How to write an outline

How to Write an Outline-Guide, Tips, and Samples

Introduction

It’s been said that the best way to learn how to write an outline is by examining examples. This post will provide you with some of the most popular types of outlines, along with a few tips and samples for each type.

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What is an Outline?

Outlines are an essential part of writing articles, blog posts, a book or an essay. It’s not about creating bullet points but rather organizing your thoughts in order to get them down on paper. It’s a way to make sure your thoughts are organized and well-thought-out.

An outline usually starts with the preamble, which lists what you’re going to talk about in that section of the document: “I’m talking about point one; I’ll give an example.” There is also often a thesis statement for each part or section of the document.

Once you’ve written your preamble, thesis statement and sections for each part or section, go back to see if there’s anything that needs to be added or cut out. You can also add a conclusion at this point. Once all this is done, it should make sense what order these points should follow.

The outline can also come in handy for a writer who is stuck with the first sentence. You don’t need to rework your whole document; focus on that opening paragraph, and fill it out until you’ve written an introduction to your topic or idea.

Why Should you Use an Outline?

It is easier to write when it’s organized. As a writer, you are most likely spending hours on your work, and in order to produce the best quality content, organization will help with time efficiency.

Outlines also ensure that everything needed for an article or blog post has been included before sending in the final copy – which helps eliminate those “oops” moments.

The outline guide can also come in handy when you’re trying to be more mindful about what information is important and what’s not.

Plus, it helps writers avoid writer’s block by giving them a framework for their writing! It makes the process much easier because it ensures that all of your thoughts are organized for you to get them down on paper.

There are several different types of outlines that writers can use, from the traditional five-paragraph essay format to the more modern word outline.

No matter what type of writing or article you’re working on, there’s an outline guide for it!

Different Outline Formats

In the traditional five-paragraph essay format, you will need to have an introductory paragraph (which can also be used as a thesis statement), three body paragraphs and a concluding paragraph.

You should include transitions within your outline for it to make sense of how these points connect. Your introduction is where you introduce what theme or idea your paper will be about, and your conclusion can act as a transition or introduction for your next idea.

Alphanumeric Outline Format

The alphanumeric outline is a word-based format that uses letters to categorize the points you want to make. In this type of outline, every letter will represent a point, and then each one of these points should have at least two subpoints – A for the first subpoint, B for the second and so on.

sample of an alphanumeric outline

Picking A College

I. Pick Desired Colleges

        A. Pay a visit to various campuses

        B. Visit college websites and take time to evaluate each

                1. Take note of interesting classes

                2. Pay attention to statistics

                        a. The rate of student retention

                        b. The faculty/student ration

II. Prepare Your Application

        A. Prepare A Well Written Personal Statement

                1. Pick an interesting topic

                        a. describes someone who has had a positive influence on you

                                 (1) your favorite teacher in high school

                                 (2) grandfather

                2. Include personal details that are important

                        a. participation in summer varsity sports

                        b. volunteering

         B. Improve personal statement

III. Create, edit, and organize your resume

         A. List the coursework relevant to what you are applying for

         B. List past work experience

         C. List examples of volunteer work

                1.tutor at summer camp specializing in foreign languages

                2. psychiatrist working at the suicide hotline

Decimal Outline Format

The decimal outline format is the same as alphanumeric except that the outline is written in whole numbers instead of letters. It is used by some people when writing an essay, research paper or blog post to help organize thoughts and ideas while drafting a document.

Main ideas or topics are numbered using a whole digit, while subtopics that build on the main topic are numbered using a decimal point in relation to the main topic. For example, the first sentence of a blog post would be numbered as “1. Main Topic”, and any subtopics in relation to that topic are noted with decimal points such as “1.1 Subtopic.”

