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HIST 109: Islamic World

Assignment Overview

Use an outline to give your writing structure

A well developed outline lays the foundation for the writing process of your research paper. Once you've developed your outline with the important sections and subsections, you will be able to use the outline as the framework for the task of completing the writing process.

It's also a good way to get a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the research that is still in development. This is helpful when thinking of arguments that need to be developed in support of a historical question, or in defense of a criticism that exists within the literature on a historical question.

An important thing to remember is that you should not include too much detail in the outline, but enough to give a full sense of the arguments and issues that will be covered by the written research paper.

An effective outline includes:

  • the research question introduced in the prospectus
  • a working thesis
  • the main idea of each section, often including evidence (e.g. citations) from both primary and secondary sources 

Check out the following educational resources related to making an argument in your writing.

A short guide on how to evaluate and incorporate primary source material into your writing. 

Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students. By Patrick Rael, Bowdoin College