Your essay should have a clear, specific working thesis—a main complex claim or guiding question you explore and develop in the essay—to help focus your topic. In a few sentences, articulate your thesis or thesis question that you are starting with at the top of your outline. Remember that a “working” thesis means that this idea may change as you write your essay.
Draft a bird’s-eye-view of how you might develop the discussion of your initial claim or guiding question. Doing an outline should help you see how might organize your ideas and evidence. This is supposed to help you brainstorm and give you a way to possibly begin the first draft. You are not, however, tied to your outline once you start writing; this assignment will hopefully be useful in developing your writing, not shutting it down.
You may not be able to deal with every aspect of your paper in detail right now, but do think in terms of:
Providing a context to help your readers understand the issue:
Sharing and analyzing the information you’ve discovered:
Answering “so what?”: