determine your central thesis


support it with:


Major points

Sub points


Writing Tips




            Introduce the reader to the paper itself, to each major section and to each sub-section


            Example: In April,1970 ground forces of the United States and its allies crossed the Mekong River from South Vietnam and entered territory which was part of the sovereign nation of Cambodia. While technically a violation of Cambodian neutrality, that invasion was justified by the military circumstances then in effect.




            Use narrative headings which summarize the section


            Example: The Law Governing Cross-Border Incursions Limits Their Legality to Circumstances Which Justify An Act of Force Under the Doctrine of Anticipatory Self-Defense




            Use the last sentence of each discrete part to bring the reader into the next section and connect the two


            Example: While the invasion was justified by the doctrine of necessity, there is also a strong argument it was legal because Cambodia had ceased to exist as an independent nation.



Example of an Outline


Central Thesis


US Invasion of Cambodia was Justified By Circumstances



Law Governing Cross-Border Incursions




Traditional Law


-The Caroline

-Customs House Cases




Post-Nuremburg Law


The Nuremburg Rules

The UN Charter Standards




The Facts Surrounding The US Decision To Invade Cambodia


-US History in Vietnam

-The NVA use of Cambodia for storage and sanctuary

-The Effects of those Uses on US Policy




Given The Circumstances Surrounding The Invasion It Was Justified Under International Law




The Decision Was Justified By The Doctrine Of Necessity




Cambodia Had Arguably Ceased To Exist As A Sovereign Nation




The Areas Of Cambodia Under NVA Control Had Ceased To Remain As A Part of Cambodia