Sample of A Decimal Outline

Picking A College

1. Pick Desired Colleges

          1.1 Pay a visit to various campuses

          1.2 Visit college websites and take time to evaluate each

                    1.2.1 Take not of interesting classes

                    1.2.2 Pay attention to statistics

                              1.2.2.1 The rate of student retention

                              1.2.2.2 The faculty/student ration

2. Prepare Your Application

          2.1 Prepare A Well Written Personal Statement

                    2.1.1 Pick an interesting topic

                              2.1.1.1 describe someone who has had a positive influence on you

                                        2.1.1.1.1 your favorite teacher in high school

                                        2.1.1.1.2 grandfather

                    2.1.2 Include personal details that are important

                              2.1.2.1 participation in summer varsity sports

                              2.1.2.2 volunteering

          2.2 Improve personal statement

3. Create, edit, and organize your resume

          3.1 List the coursework relevant to what you are applying for

          3.2 List past work experience

          3.3 List examples of volunteer work

                    3.3.1 tutor at summer camp specializing in foreign languages

                    3.3.2 psychiatrist working at the suicide hotline

There is no limit on how many topics or subtopics can be listed, but each one should relate to the other, so it makes sense when reading through.

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The Benefits of Writing an Outline Guide

The benefits of writing an outline guide are numerous, and they include if not all;

1) Clear and concise understanding of the topic by both the writer and reader

This means that if you’re reading an outline guide, it’s likely to be clear what they’re talking about. If you’re writing one, then your mind will have a lot more clarity over everything because it’ll all be in order! You won’t need to go back over anything because it’ll all be there in front of you.

Writing and reading an outline guide is a lot easier on the brain.

2) An outline guide is useful for smooth transitions

Think about your outline guide as a table of contents. It’ll be easier to find what you’re looking for, and it’s also going to make the reading experience more pleasant because there won’t be any jarring transitions or confusing jumps!

3) Outline guide aids in the research process

If you’re writing an outline guide, it’s going to help with the research process. When you know what is and isn’t relevant, then your work will be a lot easier when researching because you’ll have already filtered out all the irrelevant parts!

It also helps if there are any missing pieces that come up while researching.

4) Writing and using an outline guide saves time when it comes to editing the document. When using an outline guide, the quality of your work is a lot more certain because it takes less time to edit!

5) Outlines helps overcome writer’s block

If you’re having some trouble getting started, writing an outline guide might be the answer! It’s a lot easier to get going when there are guidelines already in place and can even help fill in any missing gaps.

6) Outline helps the writer focus.

An outline guide can help the writer stay focused on what they’re doing. This is great for people with a short attention span because it helps them to remain focused!

9 Tips on How to Write an Outline Guide

These are 9 tips that will help you to write an outline.

1) Do not have more than three levels

2) Use headers and sub headers or bullet points for each level of the outline

3) For complex, scientific papers, include a separate section summarizing your conclusions

4) Remain focused on what you want readers to learn from your paper

5) Summarize your paper in the introduction

6) Use a different outline for each type of paper

– For example, use an introduction to summarize the research process and findings in qualitative papers

– For theoretical papers, start with your main point/question or hypothesis as well as any necessary contextual information. Follow this up by analyzing data you collected from your study

– For discussion/opinion papers, start with your thesis statement and any relevant background information. Follow this up by presenting a few paragraphs of compelling arguments in support of the statements that have been made

– For the meta-analysis, you should state what question or problem will be addressed in the paper and then summarize previous studies on that topic

– For research papers, you should summarize what has been done in the past and why your study is important. Proceed to discuss how you collected data or formulated a theory based on previous work

– For analytical articles, start with an introduction that states your position of the topic at hand and then proceed by giving arguments in favor of your position

– For literature papers, start with a summary or analysis and proceed by showing the connection between what you have read and what is happening in society today. Provide an evaluation at the end to state whether or not that work was successful

7) Use a separate section to summarize the important points of your paper

8) Have someone else review your outline to check for clarity and focus

9) Include a personal note to your reader about what you want them to take away from this paper

– For example, “This is an outline of the main points that I will cover in my research paper. My goal for this project was ‘XXX’. These are some things that could be done to accomplish these goals.

– For example, “This is an outline of the main points that I will cover in this paper. It’s important to note why we did what we did, and it’s also worth mentioning how you can apply these tips.”

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