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Have you ever asked yourself how all the stories, novels, and even articles are written? Is it just the constant flow of ideas and thoughts in a writer’s head that makes him/her being able to write a good deal of a text or special training is required?
The truth is, no matter how gifted you are, but to write a good piece, you have to outline your thoughts in a logical way and create a plan or a carcass for your would-be text.
That is why, when you have an academic assignment to write an essay or a research paper, start with writing an outline for it. You will be surprised to see how much easier it is to fill in that carcass with text than just to write an unshaped train of thoughts on a blank page.
So, let’s get your train of thoughts outlined by the guidelines below.
List of contents:
As you can see above, even for this article, we’ve created an outline to organize the information accurately and, thus, make it digestible for the readers. Now let’s pass to the core point of this article and answer the main question here: “What is an essay outline?”
In simple words, an essay outline is a plan, which you create for an essay or a research paper in order to structure the information, arguments, and ideas inside a big text. Your plan items will be the source for making paragraphs in the course of writing.
Speaking of the outline essay format, here everything depends on the purpose of your outline – if you have to show your essay outline to the professor, write complete sentences and make your plan easy to understand.
In case you are creating such an outline for yourself, it may be enough to use phrases or shape your thoughts in any convenient way. Most important in this process is for you to understand and restore the information in your mind the moment you look at the plan items.
Simply imagine how much data, facts, statements you come across while gathering the information for your academic paper. Imagined? Now think how to comprise it all into your text or how to choose the most suitable points and not to forget about some pieces of information. To fulfill these functions, outlines have been invented.
To put it into practice, use the following tips on how to make an outline for your essay:
Parts of your outline for essay correspond to the obligatory paragraphs, which are standard for most academic papers:
In total, you will normally have five paragraphs, which means five main parts of your outline. Further, they will be subdivided into additional plan items.
Find below a most simple sketch for an outline, which you can use as a template to write an essay outline of your own:
Optionally you can include transitional sentences to finish each of your body paragraphs and show their connection with the other parts.
This short example of an outline structure can make it easier for you to get this academic assignment done. In case you feel that this task overburdens you, there is always an option to rely on our essay writing service.
Of course, you can organize the points of your outline in the manner you feel right and easy to understand. Especially if we say that the core goal of outline writing is to help you restore the information from your research and properly organize the structure of your paper.
However, you need to know that there are two main types of essay outline structure which are officially accepted: Alphanumeric and Decimal structure. In general, they are very similar, but there are also differences in data submission. For some people, the Decimal type seems more logical to show the connection between the ideas, but alphanumeric is still more widely used as it seems easier to build.
So, let’s revise these outline structure types in more detail together with illustrative examples.
In this outline, Roman type numbers, such as I, II. III, etc. are used to identify main essay parts, like introduction, body paragraphs (usually three headers for denoting each paragraph), and conclusion.
Capital letters, like A, B, C, etc. serve to represent core ideas inside every important essay part.
Arabic numbers, like 1, 2, 3, etc. represent other important points of each paragraph.
Lower case letters, like a, b, c, d, etc. can be used when there are some additional details, which should be highlighted.
Have a look at the essay outline template below to get a feel of it:
Topic: “Social being determines consciousness.”
If you’ve noticed, the points of our essay outline are written using the principles of parallel construction:
This is no coincidence – if your outline items are of similar grammatical form, tense, or structure, it is easier to comprehend such a roadmap, and it is more accurate.
Instead of gerund, you can use the infinitive or other forms and sentence types. The main idea is to adhere to a similar pattern when writing your outline headings and subheadings.
The decimal structure resembles the Alphanumeric. However, neither capital nor lower case letters are used here. Only combinations of numbers are applied to start each paragraph heading or subheading:
Now, it may seem not very easy-to-understand. For clarity, look at the following essay outline template:
Topic: “Healthy lifestyle is the best remedy.”
Sometimes it is also required to specify the sources of citations at the end of the essay outline after the conclusion part. The style you use for the outline determines how to provide references and format your outline. The main formatting styles for the outline are MLA and APA.
The differences between these styles are not major. For example, for the MLA outline, you have to use sentence citations, while APA abstracts are needed. We mostly refer to MLA when dealing with the liberal arts. And for social sciences, APA is recommended.
Also, you don’t have to include the title page in the case of MLA. At the same time, the APA style demands it. Just for your reference, look at the following Title page example for the essay outline:
Title: Poisonous influence of ultraviolet radiation on the skin.
Student name: John Elliot
Professor’s name: Dr. Lewis Blake
Class: Class of 2018
As you can see, the difference between APA and MLA is slight, while the purpose of essay outline formats is shared – serve as a help for writers to organize their writings properly.
Is this topic still vague for you? Our essay writing service was created to help students make things clear. There is no time to spare when your deadline is approaching – request professional help and have your outline for an essay in the bag.
Knowing the theory sometimes is not enough to write an essay outline. For someone, it may be an easy task; for others, it requires much time and effort to succeed.
So, we’ve tried to come up with a couple of tricks to coach you for this assignment:
We’ve done our best here to supply you with comprehensive information and guidelines. However, if you need hands-on assistance with writing an outline for your essay, you know where to find us.