Essay Writing Guide

Writing An Essay Outline

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Learn How to Create a Perfect Essay Outline

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Published on: Sep 28, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

Essay Outline

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Writing essays can be a daunting task for many students, causing stress and anxiety.

The pressure to produce clear, well-structured, and coherent essays often leaves students overwhelmed, especially when they lack effective strategies.

The essay outline plays a critical role in shaping the entire content of the essay.

In this easy-to-follow guide, we'll break down essay outlining step by step so you can write with confidence and get better grades. 

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What is an Essay Outline? 

An essay outline is a short plan of your essay where you list down all the ideas you need to cover in your essay. 

Planning your ideas and arguments before you start essay writing will help you to ensure that you cover all the important points.

An essay outline typically includes:

  • Introduction: This is where you introduce your topic and provide some context. 
  • Body Paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on one idea or point related to your topic.
  • Conclusion: Here, you summarize everything you've talked about and leave your reader with some final thoughts.

Once you create the outline, you won't miss any important information. It also helps you in:

  • Organizing your thoughts and ideas.
  • Understanding how the information flows.
  • Not skipping any crucial information or references.
  • Finishing your work more quickly.

How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps?  

Writing an essay outline is like creating a roadmap for your essay. It helps you stay organized and ensures your essay flows smoothly. 

Here are four straightforward steps to get you started:

Step 1: Choose Your Topic

Before you begin outlining, you need a clear understanding of your essay's topic . 

Select a topic that interests you and aligns with your assignment's requirements. Once you have your topic, you're ready to move on.

Step 2: Identify the Main Points

Think about the key ideas or arguments you want to present in your essay. These will become the main points or sections of your outline. 

Jot them down in a logical order.

Step 3: Add Subpoints

Under each main point, add subpoints that support and expand upon your main ideas. These subpoints can be examples, evidence, or specific details related to your main points.

Step 4: Organize and Structure

Now, arrange your main points and subpoints in a logical order. Typically, essays follow a three-part structure: Introduction, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion. 

Your outline should reflect this structure, with each main point corresponding to a section of your essay.

Key Parts of An Essay Outline 

Crafting a well-structured essay begins with a solid outline. 

Understanding its key components is your first step toward essay-writing success. It will include the following elements:

Introduction

An essay introduction contains:

  • Hook: An engaging opening sentence or two that captures the reader's attention.
  • Thesis Statement : A clear and concise statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.

Body Paragraphs

A body paragraph of an essay consists of:

  • Topic Sentence : The main idea of the paragraph, usually the first sentence.
  • Supporting Details: Evidence, examples, facts, or quotations that support the topic sentence.
  • Analysis: Your interpretation and analysis of the supporting details, explaining how they relate to the thesis.
  • Transition Words and Sentences: Words and Sentences that connect one paragraph to the next and maintain the flow of the essay.

An essay conclusion summarizes the main points consisting of:

  • Restate Thesis: Restate the thesis statement, but in different words.
  • Summarize Main Points: Briefly summarize the key points from the body paragraphs.
  • Closing Statement: Provide a closing thought or reflection that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Essay Outline Format 

There's no one-size-fits-all approach, and that's why we'll explore various types of essay outlines to suit different essay formats and purposes.

General Essay Outline 

The general essay outline structure uses the linear style.

All the points are numbered in order of their importance, from major to minor roles. In order to rank, assign numbers to your ideas. 

Here’s a general essay template for all essays that you can refer to structure your main ideas. 

Alphanumeric Essay Outline 

For most papers, it is always advisable to choose an alphanumeric outline format. 

In an alphanumeric structure, major sections are shown in Roman numbers, then comes the capital letters, numbers, and lowercase letters. 

Decimal Essay Outline 

You can also use the decimal essay outline format. It is a less common way of outlining an essay or a paper.

Different Essay Outline Templates

Different templates can help you get a better idea of essay outlining. Here are some essay outline examples for you to get a general idea for writing your outlines. 

Informative Essay Outline

An  informative essay  writing is all about conveying information or educating readers about a particular topic.

Below, you can find what an outline for an informative essay should consist of.

Narrative Essay Outline

A  narrative essay  is a type of paper in which you tell a story from your own perspective or personal experience. It provides specific details to get the readers involved in your story and understand your viewpoint.

Below is the  narrative essay outline that you can refer to for better understanding.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An  argumentative essay  is quite similar to a comparative essay in terms of developing arguments to support the claim. In this type of essay writing, you should provide solid arguments on both sides of the issue.

To achieve that, follow an  argumentative essay outline  to compose a great argumentative paper and score high grades.

The following is the argumentative essay outline template for your help.

Persuasive Essay Outline

In a  persuasive essay , the author uses logic and solid arguments to convince the readers of a particular point of view.

To create an outline for a persuasive essay , consider the following template.

Analytical Essay Outline

An analytical essay is usually written to analyze a text. It concentrates on how something is done. Writing an  analytical essay  involves breaking down the concept into parts to understand its meaning and what message it conveys.

Below is what the  outline for an analytical essay  should look like.

Descriptive Essay Outline

A descriptive essay is a type of paper in which the writer describes an object, person, process, or event. The main goal of writing a  descriptive essay  is to create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Following is a perfect descriptive essay outline  that you can follow for a well-structured descriptive paper.

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

A compare and contrast essay highlights the way in which two things are different and similar to each other. 

Below, you can find the outline for compare and contrast essay .

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

A  rhetorical analysis essay  analyzes a piece of work in terms of rhetoric.

The rhetorical analysis essay outline will help you examine the work and explain how its different parts come together.

Expository Essay Outline

An expository essay presents a balanced analysis of a subject solely based on facts. 

The expository essay outline gives you a better idea of creating a well-written outline for your essay. 

Synthesis Essay Outline

A  synthesis essay involves taking a unique viewpoint of a central idea and backing it up with different sources. 

Need to submit a synthesis essay soon? Here is a  synthesis essay outline  template to specify all the main points first.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A  literary analysis essay?  is an important academic assignment that examines and evaluates a piece of literature work.

If you have no idea how to structure this type of essay, here is a  literary analysis essay outline  for your help.

Reflective Essay Outline

In a  reflective essay , you write about your own experience or thoughts regarding a specific topic. 

Get to know about this type of essay from the following  reflective essay outline .

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A cause and effect essay identifies the reasons for something and then discusses the results. 

The following  cause and effect essay outline  can help students understand and get into the writing process.

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Scholarship Essay Outline

A  scholarship essay  is an important part of the scholarship application process. This essay helps students to stand out and get the scholarship.

Here is an outline to help you understand how scholarship essays are different from other essay types.

Problem Solution Essay Outline

A  problem-solution essay  identifies a problem and provides one or more solutions to it. It usually consists of three parts: introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion.

Learn more about the structure of a problem-solution essay with this outline.

Evaluation Essay Outline

The purpose of writing an evaluation essay is to judge a particular topic according to certain criteria.

In order to write a perfect evaluation essay, refer to the following outline.

Definition Essay Outline

A  definition essay  explores a certain term and provides personal understanding of the term. This essay is more than a dictionary definition.

You can also check out the following definition essay outline for more help.

Essay Outline Examples

The essay outline can be a great way to organize your thoughts when writing an essay. The following examples are for the help that gives you an idea of creating a perfect outline.

Here are some more examples for your better understanding:

Essay Outline Sample

5-Paragraph Essay Outline

Essay Outline On Democracy

College Essay Outline Template

Research Essay Outline

Throughout this guide, we've explored the crucial role of essay outlines along with different formats and templates of outlines.

However, we understand that even with the best guidance, crafting an essay can be a daunting task. That's where MyPerfectWords.com comes in. 

Our professional essay writing service is here to offer expert assistance and deliver impeccable essays tailored to your needs.

So, why wait? Get 24/7 assistance now!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 types of outlines.

Besides the alphanumeric and decimal essay outlines, the following are the 3 types of outlines.

  • Working outline
  • Full-sentence outline
  • Speaking outline

All of these are used for different purposes so be careful that you choose the right type of outline.

What is a topic outline?

A topic outline is a useful tool for organizing your thoughts while developing an argument and structuring the paper.

It helps in outlining the main ideas and arguments and presenting them in a coherent way. It also assists in building relationships between the entire assignment.

What is a full sentence outline?

The full sentence outline is a more detailed and structured way to create an essay. They are the same as the alphanumeric outlines.

These outlines use complete sentences at each level of the structure. This type of format can be used for any formal writing assignment where you need to provide detail about your thoughts.

It helps to write well-supported arguments or develop concrete ideas with evidence and outside sources.

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Essay Writing Guide

Essay Outline

Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023

A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Jan 15, 2019

Essay Outline

To write an effective essay, you need to create a clear and well-organized essay outline. An essay outline will shape the essay’s entire content and determine how successful the essay will be.

In this blog post, we'll be going over the basics of essay outlines and provide a template for you to follow. We will also include a few examples so that you can get an idea about how these outlines look when they are put into practice.

Essay writing is not easy, but it becomes much easier with time, practice, and a detailed essay writing guide. Once you have developed your outline, everything else will come together more smoothly.

The key to success in any area is preparation - take the time now to develop a solid outline and then write your essays!

So, let’s get started!

Essay Outline

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What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is your essay plan and a roadmap to essay writing. It is the structure of an essay you are about to write. It includes all the main points you have to discuss in each section along with the thesis statement.

Like every house has a map before it is constructed, the same is the importance of an essay outline. You can write an essay without crafting an outline, but you may miss essential information, and it is more time-consuming.

Once the outline is created, there is no chance of missing any important information. Also, it will help you to:

  • Organize your thoughts and ideas.
  • Understand the information flow.
  • Never miss any crucial information or reference.
  • Finish your work faster.

These are the reasons if someone asks you why an essay outline is needed. Now there are some points that must be kept in mind before proceeding to craft an essay outline.

Essay Outliner

Easily Outline Your Essays In Seconds!

Prewriting Process of Essay Outline

Your teacher may ask you to submit your essay outline before your essay. Therefore, you must know the preliminary guidelines that are necessary before writing an essay outline.

Here are the guidelines:

  • You must go through your assignments’ guidelines carefully.
  • Understand the purpose of your assignment.
  • Know your audience.
  • Mark the important point while researching your topic data.
  • Select the structure of your essay outline; whether you are going to use a decimal point bullet or a simple one.

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How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

Creating an essay outline is a crucial step in crafting a well-structured and organized piece of writing. Follow these four simple steps to create an effective outline:

Step 1: Understand the Topic

To begin, thoroughly grasp the essence of your essay topic. 

Break it down into its key components and identify the main ideas you want to convey. This step ensures you have a clear direction and focus for your essay.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Gather Ideas

Let your creativity flow and brainstorm ideas related to your topic. 

Jot down key pieces of information, arguments, and supporting evidence that will strengthen your essay's overall message. Consider different perspectives and potential counterarguments to make your essay well-rounded.

Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it's time to give structure to your ideas. 

Arrange your main points in a logical order, starting with an attention-grabbing introduction, followed by body paragraphs that present your arguments. 

Finally, tie everything together with a compelling conclusion. Remember to use transitional phrases to create smooth transitions between sections.

Step 4: Add Depth with Subpoints

To add depth and clarity to your essay, incorporate subpoints under each main point. 

These subpoints provide more specific details, evidence, or examples that support your main ideas. They help to further strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

By following these four steps - you'll be well on your way to creating a clear and compelling essay outline.

Essay Outline Format

It is an easy way for you to write your thoughts in an organized manner. It may seem unnecessary and unimportant, but it is not.

It is one of the most crucial steps for essay writing as it shapes your entire essay and aids the writing process.

An essay outline consists of three main parts:

1. Introduction

The introduction body of your essay should be attention-grabbing. It should be written in such a manner that it attracts the reader’s interest. It should also provide background information about the topic for the readers.

You can use a dramatic tone to grab readers’ attention, but it should connect the audience to your thesis statement.

Here are some points without which your introduction paragraph is incomplete.

To attract the reader with the first few opening lines, we use a hook statement. It helps engage the reader and motivates them to read further. There are different types of hook sentences ranging from quotes, rhetorical questions to anecdotes and statistics, and much more.

Are you struggling to come up with an interesting hook? View these hook examples to get inspired!

A thesis statement is stated at the end of your introduction. It is the most important statement of your entire essay. It summarizes the purpose of the essay in one sentence.

The thesis statement tells the readers about the main theme of the essay, and it must be strong and clear. It holds the entire crux of your essay.

Need help creating a strong thesis statement? Check out this guide on thesis statements and learn to write a statement that perfectly captures your main argument!

2. Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of an essay are where all the details and evidence come into play. This is where you dive deep into the argument, providing explanations and supporting your ideas with solid evidence. 

If you're writing a persuasive essay, these paragraphs will be the powerhouse that convinces your readers. Similarly, in an argumentative essay, your body paragraphs will work their magic to sway your audience to your side.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and no more than one idea. A topic sentence is the crux of the contents of your paragraph. It is essential to keep your reader interested in the essay.

The topic sentence is followed by the supporting points and opinions, which are then justified with strong evidence.

3. Conclusion

When it comes to wrapping up your essay, never underestimate the power of a strong conclusion. Just like the introduction and body paragraphs, the conclusion plays a vital role in providing a sense of closure to your topic. 

To craft an impactful conclusion, it's crucial to summarize the key points discussed in the introduction and body paragraphs. You want to remind your readers of the important information you shared earlier. But keep it concise and to the point. Short, powerful sentences will leave a lasting impression.

Remember, your conclusion shouldn't drag on. Instead, restate your thesis statement and the supporting points you mentioned earlier. And here's a pro tip: go the extra mile and suggest a course of action. It leaves your readers with something to ponder or reflect on.

5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure

An outline is an essential part of the writing as it helps the writer stay focused. A typical 5 paragraph essay outline example is shown here. This includes:

  • State the topic
  • Thesis statement
  • Introduction
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion that ties to the thesis
  • Summary of the essay
  • Restate the thesis statement

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Essay Outline Template

The outline of the essay is the skeleton that you will fill out with the content. Both outline and relevant content are important for a good essay. The content you will add to flesh out the outline should be credible, relevant, and interesting.

The outline structure for the essay is not complex or difficult. No matter which type of essay you write, you either use an alphanumeric structure or a decimal structure for the outline.

Below is an outline sample that you can easily follow for your essay.

Essay Outline Sample

Essay Outline Examples

An essay outline template should follow when you start writing the essay. Every writer should learn how to write an outline for every type of essay and research paper.

Essay outline 4th grade

Essay outline 5th grade

Essay outline high school

Essay outline college

Given below are essay outline examples for different types of essay writing.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An  argumentative essay  is a type of essay that shows both sides of the topic that you are exploring. The argument that presents the basis of the essay should be created by providing evidence and supporting details.

Persuasive Essay Outline

A  persuasive essay  is similar to an argumentative essay. Your job is to provide facts and details to create the argument. In a persuasive essay, you convince your readers of your point of view.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A  compare and contrast essay  explains the similarities and differences between two things. While comparing, you should focus on the differences between two seemingly similar objects. While contrasting, you should focus on the similarities between two different objects.

Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is written to share a story. Normally, a narrative essay is written from a personal point of view in an essay. The basic purpose of the narrative essay is to describe something creatively.

Expository Essay Outline

An  expository essay  is a type of essay that explains, analyzes, and illustrates something for the readers. An expository essay should be unbiased and entirely based on facts. Be sure to use academic resources for your research and cite your sources.

Analytical Essay Outline

An  analytical essay  is written to analyze the topic from a critical point of view. An analytical essay breaks down the content into different parts and explains the topic bit by bit.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

A rhetorical essay is written to examine the writer or artist’s work and develop a great essay. It also includes the discussion.

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A  cause and effect essay  describes why something happens and examines the consequences of an occurrence or phenomenon. It is also a type of expository essay.

Informative Essay Outline

An  informative essay  is written to inform the audience about different objects, concepts, people, issues, etc.

The main purpose is to respond to the question with a detailed explanation and inform the target audience about the topic.

Synthesis Essay Outline

A  synthesis essay  requires the writer to describe a certain unique viewpoint about the issue or topic. Create a claim about the topic and use different sources and information to prove it.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A  literary analysis essay  is written to analyze and examine a novel, book, play, or any other piece of literature. The writer analyzes the different devices such as the ideas, characters, plot, theme, tone, etc., to deliver his message.

Definition Essay Outline

A  definition essay  requires students to pick a particular concept, term, or idea and define it in their own words and according to their understanding.

Descriptive Essay Outline

A  descriptive essay  is a type of essay written to describe a person, place, object, or event. The writer must describe the topic so that the reader can visualize it using their five senses.

Evaluation Essay Outline

Problem Solution Essay Outline

In a problem-solution essay, you are given a problem as a topic and you have to suggest multiple solutions on it.

Scholarship Essay Outline

A  scholarship essay  is required at the time of admission when you are applying for a scholarship. Scholarship essays must be written in a way that should stand alone to help you get a scholarship.

Reflective Essay Outline

A reflective essay  is written to express your own thoughts and point of view regarding a specific topic.

Getting started on your essay? Give this comprehensive essay writing guide a read to make sure you write an effective essay!

With this complete guide, now you understand how to create an outline for your essay successfully. However, if you still can’t write an effective essay, then the best option is to consult a professional academic writing service.

Essay writing is a dull and boring task for some people. So why not get some help instead of wasting your time and effort?  5StarEssays.com is here to help you. All your  do my essay for me  requests are managed by professional essay writers.

Place your order now, and our team of expert academic writers will help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of outlines.

Here are the three types of essay outline;

  • Working outline
  • Speaking outline
  • Full-sentence outline

All three types are different from each other and are used for different purposes.

What does a full-sentence outline look like?

A full sentence outline contains full sentences at each level of the essay’s outline. It is similar to an alphanumeric outline and it is a commonly used essay outline.

What is a traditional outline format?

A traditional essay outline begins with writing down all the important points in one place and listing them down and adding sub-topics to them. Besides, it will also include evidence and proof that you will use to back your arguments.

What is the benefit of using a traditional outline format and an informal outline format?

A traditional outline format helps the students in listing down all the important details in one palace while an informal outline will help you coming up with new ideas and highlighting important points

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

For most students, writing an essay is a grueling task. Despite how tricky it can be, though, most students can expect to write at least one essay per class per semester. As such, it's important that students learn how to become great essay writers. One of the simplest ways to become a great essay writer is to learn how to write a good outline. Fortunately for you, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of tips to help you learn how to write a perfect essay outline.

Why Do You Need an Outline?

For many, figuring out how to start and structure an essay is overwhelming. That's where your outline comes in handy. Learning how to create a good outline will extend far beyond your academic life. Outline writing is a skill that will carry over to your professional career, where it will be useful to help you formulate successful workplace communications.

If you still aren't convinced why having an outline is essential to writing a good essay, here are some additional reasons why:

Like we alluded to above, staring at a blank page can be overwhelming. When you don't know how to start or don't know what you're planning on talking about in your essay, it can be tricky to get started. Creating an outline will help you flesh out the details of what you want to write, which can help you overcome writer's block. Moreover, you can develop your thoughts and ideas in your outline, and start to organize it to fit your paper's main argument.

One of the biggest mistakes that novice writers make is not creating a sound argument or having enough evidence to back up your claims. When you're making your outline, you'll break down each facet of your argument. In the space below each point, you can highlight the evidence that you have collected. You can also identify areas in which your argument isn't as sound as it could be, giving you the chance to either omit that point completely or note that you need to do more research. Finally, another plus to outlining your argument before writing your whole essay is that you'll be able to see how your points fit together and if you need to do any shifting of your organization.

Argument clarification

Have you ever received a comment back on your essay that it doesn't quite make sense? Chances are, you probably could've benefited from creating an outline. When you write an outline it's easier for you to see how your points all fit together, giving you the opportunity to see if you need to shift around your argument points. Outlining your points and supporting details also gives you the opportunity to realize if you're getting unfocused while making your argument. For example, you might realize that the personal anecdote that you thought was a good idea to share actually makes your writing come across as clunky and unorganized.

Think about the concept of an outline. You're essentially creating a step-by-step plan for your end-product. You're putting in the work upfront creating a comprehensive guide for when it comes time to write your final product. As a result, you're actually saving yourself time later because your thoughts are already composed and organized, and you've collected the supporting details that you'll need later on in the process. Many writing experts state that as long as you do a good job creating a solid outline, you can save up to 50% more time drafting your entire paper.

So, How Do You Create the Perfect Outline?

Now that you've gained knowledge of why writing an outline is so crucial to the success of writing your actual paper, it's time to learn how to draft the perfect outline. There are many different ways to create your outline, and as you become more confident in your outline-creating skills, you can tweak the process to make it work for you. However, if you're just starting out, you should follow our simple steps.

1. Brainstorm your argument

When you first receive an essay topic from your tutors and instructors, you may find it so broad which is difficult to handle. Under that condition, you should refine and divide what you are assigned into different perspectives from a general topic. A mind map can be started at this time based on the center topic to have extensions. You do not need to worry about the boundary, just brainstorm to put every idea you think down. After your brainstorming process, you can judge all the ideas, select one which you prefer, and confirm your essay theme. After deleting what you do not need or hiding them, you can start your essay and go on the next step.

1. Brainstorm your argument

If you're looking for a simple, visual way to organize all of your ideas, mind mapping is the way to go. Mind mapping is a strategy designed to help you effectively brainstorm in a way that allows you to see all your thoughts on paper. It allows for creative thinking and flexibility that traditional brainstorming cannot provide. It also makes it possible to show how solutions or ideas are related, which is sometimes essential depending on the topic or problem you're trying to solve through your brainstorming session.

Another perk of mind mapping as a brainstorming activity is that it can be done independently or collaboratively. It can be a useful tool for brainstorming, but can also transfer to strategic planning or project planning after you've completed your brainstorming session. To get started with mind mapping, follow these steps:

  • 1. Start in the middle of a blank page, writing or drawing the idea you intend to develop. I would suggest that you use the page in landscape orientation.
  • 2. Develop the related subtopics around this central topic, connecting each of them to the center with a line.
  • 3. Repeat the same process for the subtopics, generating lower-level subtopics as you see fit, connecting each of those to the corresponding subtopic.

2. Create an essay structure

The common structure for an essay consists of an introduction, main body, conclusion, and references. You can set these as the primary branches and fulfill detailed structures in the second-level branches. At second-level branches, you should plan how many main ideas you would like to allocate to different paragraphs. For the third level branches, ideas related to a fixed topic should be expanded in a logical order and keywords should be extracted so as to maintain sufficient contents. The fourth-level branches contain specific theories, experimental methods, discussion notes, cited documents and related supporting information which might be convenient for your reference while you are writing.

3. Explore all the details

As mind mapping software has a drag-and-drop function, you can note down anything you need and ignore position. If you find several ideas point to one argument, boundary function helps you surround these ideas and callout can be inserted to summarize the argument.

4. Check the organization

After you list all your arguments, you should link them together at this time. Using arrowhead or lines to let what you note down in a logical way. Although you have various perspectives to support the essay, you still need to judge which is stronger to be applied and which might be deleted. Mind mapping in this process can help you boost your efficiency and make your essay structure clear and intuitive.

5. Follow your outline

If you finish the process of planning your essay structure and outlining it, you can start writing according to what you have programmed. The only thing you need to do is to extend your arguments and comb the syntactic structure. Please mind your grammar and avoiding mistakes, so you will complete the task of using mind maps to write an essay.

Always brainstorming and mind mapping will explore your thoughts. With various views, you can have rich content in writing an essay and form a good habit of planning before writing. Ultimately, mind mapping will not just help you write a well-organized essay, but influence your critical thinking ability.

5. Follow your outline

By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to learning how to effectively write the perfect essay outline. The next step is to work on your writing process and editing skills. Remember, it may seem overwhelming at the start, but if you put in the work to finesse your outlining skills, you'll definitely reap the rewards.

Related Articles

How To Write An Essay Outline: Tips And Examples

  • What Is An Outline?
  • Why Are Outlines Helpful?
  • Parts Of An Outline

To outline or not to outline: that is the age-old question. For a lot of people, outlines are a way to organize thoughts and gather information before they start writing, which can often save valuable time later on. But some writers prefer to craft essays more loosely, adding material and shaping their supporting paragraphs as they go.

Whether you’re new to outlines (or writing, period) or you’re just looking to hone your skills at crafting the perfect essay outline, there are some important things to know about the process. Follow along as we break down the why and the how of writing an effective outline and provide a step-by-step guide that will make writing your next essay a total cinch.

What is an outline?

An outline is “a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project.” In other words, it’s like a brief summary of the topics you plan to cover in a longer piece of writing.

In writing an outline, you create the skeleton of your essay, which provides a supportive structure on which you can arrange and organize each of your paragraphs. This helps you clarify the points you intend to make in your writing and also gives you an opportunity to tailor your research, which can make the writing process much easier later on.

Why are outlines helpful?

If you aren’t typically an outline writer, you might be wondering if you really need to put in the extra work to create one. Ultimately, everyone has a different writing style, and only you know what’s going to work for you, but here are four major reasons why many people find the outlining process helpful:

1. Outlines are brief and concise.

Remember: an outline is not the same thing as a rough draft. In an outline, each section contains only a sentence or two, and each topic is distilled to a single main idea.

2. Outlines help you write more efficiently.

You don’t have to worry about rambling or repeating the same statistic several times. You decide exactly where information belongs before you start writing.

3. Outlines are easy to edit.

You can move facts, details, and even entire sentences around easily without needing to rewrite whole paragraphs.

4. Outlines ensure supporting details connect to the thesis.

Once you see all of your work laid out, you might realize that certain paragraphs can be combined or that your conclusion doesn’t actually tie back to your thesis. Isn’t it nice to notice these potential errors before you’ve finished a draft?

Writer’s block? It’s part of the process. Here are some tips to overcome it and get your words flowing again.

The parts of a standard essay outline

Now that you understand the “why” behind writing an essay outline, let’s talk about how to do it. Here are the main parts to include in any essay outline:

Introduction

In an outline, your introduction consists of your thesis statement . This is a single sentence that states the subject, main idea, or main purpose of your essay.

When you write your essay, you will add a few sentences before and after your thesis statement to grab your reader’s interest and preview your essay’s main points. For the outline, you only need to narrow your point of view to a single, effective thesis that will inform the rest of the outline.

Body paragraphs

Body paragraphs are the parts of the essay in which you present information to back up your thesis. First, you’ll need to decide if you’re writing a three-paragraph essay or a five-paragraph essay . You may have anywhere from one to three body paragraphs, depending on what type you choose.

Each body paragraph in your outline should have:

  • A main idea that aligns with your thesis.
  • A topic sentence stating the main idea.
  • A bulleted list of relevant research, quotes, anecdotes, and/or statistics.

Much like the introduction, your outline’s conclusion is all about your thesis statement. Here, you should:

  • Restate your thesis
  • Summarize the main points that support your thesis.
  • Leave your reader with an impactful final thought or call to action.

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Example of a standard essay outline

Now that you know the parts of an essay outline, it might help to see them in action. Here’s an outline format you can use to plan your own essays, filled in with examples of a thesis statement, topic sentences for your body paragraphs, and the main parts of a strong conclusion.

  • Thesis statement: There’s a lot of debate about which food category hot dogs fit into, but it’s clear from the evidence that a hot dog is a type of sandwich.

Body paragraph #1

  • Topic sentence: To begin, hot dogs fit the dictionary definition of the word sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Sandwich is defined as “two or more slices of bread with a layer of meat, fish, cheese, and whatever other filling you’d like between them.”
  • Supporting detail: A hot dog is a grilled or steamed sausage, usually made of pork or beef, which qualifies as a layer of meat.
  • Supporting detail: Hot dog buns are split rolls, similar to the ones used for deli sandwiches.

Body paragraph #2

  • Topic sentence: Secondly, hot dogs meet the legal definition of sandwiches in many places.
  • Supporting detail: Mark Wheeler, a food safety specialist with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), says the organization defines a sandwich as “a meat or poultry filling between two slices of bread, a bun, or a biscuit.”
  • Supporting detail: In New York state, tax law lists “hot dogs and sausages on buns” as types of sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: Additionally, tax law in California clearly includes “hot dog and hamburger sandwiches” served from “sandwich stands or booths.”

Body paragraph #3

  • Topic sentence: Finally, most Americans agree that hot dogs are sandwiches.
  • Supporting detail: In a poll of 1,000 people conducted by RTA Outdoor Living, 56.8% of respondents agreed a hot dog is a sandwich.
  • Supporting detail: Many fast food chains that serve primarily burgers and sandwiches, like Five Guys burgers and Shake Shack, also sell hot dogs.
  • Supporting detail: Lexicographers at Dictionary.com have also declared that hot dogs officially meet the criteria to be included in the sandwich category. (Curious? Read the article here for this and other great food debates explained .)
  • Restatement of thesis: Hot dogs are a unique kind of food, but the evidence makes it clear that they are indeed a type of sandwich.

Now, get to planning that perfect essay! (But if you’re hungry for a snack first, we don’t blame you.)

Plan and write a five-paragraph essay that will earn your instructor's own five—high five, that is!

how to write the perfect essay outline

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how to write the perfect essay outline

How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

essay-outline

You can’t write an essay without outlining. Fine, you can do that if a low grade is okay for you to get. But those willing to craft a paper that’s worth A+ will need to create an essay outline and organize their research in one place before writing. So in this article we will look at outline examples and top tips to improve your essay.

This guide is here to help you:

  • understand what is a paper outline,
  • learn how to write an essay outline,
  • get outline examples and templates to use when crafting yours.

So, let’s a research essay outline journey begin!

Table of Contents:

  • What is an essay outline?
  • Key parts of an essay
  • Outline format
  • Persuasive essay outline example
  • Narrative essay outline example
  • Expository essay outline example
  • Research essay outline example
  • What to do before outlining
  • Choose an essay outline structure
  • Organize your outline
  • It’s a wrap!

What is an Essay Outline?

As you’ve already guessed it, an essay outline is a short plan of your research paper. Here you write down the main idea of your essay and structurize all arguments into paragraphs to make sure you won’t miss anything while writing.

Sure enough, you can write an essay without outlining it. But it will be challenging to do. Outlining is an essential part of the writing process, and all authors do it for their works to impress readers.

Here’s why you need an essay outline :

  • It will help you organize thoughts: when you research the data for your essay, you get tons of information that’s hard to remember.
  • You’ll understand the information flow and will be able to structurize it accordingly.
  • It will help you not to miss anything while writing your essay because you’ll have a ready manuscript of your paper.

That said, an outline will help you write academic works better and faster. And while our writers are always here to help to write my essay , it can’t hurt to learn how to write an outline for an essay by your own, right?

How to Write an Essay Outline

While college essay types are many, the common structure for most of them is five-paragraph. Each essay needs Introduction , Body (paragraphs with arguments), and Conclusion; so, a general format of your essay outline will include all these components.

Outlining your essay, keep write my term paper in mind so you wouldn’t miss any arguments, evidence, and examples while writing.

So, let’s do this!

Key Parts of an Essay

Put them all into your writing outline:

  • Introduction. Here you’ll mention the topic of your essay and its thesis. As you know, essays can’t live without a thesis; so, a thesis statement in your outline will help you support it in each paragraph of your essay body.
  • Body paragraphs. There will be a minimum three paragraphs in your essay’s body, so make sure to include each one in the outline. For each paragraph, write down a topic sentence with an argument relating to your thesis and mention all the support: data, facts, examples, and other evidence you’ll use to prove the topic sentence of this paragraph.
  • Conclusion. Wrap up your essay here. Restate your thesis and summarize the goal of your paper.

In general, your essay template will look like this:

Essay Outline: General

I. Introduction

a) Introduce a topic b) State a thesis

II. Body. Paragraph-1

a) Write a topic sentence (the argument for your thesis) b) Support this argument: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

III. Body. Paragraph-2

a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis) b) Support this argument: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

IV. Body. Paragraph-3

a) Write a topic sentence (another argument for your thesis, or a counterargument) b) Support this argument, or explain why the counterargument doesn’t work: data, facts, examples c) Explain how they relate to your thesis

V. Conclusion

a) Summarize all main points b) Restate your thesis c) Add a call to action: what you want readers to do after reading your essay

how to write the perfect essay outline

Outline Format

As a rule, students use the linear style when formatting their writing outline. It means they rank arguments in order of their importance – from major to minor ones.

