Preparing your combined statement of Thesis, Outline, and Sources

The second submission you will make will be a document with three components: thesis statement, outline, and preliminary source listing. Do not leave this document for last-minute work. It takes thought and preparation to do this document properly. It is also a very important document because: 1) it requires that you are now researching and reading; and 2) it enables me to provide you with meaningful feedback. Putting effort into researching, reading, and thinking now will pay tremendous dividends later when you must start drafting.

The document should combine (in one Word file, please) three components:

1. Preliminary thesis statement.

This should be 1-2 paragraphs and explain in clear and specific language your topic and your thesis. For guidance on topic & thesis, see the assigned materials in Fajans as well as materials on “Topic” versus “Thesis” on this website. I recognize that your thesis will likely change, but the earlier you think about the nature of your thesis, the better job you will do.

2. Preliminary outline.

This should be between 1-2 full pages. It should be in “outline” form (such as I, II, II with subparts) and not bullet form. It should list all the parts and subparts that you currently anticipate you will create in your seminar paper. Again, this is preliminary and the final paper will likely be structured very differently. But you still need to think about structure now because that will guide you in your research and reading. The preliminary outline should be sufficiently detailed for me to provide meaningful feedback. Thus, an outline that gives only I. Introduction; II. Background; III. Discussion; IV. Conclusion (or something only slightly more detailed) would not be appropriate. Also inappropriate would be an outline of terse one-to-two word headings lacking elaboration. Instead, each entry in the outline should have a concise explanation of the function served by each part and subpart. But the outline should not be so wordy and detailed that I cannot follow your structure. For additional guidance, see materials on outlining in Fajans.

3. Preliminary source listing.

Provide a preliminary listing of the primary and secondary sources you anticipate that you will be using. Group them by category (ex., “Cases,” “Statutes,” “Treaties,” Law Reviews,” etc.). Provide full citations for each source, including as appropriate case name, author(s), title, publication, year, etc. This allows me to know what sources you have in mind and whether you are headed in a helpful direction. Do not simply provide bare hyperlinks or short citations, because they tell me almost nothing about the sources.

Last updated Sept. 9, 2014