A Handbook (7th ed) - Ch 4 the thesis and outline

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Writing The Research Paper Winker - Ch 4 the thesis and outline
Winkler McCuen-Metherell
Seventh Edition

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Writing The Research Paper A Handbook (7th ed) - Ch 4 the thesis and outline

  1. 1. 44 The Thesis and the Outline
  2. 2. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Thesis: a statement that summarizes the central idea of the paper • Usually the last sentence of the opening paragraph • Read Text pg. 37 (Bilingual Child)
  3. 3. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Thesis: serves 3 functions: 1. Establishes boundary around your subject that discourages wandering aimlessly 2. Charts an orderly course for the paper, making it easier to write Read Text pg. 37 (Titanic) 3. Gives the reader an idea of what to expect, making it easier to read
  4. 4. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Formulating the thesis • Need to know a great deal about your subject before formulating your thesis • Looking for a central idea which summarizes the information you gathered, with your own opinions on the subject • Idea must be expressed in one sentence • Read Text pg. 38 (Rasputin)
  5. 5. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Rules for wording the thesis • The Thesis should: 1. Be clear, comprehensible and direct 2. Predict major divisions in the structure 3. Commit you to an unmistakable course, argument, or point of view Read Poor/Better examples in Text, pg. 39-40
  6. 6. The Thesis: Definition and Function • The Thesis should not: 1. Be worded in figurative language (indefinite/ hazy) 2. Be worded vaguely (without direction) 3. Be worded as a question Read Poor/Better examples in Text, pg. 40
  7. 7. The Thesis: Definition and Function • The Thesis should be a single concise, easily understood sentence: • Should function as an accurate sketch of paper • A weak thesis leads to a weak paper; a strong thesis to a strong paper Read Poor/Better examples in Text, pg. 41
  8. 8. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Placing the Thesis: • It is preferential for the thesis to be the final sentence in the initial paragraph Read Text 3 examples, pg. 42
  9. 9. The Thesis: Definition and Function • Choosing a Title: • Title should be clear, specific, and informative • If possible, include key words from the paper subject Read Clear/Not Clear examples in Text, pg. 42-43
  10. 10. The Outline • Outline: an ordered list of the topics covered in a paper • Useful to the writer and the reader • Writer is less likely to stray from the point or commit a structural error • Reader benefits from the outline in the form of a detailed table of contents
  11. 11. The Outline • Visual Conventions of the Outline: • Formal outline conventions require the main idea be designated by Roman Numerals (I, II, III, IV) • Sub-ideas indicated by capital letters (A,B,C,D) • Subdivisions of sub-ideas designated by Arabic numbers (1,2,3,4) • Minor ideas designated by lowercase letters (a,b,c,d) See text example, pg. 43-44
  12. 12. The Outline: Example of proper outline form
  13. 13. The Outline • Visual Conventions of the Outline: • Support contentions and propositions with examples and details
  14. 14. The Outline • Equal ranking in outline entries: • All capital letter entries must be equivalent in importance Read example 4b-2 text, pg. 44 • Which entry is out of place?
  15. 15. The Outline • Parallelism in outline entries: • Clarity and readability are improved if entries are worded in similar grammatical form Read example/revision 4b-3 text, pg. 44-45 • Which entry is out of place?
  16. 16. The Outline • Types of outlines: • There are three main types of outline: • Topic Outline • Sentence Outline • Paragraph Outline
  17. 17. The Outline • The Topic Outline: each entry as a phrase, breaking down the subject into major subheadings – useful for relatively simple subjects. Read example text, pg. 45 (Rasputin)
  18. 18. The Outline • The Sentence Outline: uses a complete sentence for each entry • Well suited for complex subjects Read example text, pg. 46 (Rasputin)
  19. 19. The Outline • The Paragraph Outline: each entry as a paragraph • A condensed version of the paper • Mainly used for long papers • Not recommended for ordinary college papers Read example text, pg. 47 (Rasputin)
  20. 20. The Outline • Other outline forms use different methods • Decimal Outline Notation: • Gaining favor in business and science • Permits an unlimited number of subdivisions with another decimal Read example text, pg. 48 (Rasputin)
  21. 21. Choosing an Outline Form • What kind of outline should you use? • Beginner writer: use a detailed sentence outline (if you have a lot of detail), develop to at least third level • To write rough draft, fill in blanks, insert transitions, connections Read example outline/paragraph text, pg. 48 (Poirot)
  22. 22. Choosing an Outline Form • Close correspondence between the outline and the developed paragraph 1. Main entry of outline is exactly the same as the topic sentence 2. Sub-idea A is fleshed out and used in the paragraph to introduce the ideas that follow 3. Details in the outline are used nearly word-for- word in the paragraph • Paper becomes easy to write Read pg. 49
  23. 23. Choosing an Outline Form • Not all instructors require an outline (this class does) • Some writers do not use outlines, some do (it is not required) • Generally, do what suits you • Writing is unpredictable • Not always neat, predictable, and certain • Paper could turn out very different than the outline • Can be a good thing, just rewrite the outline • This can be a good thing – lots of false starts, dead ends, etc.
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