An outline is a general plan of the material that is to be presented in a speech or a paper. The outline shows the order of the various topics, the relative importance of each, and the relationship between the various parts.
Order in an Outline
There are many ways to arrange the different parts of a subject. Sometimes, a chronological arrangement works well. At other times, a spatial arrangement is best suited to the material. The most common order in outlines is to go from the general to the specific. This means you begin with a general idea and then support it with specific examples.
Thesis Statement of Summarizing Sentence
All outlines should begin with a thesis statement of summarizing sentence. This thesis sentence presents the central idea of the paper. It must always be a complete, grammatical sentence, specific and brief, which expresses the point of view you are taking towards the subject.
The two main types of outlines are the topic outline and the sentence outline. In the topic outline, the headings are given in single words or brief phrases. In the sentence outline, all the headings are expressed in complete sentences.
Rules for Outlining
1. Subdivide topics by a system of numbers and letters, followed by a period.
2. Each heading and subheading must have at least two parts.
3. Headings for parts of the paper of speech such as, Introduction and Conclusion, should not be used.
4. Be consistent. Do not mix up the two types of outlines. Use either whole sentences of brief phrases, but not both.
“How to Write an Outline”, Los Angeles Valley College, Jan 22, 2001
How to Make and Use an Essay Outline
An essay outline is probably the most important friend you will have while writing your essay. It is the scaffolding of your paper and the skeleton of your ideas. It is the framework by which you will write a killer essay. And frankly, it is difficult to write one without an outline.
When you begin writing an essay outline, use the following model as a guide:
If you are using a DBQ (Document Based Question essay) indicate document number at the end of sentence/paragraph.***(Ms. Kostro)
Summarize important points stated______________________________
If you use this rough guide and fill in the blanks as you are researching your essay, you will find writing the essay so simple. You have all you need in front of you. It is researched and organized. All you have to do now is fill in the blanks with transition words and smooth language.
“How to Make and Use an Outline”, BookRags, Jan, 2012
Choices in College and After
Thesis: The decisions I have to make in choosing college courses, depend on larger questions I am beginning to ask myself about my life’s work.