Remember: your research essay outline doesn’t have to include the complete sentences. It’s only an outline, so feel free to format arguments and evidence the way it seems most comfortable and understandable for you. Just make sure it’s visually clear and allows you to see if some sections are repetitive or redundant. It will help to avoid duplications in your essay maker .

Another point to consider:

While you are familiar with a given essay topic, it doesn’t mean your readers are. So format your outline accordingly: assume that some people know nothing about it when preparing arguments and arranging them in a logical order.

Essay Outline Template

Templates can help you get a better idea of essay outlining. It’s a great way to organize thoughts and determine the order in which you’ll represent them to readers. So, make a list of the sections in your paper and fill in the corresponding example, depending on your essay type.

Persuasive Essay Outline Example

To create an outline for such an essay, consider the following example:

how to write the perfect essay outline

Taken from: TeacherVision.com

Narrative Essay Outline Example

For narrative essays, outlines like this one will work well:

how to write the perfect essay outline

Expository Essay Outline Example

What about this example for your essay outline?

how to write the perfect essay outline

Research Essay Outline Example

how to write the perfect essay outline

Taken from: Austincc.edu

How to Make an Outline: the Process

As a rule, the only detail bothering those asking how to make an outline for an essay is the process itself. Students understand that an essay outline needs to specify all the main points and arguments of their future paper, but they still find it challenging to create.

More than that, professors may ask you to submit an essay outline for their review. That’s why the skills of planning your papers will come in handy anyway. To learn the secrets of effective outline writing, you’ll need to know what to do before outlining, what essay outline structure to choose for your work, and how to organize your outline so it would be as informative as possible.

Here’s how to outline an essay:

What to Do Before Outlining

First and foremost, read your writing assignment carefully. Make sure you understand what essay type you need to write, how many arguments to use (except as noted), and how long your essay needs to be.

Answer the question , “What’s the purpose of your essay?” Do you want to inform readers, persuade, or just entertain them? Depending on the goal, you’ll know what thesis to consider, what writing techniques to use, and how to visualize research in your paper.

Identify the audience. Yes, it’s a teacher who reads and evaluates your work; but whom do you want to read your essay ? Do you write for classmates? Strangers? What do they know about your topic? Would they agree with your thesis? How might they react to your information?

Depending on that, you’ll understand what arguments might work for your essay. It will also help you decide on resources to use for research and evidence to choose for your arguments. Consider credible sources such as Google Scholar or Oxford Academic to find references for your essay; take notes of them to use in your outline.

State your thesis so you could see what topic sentences to outline for your essay. A thesis needs to be arguable and provide enough details to hook readers so they would get them emotionally involved in your writing.

Once a thesis is ready, start structuring your essay outline.

Choose an Essay Outline Structure

From the above templates and examples, you’ve got a general idea of the basic structure for your essay outline. We used a standard alphanumeric structure there, but you can also use a decimal one for your outline to show how your ideas are related. Just compare:

Alphanumeric format:

how to write the perfect essay outline

Decimal format:

how to write the perfect essay outline

An alphanumeric outline is the most common one, but you are welcome to use a decimal outline structure if it seems clearer and more comfortable for you. Also, feel free to use complete sentences or just brief phrases for each section of your essay outline.

However, if you need to submit it to a professor for a review, use sentences. It will help him understand the arguments and evidence you are going to use in your essay.

Organize Your Outline

Now it’s time to fill in each section of your essay outline. For those lazy to read, here goes a short video:

For all others, start with outlining your introduction . Write a sentence about your topic and introduce your thesis. You can also mention an essay hook here – a sentence you’ll use to make the audience interested in reading your work.

Outline your essay body : write down a topic sentence for each paragraph, provide supporting evidence you’ll use when writing, and mention how they’ll relate to the topic and your thesis. The more details you outline, the easier it will be to organize all the thoughts while writing.

Also, you can write a transition sentence for each paragraph so it would be faster to structure and band all arguments.

Finally, outline your essay conclusion . Restate your thesis and write a concluding statement, aka a sentence addressing the importance of your thesis and proposing solutions to the problem you addressed in the essay.

It’s a Wrap!

Essays are many, and you need to write all of them in school and college. Persuasive, expository, narrative – their basic structure is the same but with tiny differences identifying their specifications and your knowledge of academic writing. Understanding those differences and outlining your writings accordingly is your chance to craft perfect works that get high grades.

An essay outline is what you need to organize the information and not miss anything while writing. When you know how to write an essay outline, you create papers better and faster. You keep in mind all essay components. You develop critical thinking. And you become a better writer.

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How to Write an Outline

Last Updated: February 17, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Danielle Blinka, MA, MPA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 3,944,475 times.

An outline is a great way to organize ideas and information for a speech, an essay, a novel, or a study guide based on your class notes. At first, writing an outline might seem complicated, but learning how to do it will give you an essential organizational skill! Start by planning your outline and choosing a structure for it. Then, you can organize your ideas into an easy to understand outline.

Quick Outline Slideshow

Sample outlines.

how to write the perfect essay outline

Planning Your Outline

Step 1 Decide if you will write your outline by hand or type it.

  • Some people process their ideas better when they write them down. Additionally, you can easily draw diagrams or examples, which might help you conceptualize the subject. However, it might take longer to write out your outline, and it won't be as neat.
  • Typing your outline might be easier if your notes are already typed on the computer, as you can just copy and paste them into your outline. Copying and pasting also allows you to easily rearrange your sections, if necessary. Also, it will be easier to copy and paste information from your outline into your paper if you type your outline. On the other hand, it's harder to jot down notes in the margins or draw out organizational diagrams.

Step 2 Narrow down your topic.

  • If you’re working on a creative project, such as a novel, identify your concept, genre, or premise. Then, allow the outlining process to help you structure your work.
  • It’s okay if your topic is somewhat broad when you first start, but you should have a direction. For example, your history paper topic could be French life during the German occupation of France in World War II. As you write your outline, you might narrow this down to the resistance fighters called maquisards .

Step 3 Identify the purpose of your outline, such as inform, entertain or reflect.

  • For a school assignment, review the assignment sheet or talk to your instructor. If the outline is for work, use an existing outline as a model for yours.
  • If you are the only person who will see the outline, you can choose formatting that works for you. For example, you might write your outline in shorthand.

Step 5 Assemble your notes, research or supporting materials, if applicable.

  • Paraphrased ideas
  • Historical facts

Step 6 Brainstorm to identify your argument or main ideas.

  • Freewrite as ideas come to you.
  • Create a mind map .
  • Write your thoughts on index cards.

Step 7 Develop a thesis...

  • For example, you may be writing a paper about policy change. Your thesis might read, “Policy makers should take an incremental approach when making policy changes to reduce conflict, allow adjustments, and foster compromise.” Each of the 3 reasons listed in your thesis will become its own main point in your outline.

Structuring Your Outline

Step 1 Write an alphanumeric outline for the easy approach.

  • Roman Numerals - I, II, III, IV, V
  • Capitalized Letters - A, B, C
  • Arabic Numerals - 1, 2, 3
  • Lowercase Letters - a, b, c
  • Arabic Numerals in Parentheses - (1), (2), (3)

Step 2 Make a decimal outline to highlight the relationship between ideas.

  • 1.1.1 - Each side presents a case before the vote
  • 1.1.2 - Citizens voice their opinion
  • 1.2 - Neither side gets everything they want

Step 3 Decide if you want to write full sentences or short phrases.

  • You might use short phrases to quickly organize your ideas, to outline a speech, or to create an outline that’s just for you.
  • You might use full sentences to make it easier to write a final paper, to make a good study guide, or to fulfill the requirements of an assignment.

Organizing Your Ideas

Step 1 Group your ideas together.

  • If you jotted down your ideas or made a mind map, use different colored highlighters to identify ideas that belong in the same group.
  • Sort your index cards, if you used them to brainstorm. Put cards with related ideas together. For example, you can put them in stacks, or you can line your cards out in rows to make them easier to read.

Step 2 Put each group in order from broad ideas to specific details.

  • For example, your main point might be that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein champions emotion over reason. Your subpoints might be that Victor Frankenstein is restored by nature and that his scientific efforts create a monster. As supporting details, you might include quotes from the book.
  • If you're writing a story or presenting a historical argument, a chronological order makes sense. For an essay or speech, pick the subtopic with the most supporting materials, and lead with this argument. From there, order your major subtopics so each one naturally flows into the next.
  • Your broad ideas should connect back to your thesis or controlling idea. If they don’t, rewrite your thesis to reflect the main ideas you’re putting into your outline.

Step 3 Outline your introduction as the first main point for a speech or essay.

  • Hook to grab the audience
  • 1-2 general statements about your topic

Step 4 Create your body headings, if you haven’t already.

  • Phrase outline: II. Frankenstein champions emotion over reason
  • Full sentence outline: II. In Frankenstein , Mary Shelley champions the use of emotion over reason.

Step 5 Write at least 2 subpoints for each main idea.

  • Depending on the purpose of your outline, you might have more subpoints. For example, a novel may have many subpoints. Similarly, a study guide will likely have several subpoints, as well.

Step 6 Add at least 2 supporting details for each subpoint.

  • In an essay, this is often where you “prove” your argument.
  • For a creative work, you might include essential details you must include in that scene, such as an internal conflict in your main character.
  • Similar to subpoints, you may have more supporting details, depending on your purpose. A novel or study guide will likely have more supporting details.

Step 7 Include more layers of your outline, if necessary.

  • Roman Numeral
  • Capital Letter
  • Arabic Numeral
  • Lowercase Letter
  • Arabic Numeral in Parentheses

Step 8 Outline your conclusion, if you’re writing an essay or speech.

  • Restate your thesis.
  • 1-2 summarizing sentences.
  • Write a concluding statement.

Finalizing Your Outline

Step 1 Read over your outline to make sure you’ve achieved your purpose.

  • This also gives you a chance to look for missing parts or ideas that aren’t fully fleshed. If you see areas that leave questions unanswered, it’s best to fill in those gaps in information.

Step 2 Revise your outline if ideas are missing or not fleshed out.

  • If you are making an outline for yourself, you might not worry about this.

Step 3 Edit your outline if you’re turning it in for an assignment.

  • It’s a good idea to have someone else check it for errors, as it’s often hard to recognize errors in your own work.
  • While you edit your outline, refer back to your assignment sheet or rubric to make sure you've completely fulfilled the assignment. If not, go back and correct the areas that are lacking.

Step 4 Add layers if necessary.

  • You can use more layers if you want to include more information.
  • You might also include additional layers for a long creative work or a detailed study guide.

Expert Q&A

Emily Listmann, MA

  • Be concise and straightforward in your outline. This doesn't have to be perfectly polished writing; it just has to get your point across. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Don't be afraid to eliminate irrelevant information as you conduct more research about your topic and narrow your focus. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • You can use outlines as a memorization tool . Choose concise words to trigger a concept. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to write the perfect essay outline

  • Generally, you should avoid only having one point or sub-point on any outline level. If there is an A, either come up with a B or fold A's idea into the next level up. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2
  • Your outline should not be your essay in a different form. Only write down the major assertions, not every single detail. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

You Might Also Like

Organize an Essay

  • ↑ https://www.iup.edu/writingcenter/writing-resources/organization-and-structure/creating-an-outline.html
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~cinichol/271/OutlinesHowTo.htm
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/02/
  • ↑ https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/7-steps-to-creating-a-flexible-outline-for-any-story
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/03/
  • ↑ https://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/outline.html

About This Article

Emily Listmann, MA

The easiest way to write an outline is to gather all of your supporting materials, like quotes, statistics, or ideas, before getting started. Next, go over your materials and take notes, grouping similar ideas together. Then, organize your ideas into subtopics and use your materials to provide at least two supporting points per subtopic. Be sure to keep your outline concise and clear, since you’ll have to refer to it later! For more help on how to plan and organize your outline, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example

Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process , providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized.

A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  • Organize your thoughts
  • Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related
  • Ensure nothing is forgotten

A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.

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Table of contents

Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.

  • Definition of measles
  • Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
  • Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
  • Symptoms and timeframes of disease
  • Risk of fatality, including statistics
  • How measles is spread
  • Immunization procedures in different regions
  • Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
  • Immunization figures in affected regions
  • High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
  • Illnesses that can result from measles virus
  • Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
  • Summary of arguments of different groups
  • Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
  • Which side of the argument appears to be correct?

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The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:

  • Missing commas and periods
  • Incorrect usage of “et al.”
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  • Missing reference entries

how to write the perfect essay outline

Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:

  • Decide on the subject of the paper
  • Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  • Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  • Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
  • Create headings and subheadings that are effective
  • Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format

There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.

  • Alphanumeric
  • Full-sentence

An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.

  • Sub-point of sub-point 1

Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.

  • Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A

A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.

  • 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
  • 1.2 Second point

To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.

There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.

Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form

Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.

Example of parallelism:

  • Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization

Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight

Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.

Example of coordination:

  • Include immunization figures in affected regions
  • Illnesses that can result from the measles virus

Subordination: Work from general to specific

Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.

Example of subordination:

Division: break information into sub-points.

Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.

Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .

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YOUR PERFECT GUIDE FOR HOW TO WRITE AN OUTLINE

Table of contents, writing an essay outline to improve your paper, what is an essay outline, helpful outline tips, an outline example, still need help writing an essay outline.

It’s pretty common for essay, assignment rubrics to contain an outline requirement. There are just two problems. The first is that many students rush through this as they hurry to get started on writing the essay itself. Then, there are students who simply don’t understand how to use the outline as a tool to improve their final results. That is why we are offering this guide on how to write an essay outline.

We are able to present this guide thanks to the help of our top writing staff. In the paragraphs below, we’ll discuss the important elements of an essay, why it’s such an important part of the writing process, and share some great writing tips. We’ll even share a brief essay outline example.

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ― Terry Pratchett

The essay outline is a brief, written work that summarizes the sequence, structure, and intended content of your upcoming essay. It contains the topic, thesis, main arguments, summaries of supporting points, and the points to be summarized in the conclusion. The typical essay outline format looks like this:

Introduction of Subject Matter

  • Compelling Opening Statement
  • Thesis Statement

Main Idea 1

  • Support For Main Idea 1

Main Idea 2

  • Support For Main Idea 2

Main Idea 3

  • Support For Main Idea 3
  • Summary Statement 1
  • Summary Statement 2
  • Summary Statement 3

The above is a very simple version that you might see for a typical, 5 paragraph essay .

How to write an outline inforgaphic

Of course, the way you create your outline will depend on your assignment , and what works best for you. If your essay is a part of the finished work you will turn in to your instructor, chances are you need to use a very traditional format when writing your essay. 

On the other hand, some students use writing an essay outline as a helpful tool. They do it to help them keep their thoughts organized and to better present their ideas. In this case, use what works for you. If a linear outline doesn’t work for you, consider mind mapping. It’s another way of organizing your thoughts and ideas. Some students even choose to use note cards to get their points down and keep them organized. For the rest of this essay outline guide, we’re going to assume that you’ve been tasked with writing a standard outline. We’ll also assume that this outline must be delivered to your instructor for grading.

Essentially, an outline helps prevent a writer from getting stuck when performing the actual writing of the essay.

Sample Essay Outline

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Here are some very helpful tips for producing an outline that helps you write a better paper.

  • Take great notes. These are the foundation of any good outline.
  • Take time to formulate a thesis you can support.
  • Use your outline to test your thesis. If your outline cannot solidly support your thesis, you need a new thesis.
  • Don’t be afraid to resequence your main ideas. This is the perfect time to do that.
  • Write down more main ideas than you will need. It’s easier to eliminate something than to find a new point to add.

Look for statistics, reports, and other data to back up your main ideas. In some cases, examples and anecdotes are also acceptable.

Imagine that you are writing an argumentative essay in support of providing breakfast to students in elementary school. Your outline might look something like this:

Breakfast for all helps to reduce stigma and shame.

Students who need breakfast may not accept it if they believe they will stand out as a poor or low-income student.

If breakfast is served to all, students are less likely to use it as a reason to exclude others.

Eating together provides students who would not normally connect another opportunity to socialize with one another.

School breakfast can fill the gap for hungry students

A simple breakfast option such as fruit and a granola bar can help a student who skipped breakfast or just needs more energy.

Student-athletes and growing bodies can have additional calorie needs and unpredictable hunger patterns.

Hungry students struggle with focus and memory.

Students can learn about and experience better nutrition

Information on portion size and nutrients can be provided to students as they eat.

Students can experience food from different cultures and different food groups.

What students are served can model portion sizes, variety, and otherwise food choices.

Students can learn to make better food choices if they are served breakfast at school.

It ensures that low-income students are adequately fed without shaming them.

Free breakfast helps students who may have skipped eating at home, or have increased caloric needs.

That’s our job! We are happy to help you with advice and assistance on any part of the writing process. Please contact us online to learn how to proceed.

External links

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  • (2019). Retrieved from Lifehacker.com website: https://lifehacker.com/back-to-basics-perfect-your-note-taking-techniques-484879924

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how to write the perfect essay outline

How to Write an Essay Outline: Complete Guide

Jackson Schroeder

For an essay to be compelling, it needs to have a solid structure. That’s why it is so important to create an outline before diving into the writing process.

Your outline is the bones of your essay. It helps you portray your ideas in a logical and digestible order. It also serves as a handy tool to keep your essay clean and organized while you’re writing, so you don’t have to spend as much time editing. 

So, how do you write the perfect essay outline? Let’s get started. 

What to consider before creating your outline

Don’t rush through your outline just to get it out of the way. A half-hearted outlining and brainstorming process will result in a poorly constructed essay. 

Before anything else, you must carefully read and re-read the directions of your essay assignment. 

Consider the type of essay you’re being asked to write. Is it narrative, persuasive, argumentative, or expository? Each type of essay requires a different approach to outlining and writing. (We explain the differences below.)

From there, ask yourself these questions: “What is the purpose of this essay?” and “What do I want the reader to take away from it?” 

Better yet, write down the answers to these questions on a sheet of paper. These are the things that will give you clarity and focus when you sit down to draft your outline. 

Organize your thoughts and notes

If you’ve paid attention in class and done your research, you likely have a lot of information in your notes that would be worth including in your essay. But, your notes probably lack a coherent order. 

So, before you create your outline, you need to take time to organize. 

Take a moment to group your notes into categories and then arrange those categories in a way that best supports your thesis. 

In essence, the notes and ideas that you consider to be the most important should serve as topic sentences of each body paragraph. And the “supporting details” should be used to reinforce your topic sentences.

UNC Chapel Hill’s writing center suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • “Do some of my notes naturally cluster together?”
  • “How many clusters are there?” 
  • “Which ideas are more important or general?”
  • “Which ones are more like supporting details?”
  • “What order should the ideas be in?”

STANDARD ESSAY OUTLINE

As explained above, the way you outline your essay should vary depending on what type of essay you’ve been assigned to write. But before diving into the distinctions, it’s important to understand the general structure of an effective outline. 

While different teachers or professors may have different requirements, the typical essay is at least five paragraphs long. There should be an introductory paragraph, three or more body paragraphs, and a paragraph for the conclusion. 

Introduction

The introductory paragraph should include a hook, information about the focus of your essay, and your thesis statement. 

Right under the “Introduction” section of your outline, jot down a potential hook or two. The hook could be an interesting fact, a rhetorical question, or a simple sentence that sets the stage for your essay. 

After the hook, you should include points that summarize what you’re going to be writing about in each body paragraph of your essay. This section should give readers a general preview of what they’re going to be reading. 

Finally, in the last point under the introduction section of your outline, you should write your full thesis statement. And although it isn’t necessary, it may benefit you to also write the thesis statement at the very top of your outline. Since the thesis statement is the focal point of your entire essay, it’s always good to have it front and center. 

The body of your essay is where you have the most freedom to break down your argument, idea, or explanation. 

Structurally, body paragraphs should start with a topic sentence that reinforces your thesis. The four or five sentences that follow should then be used to support the topic sentence. The supporting sentences should include facts, data, and, in some cases, quotes from credible individuals. If you feel like you don’t have enough data or information to back up your topic sentence, you may need to go back to your notes or do further research. 

And to make sure your essay flows smoothly, you might want to add a transitional sentence at the end of each paragraph. 

As far as ordering your body paragraphs, your most compelling point should be made in the first body paragraph. The second best point should be made in the paragraph after that, and so on. 

In your outline, you should include the full topic sentence that you intend to start each body paragraph off with. As far as outlining the supporting ideas, though, all you will need is a few phrases or bullet points to jog your memory when you sit down to write the essay. 

Naturally, the conclusion is where you should tie up your essay. You want your reader to look up from reading the essay pondering a new idea, thought, or experience. 

Start your conclusion by rephrasing your thesis. Then reiterate some of your main points.  Depending on the type of essay you’re writing, you may want to finish the conclusion paragraph with a call to action or a quick summary of the significance of your argument. 

NARRATIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

how to write the perfect essay outline

A narrative essay is a piece of writing in which you tell a story from your point of view about a personal experience. While they don’t require extensive research, narrative essays are not to be underestimated.

Narrative essays are very common in nearly every level of education and are often an important piece of the college application process. In fact, all seven of the prompts included in the 2020-21 Common App call for narrative essays. 

While the prompts for narrative essays are often relatively simple, your writing should be thoughtful and engaging. 

Take this narrative essay prompt from the 2020-21 Common App, for example:

“Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.”

Yes, those reading your essay do want to know what problem you’ve solved. But, more importantly, they want to gauge how you react to and overcome adversity. 

So, take the extra step to make sure your narrative essay serves a purpose. Use description in your writing, and format your essay so that your readers walk away with the feeling that they know you. 

Below is a description of what you should include in each section of your narrative essay. The outline you create should succinctly summarize each section. 

