The Basic Question
Here is the basic question that you are trying to answer in this thread or whenever you analyze a writing assignment:
What must my paper contain in order to meet all of my professor's expectations?
Let's say that in another course you received this assignment:
Topic: "The Influence of Television Violence on Children."
What do you think is the overall effect of televised violence on children? Research this question to determine the amount of violence that the average child watches on American television, the concerns of parents and parent groups, what experts in psychology and medicine say about the effects, and what changes, if any, need to be made to safeguard our children.
You might want to limit your definition of a child to a certain age group. At the end of your paper, be sure to give your position on this issue and what actions you would take as a parent.
If you study it closely, you will see that the assignment above provides a clear indication of what your outline must contain:
- Title: Effects of Televised Violence on Children
- Introduction: Statistics on televised violence and age group for this paper
- Body section: Concerns of parents/parent groups
- Body section: Studies by experts
- Body section: Recommended changes
- Conclusion: My views as a parent
- Works Cited
See how a preliminary outline can ensure that you understand all assignment requirements before writing? For us at the EWC, it does not matter if your outline is formal or informal. All that matters is that you pre-plan what your paper should contain so that you provide everything the professor is expecting.
After reading your teacher's directions closely, write a starter outline and get feedback on it. When writing this outline, focus on the categories of information required in the paper and the examples provided.
The purpose of this outline is to demonstrate that you have an organized way to answer the assignment description with relevant, persuasive points.