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Essay Outline Writing: Ninja Writing

Miriam likes writing. To become an exceptional writer, a huge investment in learning is mandatory. She has studied various writing courses.

Essay Planning

Essay planning is focused on the main claims and key evidence of an essay. Planning saves a lot of time. The following are the key steps of essay planning

  • Do the research by identifying positions in the literature. View literature related to your essay. Write down the sources and the quotations.

How to handle to the topic

Verbs - These are the actions/instructions that are supposed to be followed when writing an essay. It is what is asked to be done. These actions are discussed below.

  • Discuss

Present evidence/reasons for different positions

  • Justify the view that….

Present evidence/reasons for one position

  • Critically evaluate the hypothesis that…..

Reach a position, justify your view

  • To what extend is it true that……….?

Think about the logical possible answers to your question

Generate ideas

  • Use questioning
  • Mind mapping – Write any point that comes to your mind about the topic for example if asked to write an essay about: Money is the source of happiness – Write everything that comes in your mind whether you agree with the statement of disagrees.
  • Lists

Research on Existing Views

Identify pre-existing views. Identify which authors were against that topic of the essay you are reaching and those that supported it.

  • Example: Discuss the role of Child-Directed Speech in early language acquisition

‘Against’ position: CDS is not necessary for children to learn a language successfully, children’s innate capacity for language is key.

Sources: Lust 2006, PYE 1986

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Evidence: in some cultures, people don’t speak to children in special ways, but people in these cultures still acquire languages successfully.

‘For’ position: CDS is necessary without it children will not learn a language successfully.

Sources: Curtiss 1988, Brown 2000, Matychuk 2004, Rowe 2008

Evidence: Data showing that with no exposure to language, children cannot learn languages, data showing children languages slower if CDS is reduced.

After reading the related literature, you will identify a gap. Build your essay around that gap. A gap is an idea that has not been covered in the past research. This gap differentiates one research from another and it will also differentiate your essay from other essays.

Steps to Formulating your Thesis Statement

  • Analyze the essay question/ task instructions
  • The topic (noun) and the instructions (verbs)
  • Underline key words and divide the topic into parts
  • Ask questions about the topic for example who, what, when, where, why

Thesis Statement

  • Formulate your thesis statement (your position) – Based on the literature you have studied, take a unique position by adapting the existing positions. Your position could possibly come from previously unexplored evidence or selectively combine elements from existing views.

Develop an Essay Outline.

  • An essay outline is the skeleton of your argument (without all of the details)

An essay outline contains:

  • Your thesis statement (draft), main claims and should be equal to or less than forty words.
  • The main pieces of supporting evidence.

Simplified essay outline:

  • Thesis statement
  • Supporting evidence (summary sentence)
  • Supporting evidence (summary sentence)
  • Supporting evidence (summary sentence)

Essay Outline: Example

How much homework should school children be given?

  • Thesis statement (main claims)

Generally, homework should be given regularly but in small amounts.

During exam season, the amount of homework should be increased to help with revision.

  • Supporting evidence (regularly)

Regular homework helps children remember what they have learned

Regular homework encourages children to study independently

  • Supporting evidence (quantity)

Giving small amounts of homework is good because children’s workload is high

  • Supporting evidence (an exception)

During exams, season homework helps with revision

Expanded Essay Outline: Example

I. Introduction

  • Background (should relate to the topic of the essay)
  • Thesis statement

II. Supporting evidence

  • Point
  • Point

III. Supporting evidence

  • Point
  • Point

IV. Supporting evidence

  • Point
  • Point

V. Conclusion

Benefits of Writing an Essay Outline

1. It is a planning tool

  • It helps you focus on the most important issues
  • The content (your answers to the question, and your evidence)

2. It helps organize ideas

3. It is used as a revision tool during the writing process

Citation Styles

Use the citation styles instructed in your essay. There are various academic citation styles such as The American Psychological Association (APA), The Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago style and Turabian. APA is mostly used in writing social sciences, Education and Psychology. MLA is mainly used in Humanities and Chicago/ Turabian style mainly used by Business, History and fine Arts. Follow the citation style instructed to follow by your supervisor.

© 2021 Miriam Syombua Mutisya


Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 25, 2021:

Another useful information. Thanks for sharing.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on August 25, 2021:

Another useful information. Thanks for sharing.

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