After you have undergone the process of working through the expectations of the assignment and selecting a topic, it is time to brainstorm. Brainstorming generates the ideas that will eventually become your thesis statement and supporting points. Developing a clear thesis will help you know what to write and how to organize it. If you have writer’s block or do not know where to begin, brainstorming can be especially helpful.
After you have brainstormed, it is necessary to place your ideas into categories and to select an arrangement for these categories. As with every aspect of the writing process, the method of organizing and the type of outline vary depending on individual preferences as informed by the assignment and the discipline.
1. What is the subject of your paper?
2. What background information, definitions, or context does the reader require in order to follow your paper?
3. What is the thesis (perspective), or what is your research question/hypothesis?
4. What organizational strategy most effectively conveys your points to the reader? List each point.
a. Create a topic sentence for each point.
b. Determine the evidence required to convince the reader of each point.
5. With what ideas do you want to leave your reader? What ideas should be reinforced? What are the implications of these ideas?