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Argument Structure and Thesis Statements

Structure of an Argument

When you have completed your initial planning, you will need to organize claims and evidence to support your thesis. 

Create an Outline

Once you have developed your thesis statement, you should plan your argument by constructing an outline. An outline will help test your ideas and their connection your main argument, the thesis. 

Some assignments are short, so a  topic sentence outline is advised. In a topic sentence outline, you would place you thesis statement at the top of the page and then your supporting claims below. The supporting claims in effect are your paragraph topic sentences. Under your supporting claims (topic sentences), you would list your key evidence/supports. The advantage of this outline model is that it allows you to clearly see and write the connections between ideas (paragraphs) and between paragraphs and the main thesis. This is what is meant by testing your ideas and thesis.

The following resource from Berkely shows examples of sentence and topic outlines and also has videos. Click here.