When students write, they may not realize that there is a correlation between the number of subtopics and the length of the paper that they will produce. A large number of subtopics is likely to yield a larger paper, where a small amount will create a smaller paper. I sometimes see students in panic mode, wondering how they will ever write a longer paper. When I point out that, when they increase subtopics and when multiple sources/experts support each subtopic, the paper will naturally get longer, many students begin to relax.
In addition to that, when I look over outlines, I often see that students will at times have only one subtopic or section (creating an “A” without a “B” or a “1” without a “2”). I need to tell the student that, if there is only one subtopic under the main topic, then that is what comprises the entirety of their main topic and that they can (a) use the keyword(s) from the subtopic and add it to the main topic, making it the overall topic OR (b) add at least one more subtopic.
Overall, a good outline will set the foundation for a good paper. The rubric below is designed to help the students consider outline elements to begin to create a good outline. As mentioned in my thesis statement rubric post (#1 in this series), this skill-specific outline would be introduced to students who are not yet completely literate in this skill. As the students become more literate, you can guide your students to learn more advanced skills (which will appear later within this series). Good luck helping your students develop their research skills!!! 🙂
image courtesy of:
Glasses on Book. Pixabay. Pixabay, 13 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.