The hook, which should be the first sentence of your narrative essay, needs to make the reader want to continue reading. As stated above, the hook could be a fact, a rhetorical question, or an intriguing sentence that sucks the reader in. 

Say, for example, you’re writing about a time when you made pasta with your grandmother who lives in Italy. You could start the essay off with a fact about how many pounds of pasta come in and out of the village where she lives. 

  • Stage your essay

After the hook, you want to give the reader a greater sense of the scene. When writing a narrative essay, you don’t have to reveal everything about the place or be too blunt about the setting, but you should at least give a few hints. 

Sticking with the pasta example, you could start to explain the smell of the room, the view through the kitchen window, and the feel of the floor underneath your feet. These descriptions would give the reader a sense of your surroundings, the climate, and the age of the house. When writing a narrative essay, you want to show the reader, not tell them. 

  • Thesis statement

Typically, the purpose of the thesis statement is to provide a digestible summary of the main point or claim you’re making in your essay. Using the same pasta example, you could draft a compelling sentence about how making pasta at your grandmother’s house in Italy inspired your passion for the art of cooking. 

The reason thesis statements are so often placed in the introductory paragraph is so the reader can develop an early understanding of the purpose of your essay. However, because narrative essays are meant to be a personal story, you don’t always have to make the thesis statement so evident. 

While writing a narrative essay, you could use the last sentence of the introduction simply as a way to naturally progress into the body of the essay. If you do this, though, you need to make sure that your theme is still evident. Although chronological order can make for an intriguing narrative essay, you don’t want your theme to be buried too deep. 

In the body of your narrative essay is where you dive into the full story of your experience. Each body paragraph should support your thesis. 

Let’s, again, use the pasta example. If your thesis statement describes the theme that making pasta at your grandmother’s house in Italy inspired your passion for the art of cooking, you need to create body paragraphs that support that statement. 

In the first paragraph or two, you could describe how cooking drew you in. You could explain how you felt when you smelled the pasta or what was going through your mind as you watched your grandmother roll homemade noodles. Remember, show don’t tell. Use adjectives and verbs to paint a picture. 

You could also describe how cooking makes you feel. Is it therapeutic? Is it a fun challenge? Is it nostalgic? Let the reader view your emotions.

In the last paragraph of the body, wrap up the story. After you left Italy and came back to the United States, did you immediately start cooking?

If your essay is in chronological order, make sure the story comes to a close naturally. Don’t rush it just because you’ve run out of space. If there is a word limit on your essay, check back through the previous paragraphs to see if there is anything that you can edit out. Reassess from there. 

In the conclusion of the narrative essay, you could explain what cooking has taught and how it has helped you in other areas of your life. Maybe you’ve increased your patience. Maybe you’ve learned how to multitask. There’s a chance cooking has helped you develop a way to manage your emotions. 

These skills can all be related back to other things in your life. For example, if you’re writing a narrative essay for a college application, maybe point out how the skills you’ve developed from cooking translate to the subject you’re interested in majoring in. Explaining how cooking has helped you improve is a great way to naturally express your love for it, and, in turn, reinforce your thesis. 

PERSUASIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

how to write the perfect essay outline

A persuasive essay is a piece of writing that you use to convince the reader to agree with your point of view. 

In order to be compelling, persuasive essays should be full of verified facts and quotes from experts, which requires a great deal of research. The goal of a persuasive essay, though, is not to simply regurgitate facts. Because you are trying to persuade someone, you have to mix in a bit of emotion. 

In terms of outlining, persuasive essays are more simple than narrative essays. They tend to follow a formula. 

Below is a description of what you should include in each section of your persuasive essay. The outline you create should succinctly summarize each section. 

Again, the hook should be a fact, a rhetorical question, or an intriguing sentence that sucks the reader in and makes them want to continue reading. 

Let’s say, for example, you’re writing a persuasive essay to convince your high school to establish a wrestling program. You could start the essay with a fact highlighting the impressive number of high schools in the district that already have a wrestling program.

  • Introduce your arguments  

In the typical five-paragraph persuasive essay, you should have three arguments that support your thesis statement. Each argument should be made in its own paragraph, and each of those paragraphs should start off with a topic sentence that summarizes the argument. Write each topic sentence down in this section of the outline. 

  • Thesis statement 

This is where you should succinctly explain what you want. If what you want is your school to start a wrestling program, state that. 

You want to be very clear and sometimes even blunt with persuasive essays. Unlike narrative essays, the point of a persuasive essay is to persuade, not to show off descriptive writing skills or portray your personality. 

In the body of your persuasive essay is where you get to convince your reader. Just like if you were arguing with a family member at the dinner table, this is your opportunity to lay out your points and make a compelling argument. 

Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence, and the sentences that follow should be full of facts, and sometimes quotes, that reinforce your topic sentence. 

The first paragraph is where you want to make your strongest argument. Sticking with the wrestling example, you could make the argument that there is a demand for the sport. 

This is a good argument to start with because it is likely the biggest concern shared by the administrators at your high school. In the supporting sentences, you could provide the number of students at your school who have already agreed to join. Additionally, you can provide attendance numbers from meets held at schools in the district that already have a team. 

In the second paragraph, you could make the argument that it can help student land scholarships at universities. Of course, you’ll want to back this up with some statistics. And if the statistics you find aren’t that convincing, use an example instead. 

If you find that only 1 percent of high school wrestlers get college scholarships, for example, tell a brief success story of a student who wouldn’t have been able to go to college had they not wrestled. Make the point that this could happen at your school. 

In the third paragraph, address the administration’s fears about students’ safety by explaining that there is little risk of injury in wrestling. Compare it to other sports your school offers, like football, to make your point. Of course, you do need statistics to back this up. 

  • Restate your thesis 

Make your point abundantly clear by restating your thesis. Because the reader has read your arguments at this point, you can add a little more detail than at the beginning. 

  • Summarize the main points  

As you did with your thesis statement, you’ll want to restate your topic sentences. This will drive the point home and cement your arguments in the reader’s brain. 

  • Write a call to action 

End your essay with a call to action. In this example, you’ll be asking your administrators to create a wrestling team.  

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY OUTLINE

how to write the perfect essay outline

Argumentative essays are often confused with persuasive essays. But, there are subtle differences that you should be aware of. 

While the goal of a persuasive essay is to persuade a reader to side with your point of view, the goal of an argumentative essay is simply to convince the reader that your position is valid. 

While writing an argumentative essay, try to stick to facts. Don’t get wrapped up in emotion or description. 

In terms of outlining, argumentative essays also follow a formula. 

Below is a description of what you should include in each section of your argumentative essay. The outline you create should succinctly summarize each section.

Like all of the other types of essays in this article, the argumentative essay should start with a hook, which should be a fact, a rhetorical question, or an intriguing sentence that sucks the reader in and makes them want to continue reading. 

Let’s say, for example, the topic is: “Do Division 1 athletes deserve to be paid?” If your position is yes, you could start with a fact about how much money the University of Alabama’s football team brings in each year, for example. 

Before moving on, it is worthwhile to note that your goal in this essay is to simply make the argument that they deserve to be paid. You aren’t necessarily trying to persuade the NCAA to pay athletes. 

  • List your main points 

Right after the hook, you should introduce your main points. In the body of your essay is where you will provide detail and further explain these points. Here, though, each point should be introduced in no more than one or two sentences. 

Here is where you should succinctly state your argument. Make sure the reader knows what side you’re taking. It is worth noting, though, that you shouldn’t let your emotions seep into your thesis statement or anywhere in your essay. Argumentative essays are supposed to be built upon facts. 

In the body of your argumentative essay is where you should break it all down. All the statements you made in the introduction should be further explained here. Like you would when writing a persuasive essay, you should present your strongest point in the first paragraph. Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence and be followed by supporting sentences. 

Sticking with the paying Division 1 athletes example, in the first paragraph, you could further explain the point that schools often profit off of their athletes, and athletes see nothing in return. Of course, you would need to back this up with statistics. 

In the second paragraph, explain to your reader that student athletes don’t have time to work because the sport they play is essentially a full-time job. For this, you would need statistics about how many hours per week athletes spend practicing. 

After you’ve finished making your points, many teachers and professors will ask that you add another paragraph that mentions the counter arguments and provides your evidence against them. 

For example, you could mention the common argument that many Division 1 athletes are essentially being paid because they’re getting scholarships to play sports. You could then use statistics to back up the position that there are many costs of college other than tuition, and that if athletes don’t have time to get a job because they are at practice, they can’t afford food. 

  • Restate your thesis  

Restate your thesis in a way that brings your essay to a natural conclusion. You want the reader to think about your position as something that deserves attention. 

  • Summarize main points

After you restate your conclusion, you want to summarize your main points. But, don’t simply rewrite the topic sentences from your body paragraphs. Instead, subtly remind the reader why your points are important to consider. 

  • Remind the reader why your argument is worthwhile

Again, argumentative essays are all about validating a position or side to an argument. So, in the final sentence or two of your essay, you want to leave a lasting impression. You could, for example, end with another related fact that reminds the reader why your argument is worthwhile. Write something like “X percent of Division 1 athletes live below the poverty line, while the institutions they play for rake in Y amount of money each year.” 

EXPOSITORY ESSAY OUTLINE

how to write the perfect essay outline

The expository essay is a type of essay that requires you to investigate an idea, piece of literature, or moment in history, evaluate evidence, and expound upon it. The goal is not to make an original argument, but instead to explain a topic in a straightforward and digestible way. Writing should always be in the third person.

In the classroom, you’ll most often be asked to write expository essays on literature, social issues, or historic events. The expository essay is also the type of essay on the SAT . 

Expository is essentially a catch-all term for many different types of essays, including the compare and contrast essay, the cause and effect essay, and the descriptive essay. 

Expository essays test your critical analysis skills. And, depending on the subject, expository essays may require a great deal of research. The outlining process, however, is pretty simple, as there is a general formula. 

Below is a description of what you should include in each section of your expository essay. The outline you create should succinctly summarize each section.

The expository essay must also start with a hook. It needs to be catchy and relate closely to the topic. 

Let’s say you’ve been tasked to write an expository essay analyzing how J.K. Rowling uses character development techniques to make the characters in the Harry Potter series so compelling. You could start with a rhetorical question pointing out how ironic it is that Hagrid — a bearded giant who plays with spiders and dragons — is such a lovable character. 

  • Introduce your points 

You should have points to back up your overall topic. Each point should be explained in its own paragraph, and each of those paragraphs should start with a topic sentence that summarizes the point. Introduce each point in this section of the introduction. 

  • Thesis statement: 

The thesis statement of an expository essay is where you express the conclusion you’ve come to after conducting research on a subject or reading literature. Your goal is to inform your reader, not persuade them. Think of yourself as a reporter. Your thesis statement in your expository essay is, essentially, the same as a lead in a news story.  

Using the Harry Potter example, your thesis statement could fall along the lines of: “J.K Rowling’s usage of unique adjectives and her desire to emphasize intellectual qualities over physical attributes makes her characters compelling.”  

