How to Write an Annotated Outline

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    1

    Review your research and identify the main sections of your paper. Keeping the structure of an annotated outline in mind, read over your research for your paper. Use a highlighter or a pen to identify the main section headings of your paper. Look at how you can break these section headings down into at least two supporting paragraph headings.[9]

    • You should also note any research that may be useful as supporting evidence for your paragraph headings. Identifying this before you dive into the annotated outline will save you time, as you will not need to flip through your research as you put the outline together.

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    2

    Choose primary references for each section. If you are including citations of your references in your annotated outline, you will need to identify your references first. Pay attention to primary references that helped you to form the main ideas in your paper. Highlight one to two primary references for each section of your paper.

    • You will then need to use MLA style or APA style to create a citation for each reference. You will use these references in your annotated outline as supporting evidence for each section.
    • You can also include additional information for each reference. This can be one to two complete sentences that sum up the main ideas in the reference and how they relate to a main idea in your paper.

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    3

    Do a final draft of your thesis statement. Before you put your research into an annotated outline, you should read over your thesis statement and ensure it is as clear and concise as possible. Your thesis statement will act as a roadmap for your annotated outline, so ensure that summarizes the main points of your research clearly.[10]

    • For example, your thesis statement for a paper on how the climate systems on Mt.Hood have been affected by climate change, specifically global warming and the effects of these changes may be: “Due to global warming, the local economy and the biology and wildlife of Mt.Hood are under threat and face possible extinction in the next fifty years.”
    • From this thesis, you may then create section headings that will back up your thesis, or your paper’s claim. For example: The Geological Profile of Mt.Hood, The Climate Systems on Mt.Hood, The Recent Climate Changes on Mt.Hood via Global Warming, The Effect of Climate Change on the Local Economy, and The Effect of Climate Change on the Biology and Wildlife.

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    4

    Place your research, your references, and your thesis into an annotated outline. Once you have reviewed your research notes and finalized your thesis statement, you can

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    place this information into the structure of an annotated outline. Your final outline on the effects of global warming on Mt.Hood may look like:

    • INTRODUCTION
      • Attention grabber/ “hook”: “Oregon’s highest peak, Mt. Hood is known for its pristine snow and icy blue glaciers. But the most well known volcano in the state is at risk of becoming barren and dry in the next fifty years due to global warming.”
      • Preview of main points: “This paper will look at how global warming is negatively affecting the biology and wildlife on Mt.Hood, as well as the local economy that thrives on ski resorts and winter sports.”
      • Thesis statement: “Due to global warming, the local economy and the biology and wildlife of Mt.Hood are under threat and face possible extinction in the next fifty years.”
    • SECTION HEADING 1: The Geological Profile of Mt.Hood
      • Paragraph topic sentence: The Glaciers of Mt.Hood, “The disappearing glaciers on Mt.Hood are clear examples of the effect of global warming on Oregon’s highest mountain.”
        • Evidence/supporting point 1: Past receding of Palmer Glacier and downgrade to snow field, relevant quotations from reference.
        • Reference: Pacific Northwest Regional Assessment Group, 1999, Impacts of Variability and Change: Pacific Northwest, JISAO Climate Impacts Group / NOAA. The PNW Regional Assessment Group looks at the history of Palmer Glacier and how its mass has shrunk over the past twenty years. This reference also explores how global warming contributed to the shrinkage of Palmer Glacier.
        • Evidence/supporting point 2: Current receding of Eliot Glacier, relevant quotations from reference.
        • Reference: National Assessment Synthesis Team / US Global Change Research Program, 2000, Climate Change Impacts on the United States: Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, Cambridge University Press. This reference discusses how climate change is affecting the climate of the United States, including the affect on glaciers in the United States.
        • Content summary: “The drastic receding of Palmer Glacier and the continued receding of Eliot Glacier both show how the rises in the Earth’s temperature have caused substantial glacial melting and the loss of at least one key glacial body on the mountain.”
        • Closing sentence: “However, the glaciers of Mt.Hood are not the only threatened climate area on the mountain, as the biology and wildlife in the forests of Mt.Hood are also being drastically affected by rising temperatures.”
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
    • SECTION HEADING 2: The Climate Systems on Mt.Hood
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
    • SECTION HEADING 3: The Recent Climate Changes on Mt.Hood via Global Warming
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
    • SECTION HEADING 4: The Effect of Climate Change on the Local Economy
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
    • SECTION HEADING 5: The Effect of Climate Change on the Biology and Wildlife
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
      • Paragraph topic sentence
        • Evidence/supporting point 1
        • Evidence/supporting point 2
        • Content summary
        • Closing sentence
    • CONCLUSION
    • Rephrasing of thesis statement
    • Concluding details on topic
    • Final sentence/clincher

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