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The Research Essay or Term Paper

Sample Essay Outlines

Because the research essay is so long (8-20 pages), it would be wise to compose and follow an outline to help guide you through the stages of the essay. Here are a few sample outlines.

The first outline is for a research report whose thesis is that "Some common food additives and preservatives play a definite role in childhood behaviour disorders":

  1. Introductory Summary Paragraph
  2. The role of diet in behaviour disorders
    1. Children's sensitivity to small doses of chemicals
    2. Abnormal behaviour as an allergic response to some foods
  3. Effects of specific additives and preservatives

    1. On physical aggression

    2. On classroom behaviour

    3. On scholastic performance

    4. On peer socialization

  4. Diet control in management of behaviour disorders

  5. Exclusion of flavouring and coloring substances

  6. Exclusion of specific food preservatives and salicylates

(John Lannon The Writing Process 376)


The second outline is for an argumentative essay opposing the B.C. government's wolf-kill program whereby scores of wolves in northern B.C. were deliberately killed.

  1. Introductory Summary Paragraph

  2. Opposing Viewpoint:

    1. The wolves decimate elk and moose herds

    2. The wolves kill farmers' livestock

  3. The government's program benefits only the big game hunters and lodges

  4. The program destroys the natural ecological balance

  5. The program endangers the existence of the wolf species

  6. Conclusion