An essay outline provides a framework and guidance for writers to present their supporting ideas of the subject in a better way. It enables students to develop a coherent and logical structure of their work; hence becoming easy to transform the ideas into sentences or words. As a student, it’s essential to have the outlining skills since many instructors require their students to outline their papers before submitting them. Keep reading to understand how you can develop a useful essay outline for your writing.
- Prepare to outline the essay
Before you start drafting your work, it’s vital that you first carefully go through the assignment guidelines. Underline or highlight the critical phrases and words in your essay instructions. Ensure that you have understood the details and if not, ask for clarification from your instructor.
- Develop a good topic
Now that you have understood you have a better understanding of the work, you can develop a good topic. It might be necessary for you to try some prewriting strategies to come up with a better topic. You can use these pre-writing tips to generate ideas:
- Write all the ideas (whether bad or good) that come to your mind
- Free write- note your ideas down for around 10 minutes.
- Question your ideas; how? When? Who?
Collect supporting materials– reviewing materials will assist you in planning well for the essay. Write the subtopics that have many related quotes, ideas or statics. However, you can skip this step when outlining a creative essay. The research will only be vital for adding trustworthy information but won’t be included in the essay outline. Mark the specific page numbers that contain each information piece.
Identify your purpose and audience– why are you writing this paper? Do you want to entertain, enlighten or persuade? Ensure that the purpose goes handily with the instructions of the assignment. The keywords can direct you to avoid going out of topic.
Think about the people who will read your essay. Is it your instructor? Strangers, or classmates? The essay outline should engage your audience and also meet their expectations.
- Develop your thesis
Useful thesis statements show the primary focus of the entire paper. An ideal thesis statement should be arguable, and it should provide adequate information. For example, instead of saying that an idea is “effective,” state specifically what makes it “effective.”
- Decide a general structure for the essay outline
If you want your paper to have an excellent basic structure: Select an alphanumeric structure- alphanumeric framework makes your work more neat and presentable. Use capitalized letters, roman numerical, lower case letters or Arabic numerical to mark your points.
- The roman numerals (I, II.III.IV) mark the main sections or headings.
- The capitalized letters (A, B, C, D) show the primary points of the main sections
- Arabic words (1, 2, 3, 4) flesh out the major points
- Small letters (a, b, c, d) elaborate the detailed points.
Determine if you will use a brief phrase or long sentences in your essay outline– in most essays, the long sentences are preferred to the short ones. This is because they provide detailed information. However, you can choose to use short and clear sentences.
When outlining an essay, it’s vital to use parallel structures. For instance, in one of your sections uses past tense and starts with a verb, the other parts should also follow the same format for uniformity.
For example, if the first section begins with “buying an old book,” then the following section should also start with something like “reading the old book.”
Coordinate your subordinate subsections and section titles- all the sections titles should contain equally important information while the subsections should contain less critical information.
Divide the essay headings into many parts- if you want to provide in-depth information in all sections, you should elaborate your ideas using more than five parts.
- Organize your essay outline information
When outlining an essay, you should do your work as organized as possible to make your audience understand your point. You should begin with an introduction section that provides the necessary information of the essay. It should be exciting and engaging enough since it will determine whether the readers will go through your work or not.
The information provided in your essay introduction should become specific gradually as you progress through the subsections. The final part of the introduction should be a thesis statement.
- Use an anecdote, or a shocking fact start your introduction
- In the second section, describe the main essay topic, background, history of the major issue or the problem. Keep this part brief but include the critical points that the readers must know.
- Your thesis statement should be the last sub-point of your essay outline. State your argument or idea that will be discussed in the essay.
Provide detailed information about the essay in the second part of your paper- the body contains all the work thus it is always the most substantial part. You can divide it into three subsections.
- Avoid labeling all the points as “major point.” Instead, write directly about the point.
- You should explain or supporting evidence right after your main points.
- If desired, you can introduce transition sentences into your significant points. It is however not strictly relevant.
- Give your essay outline a great conclusion
The conclusion part should be framed such that it returns the reader to the introduction part of the essay outline. When concluding, you should first restate your thesis but avoid copying the introduction thesis word-by-word. Copy the idea only but paraphrase it using other words.
After thesis, you can now create an excellent concluding statement that will address thesis implications, provide possible solutions to the addresses issues then discuss the significance of the essay thesis to anything outside the essay range.
Although outlining an essay may seem tedious, it makes the writing process a smooth experience. Once you complete your essay outline, the hard part of the paper is done. You are therefore ready to put the ideas into complete sentences, and then write a well developed logical essay.