The research essay plan is intended to provide structure for the research essay due at the end of the
semester. The plan should include an outline of the topics that will be covered in the essay, and where
in the essay each topic will be located. Students will receive feedback on their essay plan in time to
help complete their final research essay.
What you need to include:
• Proposed title
• Thesis statement
• 6-8 topic sentences
• At least one reference per topic sentence
What to do:
1) Brainstorm some ideas. This involves writing down as many different ideas, theories and
examples that relate to your chosen offence as possible. You have already completed some
preliminary research into your topic as part of your annotated bibliography, so there should be
lots of ideas floating around your head already. Don’t rule anything out at this stage. You are not
submitting this stuff – the point here is to get as many different ideas down as possible.
2) Start arranging these ideas into a coherent narrative. This means selecting those ideas that best
illustrate how you think of and understand your topic. Pick those that seem the most relevant and
important in explaining your chosen offence.
3) Write a thesis statement. A thesis statement is a very short (1-2 sentences maximum) description
of what your essay is about. It will summarise in a nutshell what you are arguing in your essay. For
example: ‘This essay will argue that the best theory for explaining car theft is strain theory’.
4) Identify the main points that will comprise your argument. These should include what theories
you will be discussing and how they relate to your chosen offence. All of your main points should
be relevant to the thesis statement.
5) Use your main points to write a series of 6-8 topic sentences. Topic sentences are statements of
the main ideas that you intend to explain in your essay. They are the claims that support your
argument, and usually are used as the opening sentence in each paragraph. The purpose of the
remainder of the paragraph is to back up and elaborate upon the topic sentence.
Examples of topic sentences include: