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C. Creating an Outline

This article is a part of the guide:

❶Think about whatever you want to write about that happened in your life, and then make an outline in either chronological order or in order of what you think is important, based on your own writing ability. If your report is complex and strays over this limit, there should be no problem, as long as you have not repeated yourself or filled your work with irrelevant information.


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Without a main topic, your outline has no purpose. Your topic may be based on an assignment or could stem from a personal goal. Then, allow the outlining process to help you structure your work. As you write your outline, you might narrow this down to the resistance fighters called maquisards. Identify the purpose of your outline, such as inform, entertain or reflect. Think about what you hope to accomplish with your outline.

Will you complete an essay assignment? This allows you to determine what that essay, book, or speech will do for the reader. Know your intended audience. However, many times you are preparing them for yourself, either to help you complete an assignment or to help you accomplish a goal.

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

You might incorporate some of the following: Brainstorm to identify your argument or main ideas. Jot down your ideas, important bits of research, and any questions you might want answered. For a creative project, you might write down scene ideas or plot points.

Write down everything you might include in your outline. You can always eliminate ideas later! Here are some ways to organize your thoughts: Create a mind map.

Write your thoughts on index cards. Develop a thesis or controlling idea for your outline. In most cases, this will be the thesis you use to complete the final product, such as an essay. For example, you may be writing a paper about policy change. Write an alphanumeric outline for the easy approach. Although you might not recognize the name, most outlines follow the alphanumeric format.

Each level of your outline will be organized using a letter or number. Make a decimal outline to highlight the relationship between ideas. A decimal outline looks very similar to an alphanumeric outline. However, a decimal outline only uses numbers, and each sublevel is set off with decimals. This allows you to illustrate that each sublevel is a part of a larger argument. Decide if you want to write full sentences or short phrases. Most outlines include short phrases, which are also called topic outlines.

However, using full sentences can help you better understand your ideas. 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. Group your ideas together. Review your brainstorming, placing related ideas in the same group. You can always eliminate ideas you realize are unnecessary. These groups will become main points, so narrow your groups down until you have your desired number of main points. For an essay or speech, that often means 3, but a creative piece may have more.

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. Put each group in order from broad ideas to specific details. Broad ideas are more likely to be your main points, while details are the bits of information you will use to support those ideas.

Depending on the purpose of your outline, you may have many subpoints and supporting details. However, aim to have at least subpoints and supporting details for each main idea. 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. Outline your introduction as the first main point for a speech or essay. You can use either phrases or full sentences, depending on which you chose to use. Some people prefer to write out their introduction, which is also okay. Here are the points you need in your introduction: The outline headings are your main points. These ideas should be drawn directly from your thesis or controlling idea.

Frankenstein champions emotion over reason Full sentence outline: In Frankenstein , Mary Shelley champions the use of emotion over reason. Write at least 2 subpoints for each main idea. These are the ideas that further explain your main point. In an essay, they might be your reasons for making your argument. In a creative work, they might be parts of your plot point. For example, a novel may have many subpoints.

Similarly, a study guide will likely have several subpoints, as well. Add at least 2 supporting details for each subpoint. They might include direct quotes, statistics, facts, or examples.

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. Include more layers of your outline, if necessary.

Most basic outlines will include 3 layers, but you may need more. If this is the case, you can continue creating sublevels using the formatting structure you chose, either alphanumeric or decimal. For example, you might need more layers to provide more details. In the Frankenstein example above, you might include a 4th layer to write out your commentary about the quotes you used to support your point.

Your subpoints might include the following: Write a concluding statement. Your outline should relate back to your thesis or main idea, address the purpose you set out to achieve and reflect your audience.

Revise your outline if ideas are missing or not fleshed out. In some cases, you may need to add more information, such as additional supporting details. The revision process allows you to do that. You might also want to rewrite sentences or phrases to make your ideas clearer. Check for typos, grammatical errors, and formatting flaws. This will ensure you get full credit for your 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. Add layers if necessary. If you need to add additional sub-layers, use lowercase Roman numerals i, ii, iii, iv, etc.

In most cases, three or four layers will be enough. Try to combine points first before you add a fifth. You might also include additional layers for a long creative work or a detailed study guide. It's best to start with a strong thesis statement that includes your reasons. Then, dedicate each body paragraph to one of your claims, as well as the evidence that supports it.

Make sure you break down your evidence in your body paragraphs. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 2. Yes, having an outline will help you familiarize yourself with the process of something.

It is your guide for your experiment, whatever kind is it. Having an outline is like planning. Not Helpful 17 Helpful How do I write an outline quickly when I am under time pressure during exams? Begin with reading the exam question quickly but thoroughly.

To be more versed in the details of the structure look through examples for elementary students. The outline for a Literary Essay will also help you. Anyway, the main parts are as follows:. Seems not that hard, right?! But the fact is that each of the points encompasses a wide range of information for you to arrange in your research outline about animals, for example.

The Introduction part is one of the most important ones. Because it presents the reader with the topic of your paper and it is like a hook that attracts the reader's interest. Here you are supposed to mention the top essential components like the thesis statement, the explanation of the topic some major points, general information , explanation of the core terms related to your study.

The Body part is the amplest one and consists of several paragraphs or subparts. Here you bring the arguments to support your statement. The methodology is what follows the introduction section.

It gives the insight into the way you carried out the research and should include the investigation type and the questionnaire you have fulfilled. Never forget about the aims of the investigation that should be also stated in the introduction. Make sure to include the literature overview. Here mention the literature you used as a backup to your hypothesis and theories.

This part will show how you can operate the terms, theory and existing evidence. Your main theme and the chosen literature should be adjacent. Demonstrate how your input develops and distends the existing works. Data and analysis usually go after methods and literature. Here present your results and other variables that you have got in the process of the survey.

Use tables or graphs if necessary to be more precise and structured. Keep in mind to tell the audience whether your outcomes bring a difference to the whole topic. Outline the drawbacks of the research and its advantages. The final part is the Conclusion that usually does not present the audience with the new information but gives the cursory glance at the whole work by summarizing main points in it.

Do not forget to mention the thesis statement again. Formulate the prospect for future research as well.

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The Basic Outline of a Paper The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper needs to be, it should still follow the .

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The following outline is for a page paper discussing the link between educational attainment and health. Review the other sections of this page for more detailed information about each component of this outline!

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Research Paper Outline Examples Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper . Jul 07,  · How to Write an Outline Five Parts: Sample Outlines Planning Your Outline Structuring Your Outline Organizing Your Ideas Finalizing Your Outline Community Q&A An outline is a great way to organize ideas and information for a speech, an essay, a 77%(12).

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An outline is a “blueprint” or “plan” for your paper. It helps you to organize your thoughts and arguments. A good outline can make conducting research and then writing the paper very efficient. The research paper outline is essential for any article or term paper. The outline may make a great difference on how your work is interpreted. This article is a part of the guide.