Sample outline

  • Identify the thesis of your paper (the big idea) with the word “THESIS.”
  • Use Roman numerals
    • I, II, III for your introduction, conclusion, and major points in support of your idea (these do not have to be specific paragraphs; however, they do need to cover your points of proof and counterarguments)
    • A, B, C for specific examples to support the points
    • 1, 2, 3 for details included
    • a, b, c comes next
  • Use complete sentences for your outline.
  • Highlight/underline the following elements of the argument using different colors.
    • Reasons supporting his position
    • Opposing views and counter arguments
  • Create a key for your highlighting.

“Death’s Waiting List”

- Sally Satel


THESIS:  “If we really want to increase the supply of organs, we need to try incentives -- financial and otherwise”


  1. Introduction
    1. The author received a kidney previously.
    2. The need for organs far exceeds the supply.
      1. 70,000 people are waiting for kidneys, but only 16,000 received one last year.
      2. 92,000 are waiting for organs.
      3. Prior to 2010, many people waited five to eight years for an organ.
    3. The author considered a variety of resources for organs.
      1. She joined
      2. She considered going overseas and the black market.
    4. Our nation’s organ policy states that organs must be donated freely
      1. Only 30 to 40 percent of people designate themselves as donors.
      2. The decision often falls to families who are unlikely to agree.
    5. Thesis - “If we really want to increase the supply of organs, we need to try incentives -- financial and otherwise”
  2. Many transplant experts are proposing initiatives to allow donor to receive incentives.
    1. Some organizations consider tax breaks, health insurance or college scholarships.
  3. The Institute of Medicine offered weak recommendations.
    1. They decided donor eligibility should include patients who died of cardiac arrest.
      1. This will not help the overall supply.
    2. The Institute should have considered the European practice of assumed consent.
    3. They could have recommended pilot studies using incentives in a regulated market
    4. The Institute was reluctant to consider the body “for sale.”
      1. However, we have already created markets for fertility.
      2. A recent poll suggested a majority favor the idea of incentives.
  4. Some feel that offering compensation for donation would exploit the poor.
    1. The government could ensure donors would receive education and screenings.
    2. The government could provide tax credit to benefit the wealthy.
  5. Conclusion
    1. While paying for organs may cause discomfort, the process is necessary to save lives.