In your Working Outline, you will present an argument-based thesis statement; arrange and identify claims in support of that thesis statement; identify evidence from your sources to support each claim; identify the source of each specific piece of evidence so you can construct correct citations later; identify at least one important opposing view or argument that you can successfully refute; and write introductory and concluding rationales that help you analyze the rhetorical situation and the impact you want to have on your audience.
Constructing a Working Outline is a key part of completing Step 1 of Writing Project 4: Argument (due in Session 13). Be sure to read the WP4 project description before you begin and consult Step 1 in CHAPTER13 for help discovering your topic.
As you compose your Working Outline, remember that it is provisional.When developing an outline, it can be easy to feel like you are bound to it, that you have to figure out everything about the draft you will write ahead of time and change little to nothing. But the outline is not intended to confine your work or creativity. Instead, the outline is meant for you to get your creative ideas started in an effective yet informal way. You don’t have to have all the arguments you’re going to make figured out yet, and all of this can, and almost certainly will, change as you continue to collect information and evidence, refine your thesis statement, and compose your first draft.
NOTE: Be sure to plan ample time to complete your Working Outline, especially since you may need to conduct additional research to sufficiently support the claims you develop to support your thesis statement.
As part of exploring your topic, do the following:
Create a working title: This title can change later, but right now it is another way for you to wrap your mind around your overall argument. Remember that your title should indicate the problem, issue, or controversy you are addressing, should imply your stance on that topic, and should try to evoke readers’ interest in your topic and your thesis. Your title should NOT be the name of the assignment (e.g. Argument, Argument Essay, Project Four, etc.) and should NOT merely reference your topic without also implying your view on that topic (e.g. “Gun Control Now!” or “Gun Control—The Wrong Solution” are both better than just “Gun Control”).
Identify a working thesis statement: The argument you make must be based on the problem, issue, or controversy you wrote about in Writing Project 3. To write a working thesis statement, you can begin by selecting one of the thesis statements you wrote for the Session 11 and Session 12 Discussion or by combining a couple of those thesis statements to shape a more complex, interesting, and persuasive thesis. You should then refine that working thesis statement based on new insights you’ve gained from class discussion so far and your reading of CHAPTERS 11 and 12. If you choose, you may also write a brand new working thesis statement, as long as it is based on the problem, issue, or controversy you wrote about for WP3. Step 5 in CHAPTER 12 provides additional guidance on writing a working thesis statement, whether you are refining an existing thesis statement or starting a new one. Also, be sure that your thesis statement is a complete sentence and NOT a question.
Write your introductory rationale: Your introductory rationale will help you frame your central argument and confirm the relevance and importance of your thesis. Your introductory rationale should be about a paragraph long. In it, you should establish why your argument is important to the controversy at large and why it is relevant to your specific audience.