In the body of your expository essay is where you get to fully explain what you’ve gathered to your readers. Like you would with arguments in a persuasive essay, you want to start off with your strongest point. 

Building upon the Harry Potter example, the first paragraph should dive into Rowling’s word usage. Your topic sentence, for example, should explain that Rowling uses unique adjectives to describe her characters. Then, in the following sentences, you should use examples from the text to back that up. 

Then, in the second paragraph, you should restate and provide backing for your point that Rowling emphasizes intellectual qualities over physical attributes. 

Expository essays typically have 3-5 body paragraphs. So, include a new paragraph for each point you have. 

Conclusion 

As you would when writing a persuasive essay, you should make the first sentence of your conclusion a restatement of your thesis. 

  • Summarize the main points 

You also want to summarize your main points in the conclusion, but you should do it in an original way. You never want to introduce new information in this section. 

  • The final sentence 

The final sentence you use should vary depending on the type of expository essay you’re writing. However, you should always put time and effort into sculpting your final sentence. It is your last opportunity to leave an impression of your point of view on the readers. 

In summary 

Although it can feel a bit like busywork, outlining is an essential component of writing a good, compelling essay. Without an outline, your writing runs the risk of lacking structure. So don’t underestimate the importance of your outline, and certainty do not skip over it. Take time before the writing process to outline, and it will save you the frustration of having to extensively edit and revise after you’re finished. 

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How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

Essay Outline

      Whether you are still in high school, or you recently joined your dream university, essay writing will always be part of your student life. Therefore, the sooner you master all the hacks that can help you hone your essay writing skills, the more seamless things will be for you. One such hack is an essay outline.

An essay outline is simply a planning tool that you can use to organize or structure your thoughts and ideas on a particular subject. It’s like a summary or plan that you prepare so you can organize your content in perfect, logical order once you start writing your essay.

While you can always write your essay without it, it’s a good idea to first craft one as

  • It acts as a sketch of your essay, hence reminds you of important points that you could have otherwise forgotten.
  • It helps you structure your thoughts and determine the right order to write them so they can be appealing.
  • It helps you review the logic of what you’ll be writing. This enables you to remove any illogical or repetitive points. At the same time, an outline enables you to fill gaps that would have otherwise gone an unnoticed if you didn’t have one.

How to Write an Essay Outline

Now that you know the benefits of an outline, how do you go about the actual writing process? Well since it’s a framework of an essay, a typical one as shown on our outline for examples for essay, boasts the structure of the actual essay. So it has;

  • The Introduction

The purpose of the introduction in the outline is to help you craft an enticing first sentence once you start writing the essay and a strong thesis statement. In respect to that here is where you write your topic and thesis statement.

As you will see on our examples of an essay outline below, a regular outline body usually has a minimum of three and a maximum of five paragraphs. Thus, even your outline should follow the same structure. It should have at least three points that you’ll write about in your paragraph, and supporting points relating to your thesis.

  • The conclusion

The conclusion of your outline should have a statement restating your thesis and driving home the significance of your work. Check out the example essay outline below to get what we mean

Essay Outline Example

  • Introduction
  • Essay topic
  • Thesis statement
  • Paragraph 1
  • Introductory sentence (thesis argument)
  • Support opening sentence by stating facts, stats, quotations and whatever you need to develop your argument
  • closing and transition, explain how the supporting points above relate to the thesis of the essay
  • Paragraph 2
  • closing and transition, explain how the supporting facts above relate to the thesis of the ess ay
  • Paragraph 3
  • Paragraph 4
  • Opening sentence (thesis argument)
  • closing and transition, explain how the supporting facts above relate to the thesis of the essay
  • Restate thesis
  • Summarize the main point
  • Closing statement or call to action

Tips for Writing an Exemplary Essay Outline

Anyone can come up with an outline, but not everybody can craft an exemplary one. Keeping the following tips and later properly reviewing our examples of an essay outline while creating yours will help you be among the few who can create an outstanding essay outline

  • Get Some Facts

Once you’re assigned an essay topic, the first thing you should do is conduct some research on it. Use reliable sources and take note of all the relevant findings you come across. Researching first is incredibly essential. It helps you form an opinion on the topic and gives you an idea of what thesis statement you could use for the assignment.

However, note, at this point, you’re just researching to familiarize yourself with the task ahead and not writing anything. Familiarizing yourself with the topic also means identifying your audience and understanding its purpose.

  • Choose a Topic

Once you’ve formed your opinion on the topic, understood who your readers are, and the purpose of your essay, your next step should be creating the thesis statement. Do so carefully as your entire essay will revolve around the thesis statement.

Additionally, the thesis statement you develop will help you come up with the rest of the points. For instance, if your thesis statement says; global warming is a human-made epidemic, then all your points will revolve around proving this argument. Therefore ensure you choose a thesis statement with utmost care.

  • Organize ideas

Once you come up with a thesis statement and a topic sentence, your next stop should be at organizing your introductory sentence ideas for the rest of the paragraphs. For instance, if, during your research, you find out that greenhouse emissions results in global warming, the introductory sentence for your first paragraph should be something like, humans cause global warming through greenhouse emissions.

You should then proceed to support this by listing facts, statistics, and examples. Do this for the rest of the paragraphs and finally conclude your outline by restating, summarizing, and calling to action.

Outline Essay Example

Here are a few examples of an essay outline

Example of an Essay Outline

Essay Title: Is downloading music without the artists’ permission theft?

  • Thesis statement; downloading music for free is no different than stealing

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how to write the perfect essay outline

All rights reserved. 2013 - 2024 — © MyEssayGeek.com — Custom essay sample writing service and academic writing tutoring.

How to write a perfect essay

Need to write an essay? Does the assignment feel as big as climbing Mount Everest? Fear not. You’re up to the challenge! The following step-by step tips from the Nat Geo Kids Almanac will help you with this monumental task. 

Sometimes the subject matter of your essay is assigned to you, sometimes it’s not. Either way, you have to decide what you want to say. Start by brainstorming some ideas, writing down any thoughts you have about the subject. Then read over everything you’ve come up with and consider which idea you think is the strongest. Ask yourself what you want to write about the most. Keep in mind the goal of your essay. Can you achieve the goal of the assignment with this topic? If so, you’re good to go.

WRITE A TOPIC SENTENCE

This is the main idea of your essay, a statement of your thoughts on the subject. Again, consider the goal of your essay. Think of the topic sentence as an introduction that tells your reader what the rest of your essay will be about.

OUTLINE YOUR IDEAS

Once you have a good topic sentence, you then need to support that main idea with more detailed information, facts, thoughts, and examples. These supporting points answer one question about your topic sentence—“Why?” This is where research and perhaps more brainstorming come in. Then organize these points in the way you think makes the most sense, probably in order of importance. Now you have an outline for your essay.

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, WRITE!

Follow your outline, using each of your supporting points as the topic sentence of its own paragraph. Use descriptive words to get your ideas across to the reader. Go into detail, using specific information to tell your story or make your point. Stay on track, making sure that everything you include is somehow related to the main idea of your essay. Use transitions to make your writing flow.

Finish your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your entire essay and 5 restates your main idea.

PROOFREAD AND REVISE

Check for errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Look for ways to make your writing clear, understandable, and interesting. Use descriptive verbs, adjectives, or adverbs when possible. It also helps to have someone else read your work to point out things you might have missed. Then make the necessary corrections and changes in a second draft. Repeat this revision process once more to make your final draft as good as you can.

Download the pdf .

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Are you ready to write the perfect essay outline? It’s an essential skill for any student or professional writer, but it can be daunting. To make sure your essay is as effective and well-crafted as possible, take some time to brainstorm ideas and organize them into a comprehensive plan of attack. Outlining will help you create a structure that makes sense before diving in head first with writing the actual essay. Finally, when you’re done creating content, don’t forget about proofreading and formatting—the final steps before publishing your work! With this guide on how to write the perfect essay outline, we hope that crafting essays becomes less intimidating so that anyone can become an expert at producing quality written pieces!

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is an essential part of the essay writing process. It helps to ensure that your essay has a clear focus and structure, which will make it easier for readers to understand. Brainstorming involves generating ideas, researching topics, and making connections between different concepts.

Generating Ideas

Generating ideas is the first step in brainstorming. This can be done by looking at existing research or by coming up with new ideas on your own. You should also consider how these ideas could be connected to create a cohesive argument or story within your essay.

Researching

Once you have generated some initial ideas, it’s important to do further research into each topic before beginning the writing process. This includes reading related literature and articles as well as conducting interviews if necessary. Doing this will help you gain more insight into the subject matter and provide additional information that may be useful when crafting your essay later on.

Making Connections

Making connections between different topics is another key component of brainstorming for an essay project. By connecting different pieces of information together, you can create a stronger argument or narrative throughout your work that will engage readers more effectively than simply presenting facts alone would do so. Additionally, making connections allows you to explore multiple angles of an issue while still maintaining a unified focus throughout the entire piece of writing; this skill is highly valued among professional writers today.

Brainstorming is an essential part of the essay writing process and can help you to generate ideas, research effectively, and make connections between topics. Now that we have brainstormed our topic, let’s move on to outlining our essay.

Outlining is an important step in the essay writing process. It helps to ensure that all of the main points are addressed in a logical order. When outlining, it is important to create an introduction, develop body paragraphs, and craft a conclusion.

Creating an Introduction: The introduction should provide background information on the topic and introduce the main idea or argument of the essay. It should also include any necessary definitions or explanations needed for understanding the rest of the paper.

Developing Body Paragraphs: After creating an introduction, each body paragraph should focus on one specific point related to your thesis statement. Each point should be supported with evidence from reliable sources such as scholarly articles or books. Make sure to explain how each piece of evidence supports your argument so readers can easily follow along with your reasoning.

Crafting a Conclusion: The conclusion wraps up your essay by summarizing all of your main points and reinforcing why they are important for supporting your overall argument. Additionally, you may want to suggest further research topics related to yours that could be explored in future papers or projects.

Proofreading and Formatting: Once you have finished writing your essay, it’s time for proofreading and formatting before submitting it for publication or posting online. Check for grammar and spelling errors as well as making sure that all formatting rules are followed correctly (e.g., font size/style).

Finally, once everything has been checked over carefully, you can submit it for publication in journals or publications if applicable; otherwise post it online where others can read it.

Outlining is an essential step in the writing process, as it allows for a clear and organized essay structure. With an outline in place, writers can easily move on to drafting their essay.

Key Takeaway: The perfect essay outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. When writing the paper it is important to provide background information on the topic, introduce the main idea or argument of the essay, support each point with evidence from reliable sources, summarize all points in the conclusion and reinforce why they are important for supporting your overall argument. Lastly remember to proofread and format before submitting or posting online.

Writing the Essay

Drafting the Essay: The first step in writing an essay is to draft it. This involves gathering all of the necessary information and organizing it into a cohesive structure. It’s important to include relevant facts, quotes, statistics, and other evidence that supports your argument or point of view. Additionally, make sure to use proper grammar and punctuation when drafting your essay.

