Term Paper Outline

In last week’s module you discussed your final paper ideas. In that proposal selected an American modern artist(s) and your thesis.  This week, you will use the feedback from your classmates and me to narrow and refine your topic, as well as put together a short outline.  You will need to do some preliminary research on your thesis to determine your supporting topics.

To write a thesis, state your purpose for the paper.  Remember that this should be an idea, an opinion or even an exploratory perspective.  This is NOT an overview of a movement, or a biography of an artist’s life!  Accordingly, your purpose/thesis and supporting topics should not be given factual information.


WHAT DOES NOT WORK:  Frank Lloyd Wright was a very advanced architect with a unique style.

This is what I consider a ‘given’ – there aren’t really two sides to this.  We know he was a great architect and was doing things that others weren’t.

WHAT MIGHT WORK: Frank Lloyd Wright was a progressive architect whose respect for nature in his design has directly influence ‘green’ architecture today.

Ok, so we know he was progressive, but now you have a position…  how did he influence green architecture?  How did his designs challenge form over function?  Etc.?

This was a very simplistic example, but I wanted you to understand the difference.


You do not need to have a full introduction or conclusion. However, you need to clarify your thesis, which you will later include in your introduction. 

Fill in the blanks in the sample outline or create your own.  At minimum, you will need

  1. A thesis statement
  2. Three supporting topic statements
  3. At least three references

Your supporting topic statements should be based on your preliminary research. Each should directly relate to the thesis and how you plan to prove your idea.  Do not list things such as ‘artist’s early life’ or ‘how artist influenced others’, unless those ideas are directly related to the theme of your paper.  If you believe a painting or sculpture will support your topic, include a statement on how plan to analyze that work to show relevance.

Sample Outline

THESIS STATEMENT:______________________________

I.            INTRODUCTION (your formal thesis statement should be included in the intro of the final paper)

II.            BODY

  • Supporting Topic One ____________________________
  • Supporting Item Two ____________________________
  • Supporting Item Three ____________________________

III.            CONCLUSION

Research bibliography of a minimum of three (3) sources that could be used in your term paper (full APA citation required)




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