A Helpful Example of an Outline for an Essay
When writing essays, an outline is a very helpful tool to ensure that all of the information in your essay is in order and flows nicely. An outline is much like a blueprint and helps to organize your thoughts and research. Outlines can often be confusing and difficult to understand. Most people do not realize that outlines follow a general set of rules. Once you understand these rules, you will be able to write outlines easily and effectively.
Every outline should include the following:
- The title of the essay
- A thesis statement
- Major points (Use Roman Numerals I, II, III, IV, etc.)
- Support for major points (Use Capital Letters A,B,C etc.)
Roman Numeral I - Introduction - Include your thesis here and tell the reader what your paper is about.
The final Roman Numeral - Conclusion - You will summarize what your article is about.
Here is a sample outline:
Writing an outline is easy if you know the basic rules.
- Having some knowledge of how to write an outline will make writing it much easier
- Using Roman Numerals and Letters to organize your thoughts will help to keep things in order
Decide how you will order your generally points
- Most important to least important? Chronologically? Themed?
Identify your main categories
- It is common to break the main topic into smaller categories or sections
- Use one category for each paragraph in your essay
Use sub-points if necessary
- At times, you may need to explain your larger points with smaller details
- You will use numbered bullets in the third layer of your outline
- Lowercase letters are used in the fourth layer
- It is unlikely that you will need more than four layers in your outline
- If you think you need more layers, you may want to consider combining some of the information to make your outline easier to understand
Make sure that you are concise in your outline
- Provide your reader with facts
- Be straightforward
- This writing does not have to be dynamic. It only has to reflect your points clearly and provide a basis for your essay
Be sure to remove any information that is not needed or is irrelevant
- You can often get carried away with breaking your information down. Don’t make it too confusing or hard to understand.
- Narrow down your area of focus to stay on topic.
Helpful hints for writing an effective outline
- Indent each level by .5 - 1.0 inch
- Microsoft Word will automatically indent for you when you start your page with Roman Numeral I and space.
- Make sure you indent each level the same amount. If you are indenting by .5, make sure each level indents by .5 respectively.
You will find outlines to be very helpful for any type of paper including; essays, creative writing, research papers and even comparisons. Using outlines as a step in writing a dynamic paper should become a habit and a required step for you as you learn to write better pieces.