Often, students find preparing an outline for essay writing to be boring and fruitless. They can’t imagine why professors insist on their dividing them into sections and subsections.
All too often, students actually write down an outline only after they have finished the text. However, as will be discussed below, a detailed outline can be immensely helpful in composing a paper.
- First, it helps you stay focused on your main questions you want to address, and prevents off topic digressions. This issue becomes rather critical when there is a maximum word count.
- Secondly, essay plan is a good way of organizing one’s arguments and examples in a logical order.
- It helps the reader follow your arguments.
- It can help you defend your paper.
To see the advantages of outlines for essay writing, look at the different possible forms.
Writing an Outline for Essay Organization: Which Type to Choose
If you are preparing an outline for essay composition, you could take one of several approaches:
- For instance, a sentence style outline reminds you of how you plan to discuss each question and supporting example. Make note of how to make graceful and persuasive transitions from one point to the next. Although tedious, this can be a lifesaver at three a.m., when you can barely remember your own name.
- Alternatively, you can use bullet points if you know exactly what you want to say. This takes less time and space.
The following steps will show how creating a plan of the essay can benefit you.
Writing an Outline for Essay Organization: The Main Steps
- Think carefully about your intended topic, and single out the primary issues/main arguments you want to mention. Condense these into your introductory outline entry.
- Divide your essay into sections and sub-sections, for example.
- You will probably have supporting material from your various references.
Note the main point each author makes, including their name and a link (helpful in finding this again!).
- Alternatively, write down the main arguments that you would like to make. List the supporting examples you wish to use.
- Use highlighting for emphasis.
- Note your conclusion – suggest alternate wordings for restating your thesis statement.
- Remind yourself of an applicable word counts/limits at the beginning of each section. Don’t be scared to go back and modify, if your research suggests a new direction.
With this basic information recorded, you can turn to guides for your assigned citation style (e.g., MLA, Harvard, Chicago, etc.) for format specifics. Most importantly, this plan will help you simplify and remember all the points you wish to assert for even the most complicated topic. If your professor suggests that you should write an outline for your essay, do so! Students who have put the effort into pre-planning will find the task of writing is much easier.