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Sample Thesis Statements & Outlines


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Please see the two example outlines below and adjust to fit your paper. The purpose of the outline is to help you organize your argument by determining your major points and several sub points, and where you will include source material. The outline is also helpful for developing body paragraphs and writing topic sentences. Students who have thorough outlines typically earn higher grades on the assignments.


Sample #1

Paper Topic: The right to privacy does not include abortion


Major Points: Parental consent, sonogram/ultrasound, and waiting period are not a violation of personal privacy.


Thesis:  The abortion debate has many facets, including strong sentiments expressed by the pro-life and pro-choice sides, but the Supreme Court of the United States has overstepped its reach by disallowing states to pass legislation limiting females under 18 to get an abortion. By considering these types of law unconstitutional and against the right of privacy, the court has failed to consider that the right of privacy is only an implied right and that states have the ability to decide these issues under the 10th amendment.  Parental consent, sonograms, and waiting periods should be mandatory before an abortion. Notice that the major points are clearly listed in the thesis statement in the order they are argued in the paper.


Body Point 1: Parental Consent




Body Point 2: Sonogram




Body Point 3: Waiting Period




(Continue this format if you have additional points)



Sources: List at least 4 of the sources you intend to use in your paper. They should be cited in MLA or Chicago format. Include full web links if they are online sources.






Sample #2 (This outline was written by a student)

Paper Topic: Should unapproved drugs be made available as a last resort to patients with conditions for which conventional treatments are known to be ineffective?

Major Points: FDA Regulations on drugs, drugs allowed everywhere but America, freedom of choice, resistance to drugs, viruses, painkilling, side effects, cost.

Thesis: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stricter regulations on drugs used in America than most countries around the world, making it hard to receive powerful new treatments. A person should have the choice to allow unconventional treatment as a last resort when other treatments are ineffective, cost prohibitive, or have unwanted side effects.

Body Point 1: FDA Regulations

1. How fast does the FDA approve drugs

2. Banned ingredients of the FDA/ red flag ingredients

3. Why the FDA doesn’t like to give unapproved drugs to terminally ill patients

Body Point 2: Drugs Allowed Everywhere but America

1. Provide examples and their functions

2. Attempt to find what makes them “illegal” in the States and why

3. Why they are available in countries like Canada and others with socialized health care

Body Point 3: Freedom of Choice

1. John Locke says each man has unalienable rights, extending to a person’s body (protection of life)

2. Discuss why choice is ultimately up to the person being treated.

Body Point 4: Resistance to Drugs

1. Many illnesses have fallen resistant to vaccine and antibiotics like MRSA and Tuberculosis.

2. Resistance as a factor to receiving alternative treatment.

Body Point 5: Cost Prohibitive

1. What insurance covers and doesn’t cover 2. Effectiveness of less expensive medications

Body Point 6: Side effects

1. Side effects of traditional and non-traditional medications

2. Use of additional medications to manage side effects caused by primary treatment

Sources: (These are listed in correct MLA format)

Drlica, Karl, and David Perlin. Antibiotic Resistance: Understanding and Responding to an Emerging Crisis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT, 2011. Print.

Griffin, J. P., and John O’Grady. The Regulation of Medical Products. London: BMJ, 2003. Print.

Nakaya, Andrea C. Terminal Illness: Opposing Viewpoints. Detroit: Greenhaven, 2005. Print.

Szasz, Thomas. Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. New York: Praeger, 1992. Print.

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