The Craftsman, pp. 36-45. The first step toward understanding an author’s premise(s) and supporting argument(s) is to list and define all the unfamiliar words or terms you might encounter while undertaking a close reading. Use a reputable source for your definitions such as the Oxford English Dictionary. After your list of definitions, construct a formal outline with complete, understandable sentences instead of using a few words or phrases. Research classic outline form and use the provided template as a guide. Be sure to identify the author’s premise(s), main argument(s) and supporting details.
- Analyze the text.
- List and define words or terms you find unfamiliar using the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Construct a formal outline of the text using complete, understandable sentences and not just selective words or phrases (please see template on following page).
- Identify the author’s premise, claim or thesis.
- Note all the main points the author makes.
- List all the supporting details, facts, or information provided.
- Include all the relevant sub-points as well.
- Continue this process of thoroughly analyzing and outlining the entire text
This is a basic template structure for a typical, formal outline. The hierarchical indentions clarify how the author’s arguments have been logically constructed and supported.
- Introductory Premise, Claim, or Thesis (a long reading may have more than one)
- Main Point 1 (a topic sentence)
- Supporting Detail (sentences supporting the first Main Point)
- Sub-point (additional point about the Supporting Detail)
- Sub-point (etc…continue with additional Sub-points about the Supporting Detail)
- Supporting Detail (etc…continue with additional Supporting Detail(s) and Sub-point(s))
- Main Point 2 (etc…continue with additional Main Point(s), Supporting Detail(s), and Sub-point(s))