Revising and Editing the Essay: After you have drafted your essay, it’s time to revise and edit it for clarity and accuracy. Read through your work carefully to ensure that all of the points are clear and concisely expressed. Make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors as well as any awkward phrasing or sentences that don’t flow properly with each other. Additionally, look for areas where you can add more detail or provide further explanation if needed.

Once you have revised and edited your essay, it is time to finalize it by proofreading one last time before submitting or publishing it online. Check for any remaining spelling mistakes or grammar issues as well as formatting rules such as font size, style, and color which should be consistent throughout the entire document. Additionally, check if any images need resizing so they fit within specified parameters set by journals or publications prior to submission.

Writing the essay is a crucial step in becoming a project manager, as it requires attention to detail and effective communication. With the proper guidance and focus, proofreading and formatting can help bring your essay to its full potential.

Proofreading and Formatting

Proofreading and formatting are essential steps in ensuring that an essay meets professional standards before submission or publication. Checking for grammar and spelling errors is the first step of proofreading, which involves carefully reading through the text to identify any mistakes. This includes checking for incorrect verb tenses, missing words, incorrect punctuation, misspelled words, and typos. It’s important to read each sentence out loud as this can help catch any errors that may have been missed during a silent read-through.

Applying appropriate formatting rules is also necessary when proofreading an essay. This includes selecting a font size and typeface that are easy to read as well as setting line spacing correctly so there is enough room between lines for readers to easily follow the text without feeling overwhelmed by large blocks of information. Additionally, it is important to ensure all headings are formatted correctly with consistent font sizes throughout the document and make sure margins are set appropriately on all sides of the page

Proofreading and formatting are essential for producing an error-free essay. Once the essay is polished, it’s time to submit or post it online for others to read.

Publishing the Essay

Submitting to Journals or Publications

When it comes to publishing an essay, submitting it to journals or publications is one of the most effective ways of getting your work out there. This can help you gain recognition for your efforts and ensure that your work reaches its intended audience. Before submitting, make sure that you read through any guidelines provided by the journal or publication in order to understand their submission requirements. Additionally, double-check that all formatting rules are followed correctly so as not to be rejected due to errors.

Posting Online

Another way of publishing an essay is by posting it online on a blog or website. This allows anyone with access to the internet to view and enjoy your work without having any prior knowledge about journals or publications. When posting online, consider using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook in order to spread awareness about your essay and reach a wider audience. Additionally, use hashtags related to topics discussed in the essay so that people searching for those topics can find it more easily.

FAQs in Relation to How to Write the Perfect Essay Outline

What are the 5 steps to a strong outline.

Establish a clear scope of work and timeline for the project, including objectives, deliverables, and milestones.

2. Create a Plan: Develop an actionable plan with tasks assigned to team members and deadlines for completion.

3. Monitor Progress: Track progress regularly against the established timeline to ensure that goals are met on time and within budget.

4. Manage Resources: Ensure that all resources necessary for successful completion of the project are available when needed, such as personnel or equipment.

5. Communicate Regularly: Maintain open communication with stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the project in order to keep everyone informed about progress and any changes made along the way

What are the 7 elements of an essay?

1. Introduction: A brief overview of the topic, including a thesis statement that outlines the main points to be discussed.

2. Body: The body of an essay is where arguments and evidence are presented in support of the thesis statement.

3. Organization: An effective essay should have a logical structure with clear transitions between paragraphs and ideas.

4. Style: The style used in an essay should be appropriate for its purpose and audience, such as formal or informal language depending on the context of the assignment.

5. Grammar & Punctuation: Correct grammar and punctuation are essential components of any well-written paper; they ensure clarity and accuracy in communication.

6 .Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes all major points made throughout the essay while providing insight into how those points relate to one another or to larger issues outside of the scope of discussion within this particular piece of writing..

7 .References/Citations : Citing sources appropriately gives credit to authors whose work has been used, as well as demonstrating understanding about research methods for academic papers

What are the five 5 elements of an essay?

1. Introduction: Introduce the topic of project management and its importance to a startup’s growth.

2. Body: Describe the five elements of an effective project manager, such as planning, organizing, directing, controlling and monitoring progress.

3. Analysis: Explain how each element contributes to successful project management within a startup environment.

4. Conclusion: Summarize the key points discussed in the essay and reiterate why these skills are essential for any aspiring project manager in a startup setting.

5. References/Citations: Include sources used to support claims made throughout the essay (if applicable).

What is the correct format for an outline?

I. Introduction

A. Definition of Project Management

B. Benefits of Becoming a Project Manager in a Startup

II. Steps to Become a Project Manager in a Startup

A. Develop Technical Skills and Knowledge

B. Learn About the Business Model and Industry Trends

C. Understand Team Dynamics and Communication Strategies

D. Utilize Time Management Tools and Techniques

E. Monitor Progress, Adjust Plans as Needed, and Report Results

III. Conclusion

A. Summary of Key Points Discussed B. Encouragement to Take the Steps Necessary to Become a Project Manager in a Startup

Writing the perfect essay outline is a skill that takes practice and dedication. With careful brainstorming, outlining, writing, proofreading and formatting you can create an effective essay outline that will help you write your best work. By following these steps you can be sure to produce a well-crafted essay that meets all of your expectations. Remember to always keep in mind the purpose of your paper when crafting your outline so that it accurately reflects what you are trying to say with each section of your paper. Writing the perfect essay outline may seem daunting at first but with some patience and hard work it can be achieved!

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how to write the perfect essay outline

Outline Maker

Ai-powered outline creation tool.

  • Research Paper: Create a comprehensive outline for your research paper, ensuring all your points are logically organized.
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  • Business Plan: Organize your business plan effectively, ensuring all key points are covered and logically structured.
  • Essay: Create an outline for your essay, ensuring your arguments are effectively structured and supported.

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Essay Outline

    How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing.

  2. How to Create a Clearly Structured Essay Outline

    ...more An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. In just 3 minutes, this video will show you how to organize your ...

  3. How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

    How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps Lindsay Kramer Updated on July 1, 2023 Students An essay outline is essentially an essay's skeleton. It's a text representation of an essay's thesis and key supporting points.

  4. How to Write an Outline in 5 Steps, with Examples

    Easy outlines are structured by paragraph: You list the topic of each paragraph along with a few bullet points about what goes into that paragraph. This allows you to easily rearrange the order of the paragraphs to find the perfect arrangement before you begin writing.

  5. How to Outline an Essay: Basic Essay Outline Template

    1. Introduction: The introductory paragraph of your essay should outline the topic, provide background information necessary to understand your argument, outline the evidence you will present and include your thesis statement. Your thesis should be a concise summary of the main point of your essay. 2.

  6. Learn How to Create a Perfect Essay Outline

    How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps? 3. Key Parts of An Essay Outline 4. Essay Outline Format 5. Different Essay Outline Templates 6. Essay Outline Examples What is an Essay Outline? An essay outline is a short plan of your essay where you list down all the ideas you need to cover in your essay.

  7. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Step 4: Add Depth with Subpoints. To add depth and clarity to your essay, incorporate subpoints under each main point. These subpoints provide more specific details, evidence, or examples that support your main ideas. They help to further strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

  8. Essay Outline: How To Write A Perfect Essay Outline • 7ESL

    Some points that you might include are: You main point or argument on what the essay is about. Your thoughts and ideas which should be included. The structure of the essay. A plan of what information will be included where. It is possible to write an essay without using an essay outline, but the end result will be nowhere near as good.

  9. How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

    1. Brainstorm your argument 2. Create an essay structure 3. Explore all the details 4. Check the organization 5. Follow your outline For most students, writing an essay is a grueling task. Despite how tricky it can be, though, most students can expect to write at least one essay per class per semester.

  10. 3 Ways to Write an Essay Outline

    1 Read the assignment guidelines carefully. Highlight or underline important words and phrases in the instructions. Make sure that you fully understand what the instructor is asking you to do before you begin your outline. Ask for clarification if anything seems vague or confusing. 2 Develop a topic.

  11. How to write a perfect essay outline: an ultimate guide

    Introduction The first part of your essay should be within 5-7 sentences. This section serves to present your topic. To present it in a more attractive way, you are advised to use a hook sentence. You also briefly explain your wish to cover the topic. You also include one of the main ingredients of the essay - thesis statement.

  12. How to Write an Essay Outline: 5 Examples & Free Template

    Start off by creating a broad thesis statement or central idea. Then move on to providing examples or pieces of information that support this statement or elaborate on it. This method also provides a comprehensive overview of your essay and helps identify any missing bits of information. 2. Generates greater impact.

  13. How To Write An Essay Outline: Tips And Examples

    Organize your ideas and gather information for your essays by learning to write a proper essay outline. You'll save time and present a polished piece!

  14. How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline

    How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline August 14, 2019 Essays, Writing Miller Agnes An essay outline is a plan of your academic paper, where you structurize it and organize the main points into paragraphs so it would be easier for you to write an essay. You can't write an essay without outlining.

  15. How to Write an Outline (with Pictures)

    1 Decide if you will write your outline by hand or type it. If you're preparing your outline just for your own use, choose what works best for you. If you're preparing your outline for an assignment, follow your instructor's directions. Some people process their ideas better when they write them down.

  16. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023. A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process, providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized. A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to:

  17. How to Write a Good Outline for Your Essay on Trust My Paper

    Here are some very helpful tips for producing an outline that helps you write a better paper. Take great notes. These are the foundation of any good outline. Take time to formulate a thesis you can support. Use your outline to test your thesis. If your outline cannot solidly support your thesis, you need a new thesis.

  18. How to Write an Essay Outline: Complete Guide

    So, how do you write the perfect essay outline? Let's get started. What to consider before creating your outline Don't rush through your outline just to get it out of the way. A half-hearted outlining and brainstorming process will result in a poorly constructed essay.

  19. How to Write a Perfect Essay Outline Tips

    An essay outline is simply a planning tool that you can use to organize or structure your thoughts and ideas on a particular subject. It's like a summary or plan that you prepare so you can organize your content in perfect, logical order once you start writing your essay. While you can always write your essay without it, it's a good idea to ...

  20. How to write a perfect essay

    PROOFREAD AND REVISE Check for errors in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Look for ways to make your writing clear, understandable, and interesting. Use descriptive verbs,...

  21. Essay Outline Generator

    Writing the perfect essay outline is a skill that takes practice and dedication. With careful brainstorming, outlining, writing, proofreading and formatting you can create an effective essay outline that will help you write your best work. By following these steps you can be sure to produce a well-crafted essay that meets all of your expectations.

  22. Outline Maker

    Create a unique and high-quality outline for your writing based on the topic and type of writing. HyperWrite's Outline Maker is an AI-powered tool that generates a detailed and organized outline for your writing. Whether it's a research paper, a blog post, or a novel, this tool can help you structure your thoughts and ideas effectively, ensuring your writing is coherent and logical.