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An Essay/Paper Using Supportive Evidence

  • An Essay or Speech begins with a thesis.   The purpose of the paper/speech may be to inform the audience, to prove or disprove a point, or to persuade the audience.

  • You then present evidence which explains or supports the thesis. 

  • The thesis is usually written in the form of a statement.  The most important requirement for a good thesis is that you can search for and find supportive evidence, usually in Library databases.

  • Evidence takes the form of information from articles or books which backup your point.  Since you are using evidence from other authors, you need to tell your audience about your sources by quoting and or citing them in a Works Cited list. 

Sample Outline

Speech Preparation Outline Format (used by Prof. Leitner HCS100)

This format may also be used for a paper or essay.


  1. Attention getting statement which introduces the importance of the topic you will be discussing.
  2. Statement of Orientation - Clearly state your thesis/topic.

TRANSITION - Give a brief overview of your purpose and of the main points you will be presenting. Later Transitions between points usually consist of a review of the previous point and a preview of the next point.

BODY - Depending on the length of your paper/speech you could have from three to five main points. Each Main Point could also have Sub Points.

  1. Main Point
    • Evidence or developmental material 
    • Transition
  2. Main Point
    • Evidence or developmental material
    • Transition
  3. Main Point
    • Evidence or developmental material
    • Transition


  1. Summary of Main Points - a short restatement of your thesis and your Main Points
  2. Closing Statement - This is often a quote from a source which agrees with or sums up your ideas

WORKS CITED - list of works cited as evidence.  WIFYS (ENG106) requires MLA citation format, whereas Human Communication (HCS100) requires APA citation format

The Process

  1. Begin by deciding on a potential thesis statement. 
  2. Find articles or books in Library databases which will help you to decide if there is enough evidence available to actually support your thesis.
  3. Finalize your thesis
  4. Find as many articles, books, etc. as you can which seem to support your topic.
  5. Read through evidence, taking notes.
  6. Arrange your notes in a logical format as Main Points and Sub Points supporting your thesis.
  7. Create a detailed outline of the Body (Main Points). 
  8. If you are working on an essay use your outline to write out the Body of your essay.
  9. Work on the Introduction and Conclusion after you have written/outlined the Body.
  10. Create a Works Cited page
  11. Throughout the process, it is a good idea to have a friend, professor, or tutor give you feedback about your work.

Sample Outline (from Prof. Leitner)

Helpful Databases