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Writing

Learn to manage research assignments from start to finish, avoid plagiarism, evaluate outside sources, and improve your writing.

Writing resources

Use this page to find print and online resources to help you with all aspects of writing, including grammar, word usage, and essay organization.

Outline template

Organizing your ideas is necessary for a cohesive, coherent essay. Find tips in the Developing an Outline section in the Purdue OWL.

Following is a basic outline format for a simple 5-paragraph argument paper. This is just a model and not intended to replace specific instructions in your classes.

Introduction

MT – main thesis or main idea

Body paragraph #1

ST #1 – support thesis, supporting argument, or topic sentence

CD #1 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #1

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #1
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #1

CD #2 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #1

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #2
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #2

Body paragraph #2

ST #2 – support thesis, supporting argument, or topic sentence

CD #1 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #2

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #1
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #1

CD #2 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #2

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #2
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #2

Body paragraph #3

ST #3 – support thesis, supporting argument, or topic sentence

CD #1 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #3

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #1
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #1

CD #2 – concrete detail, evidence, outside source for ST #3

CM #1 – commentary, analysis of CD #2
CM #2 – commentary, analysis of CD #2

Conclusion

RT – restated thesis or reworded thesis

Formatting papers

A paper's format includes all elements of its visual presentation. Instructors may include formatting requirements in the course syllabus or paper assignment. You may be required to use a certain style (e.g., MLA, Chicago, or APA). Whatever the case, pay attention to these directions. Formatting your paper correctly is part of the assignment.

Formatting papers in Word

Element Microsoft Word 2010/2013 location
Margins Page Layout ribbon
Font Home ribbon
Line-spacing Home ribbon
Choose 1.0 for single-spacing or 2.0 for double-spacing
Page numbers Insert ribbon
Make sure the font matches the rest of your paper
Works Cited or References page Insert ribbon, then Page Break to jump to next page
Title page Insert ribbon, then Page Break to jump to next page
Use only if style guide or instructor requires
Indented block quotation Home ribbon, then Paragraph menu
Use only if style guide or instructor requires

If instructed to format your paper in the MLA, Chicago, or APA style, see the Cite Sources page for resources related to those styles.

Books at JSCC

Books at JSCC

All websites, articles, images, videos, etc., linked on this site are provided for informational purposes only. External content is not maintained by James Sprunt Community College, nor does it represent the views of the College or its employees. Please notify the library staff if you have concerns about linked content. Students are expected to evaluate all web and print resources and to determine their appropriate academic uses. A hyperlink to a resource or article from these LibGuides does not constitute an endorsement of that resource or article by the library.

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