How do I write a brief outline for a research essay based on sex education, with thesis statement and 3 topic sentences?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A research paper works best when you have an inquiry.  What would you like to know about sex education?  Maybe you would like to know more about its history.  Maybe you would like to know what impact it has on students.  Perhaps you want to know more about different kinds of sex education.  This is a very big subject, so you need to focus your inquiry on one part of it.

As you do your research on one aspect of sex education, you will begin to get an idea what main point you would like to make in your paper.  That main point will be the beginning of your thesis statement.   For example, imagine you are doing research on the effects of abstinence-only sex education as opposed to the effects of a complete sex education curriculum.  Are the outcomes better for one kind of sex education than the other?  Your thesis statement would reflect that question and answer.

In addition to making your main point, your thesis statement will need to show how you plan on supporting that point.  This means, using the example above, that you might have a thesis statement like this:

A complete sex education has better outcomes for teens than abstinence-only sex education because the former group has a lower incidence of pregnancy, a lower incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, and a lower divorce rate as this group grows into adulthood.

Do you see how I have presented three reasons to support my main idea?

Now, each of those reasons can be a topic sentence for the body of my paper.  I can write a sentence about the lower incidence of pregnancy, a sentence about the lower incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, and a sentence about the lower divorce rate.  Following each topic sentence, you will want to provide evidence to support each.

Finally, an outline should have a conclusion section.  The conclusion of your essay will be a restatement of your thesis statement and a review of the points you have made.  While your additional information does not mention this, it is a good idea to have a conclusion for the outline.

The thesis statement, the topic sentences that support the thesis, and the evidence you provide after each topic sentence will make a great beginning for your outline.

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