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Some lessons from the Assembly line,

Activity: Reverse Outline (GRADED)

NOTE: This activity will be graded based on completion.

taking notes for a reverse outline

For this activity, you will use the reverse outlining* process and the TEA* formula to help you to revise your critical analysis essay draft. Follow the steps below:

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  1. Print out a copy of your essay draft. If you need to generate another copy of your draft, you can revisit 5-3. If you are unable to print a copy of your draft, you can open up your essay document in a word processing program like Microsoft Word and turn on the “Comments” feature that will allow you to insert comments in the margins of the paper.
  2. Write your thesis statement at the top of the page so that you can refer back to it easily.
  3. Click on the following tab to analyze the effectiveness of your thesis statement.


When reviewing your essay using TEA, the first step is to analyze your thesis statement*, or your main claim. You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:

  1. Is there a thesis statement? Does it appear at the end of the introductory paragraph?
  2. Does my thesis statement express one single central idea/opinion in response to the essay prompt or course-related topic?
  3. Have I arrived at a thesis statement only after a careful and well thought out consideration of the prompt or topic and evidence at my disposal?
  4. Does my thesis statement express my opinion?
  5. Has my thesis statement remained the same as a result of the evidence* that I selected? If not, then you need to revise your thesis statement right away.
  1. Based on your answers to the questions, make any necessary changes to your thesis statement. You should make these edits directly on the page. (Because this is a draft, you can scribble notes on it, cross things out, and mark up the page as much as you would like.)
  2. Read one paragraph at a time and write the main idea of each paragraph in the margins of your paper. Remember that the main idea of the introductory paragraph should be the thesis statement (the last sentence of that paragraph).
  3. Click on the following tab to analyze the effectiveness of your topic sentences, the evidence that supports the thesis statement, and your analysis of the evidence. You will need to do this for each body paragraph.

Topic Sentences

The next step is to analyze the topic sentences* of your body paragraphs. You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:

  1. Do I have a topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph?
  2. Do my topic sentences relate back to the thesis statement?



  1. Based on your answers to these questions, make any necessary edits to your draft. Again, you should make these changes directly on the page.
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