How to Write an Essay Outline Correctly

How to Write an Essay Outline Correctly

On average students write up to 15 essays per term. Each of them included 40-60 pages. It is a challenge to create texts on 30 different topics and 1800 pages per academic year. For those who can structure thoughts effortlessly, it’s like a paradise. In the other case, troubles begin. A person should quickly define for which message he/she wants to deliver and in what manner. The most efficient way to do it is to make an essay outline.

What is an outline

It’s a small structured summary of each essay point. An outline is something like an extended version of your plan. Here you should not just name your points but write in a few words what exactly you should notice in each one. Outlining is helpful for everyone who needs to write a large amount of material.

How to write an outline? This point we would like to highlight below. Useful tips and real examples are waiting for your attention below.

Structure your material

It’s the first rule of successful paper outline writing. But let’s get back a bit. Before you think about how you should place some essay parts, don’t forget to read a lot about the topic. Yes, it’s the key condition to move forward without issues. First read all the recommended literature and research some extra data (if it’s possible) to make your essay more informative and fascinating for any reader. When you get all the necessary data, you will have much more ideas how to structure an essay and place each important fact in 60 pages. 

So, how to make an outline after the above preparation? 

  1. Choose the central point of your thesis statement. The last one is the purpose on why you should write an essay. So, determine a core problem, or voice your point of view. Form a thesis outline – the base of what you will write. Knowing the topic, you can easily cope with the first step.
  2. Write down all arguments. Okay, you’re dealing with the above challenge. Now it’s time to write some proofs on why the core argument is correct. 
  3. Pick some of the most powerful arguments and exclude weak ones. 

These tips help to make the work easier and faster. So, don’t worry, your opinion will look strong and justified.

Put in order all you have

Here is one more piece of advice on how to do an outline. So, you already have all the data, key thesis, and a few arguments. It’s time to connect them. It’s arduous to determine which argument will be the first and how they will match each other. 

So, the following questions enable understanding of how to create an outline logically.

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other ones first?

All the data you have should be transformed into one well-structured story. 

Have you ever seen essay templates? Of course, you have. It consists of 3 parts: intro, main body, and conclusion. So, better to place the core thesis in the intro piece or at the main body beginning. Any reader should understand what this paper is about to continue reading. 

Then define a logical connection between your arguments. The first argument should be the most powerful. Others should support it as well as the main idea. Let the reader draw his/her conclusions. Just explain why you think the core thesis is true.

What We Get When The Outline is Finished 

Outline formats are different and belong to types of essays. So, before making an outline, analyze some templates to make sure you will do the right thing. Sometimes it’s hard to find an appropriate sample. No worries! Use a general template below as a basis for your work. You can make some custom peculiarities during the work. And now, let’s evaluate what we have for you.

General Essay Outline Template

  1. Introduction paragraph outline 

1.1. Lead paragraph wth a hook

1.2. Purpose and background

1.3. Core thesis (thesis statement)

  1. Topic 1

2.1. Argument 1

2.1.1. Proof 1

2.1.2. Proof 2

2.2. Argument 2

2.2.1. Proof 1

2.2.2. Proof 2

  1. Topic 2

3.1. Argument 1

3.1.1. Proof 1

3.1.2. Proof 2

3.2. Argument 2

3.2.1. Proof 1

3.2.2. Proof 2

  1. Topic 3

4.1. Argument 1

4.1.2. Proof 1

4.1.2. Proof 2

4.2. Argument 2

4.2.1. Proof 1

4.2.2. Proof 2

  1. Conclusion paragraph

5.1. Summary

5.2. Topic importance

5.3. Last powerful statement

You will get something like this. For convenience, describe in a nutshell what exactly each essay element will contain. Sometimes the essay outline is part of the assignment and must be approved by a tutor. In this case, having several sentences for each part of the paper is a necessity. 

Argumentative essay outline example

The argumentative essay is a type of assignment that requires a topic investigation. So, a student has to gather and analyze proofs to make the core thesis stronger. An argument essay outline shouldn’t be so detailed. State your main points in short sentences.

Here you go first custom essay outline example. We hope it will help you to understand key principles better. Let’s take a topic: Do world governments have to prevent climate change?

1. Introduction paragraph

1.1. Environment and why it’s important

1.2. Challenges that affect the environment

1.3. Core thesis: Governments have to participate in climate change prevention

Topic 1: Earth environment is irreplaceable for humanity

2.1. The good and bad impact of the environment on human health and life

2.1.1. Statistics supporting addiction

2.1.2. Results of an independent investigation of climate changes impact on humans

2.2. Outer space is not suitable for peoples’ life

2.2.1. The main reasons why space is not a favorable environment

2.2.2. Results of medical examinations of astronauts who spent time in space/open space

3. Topic 2: The impact of human activities on climate change

3.1.  How humans are driving climate change

3.1.1. The main industries that provoke climate change

3.1.2. Consequences of human activity and examples of damage to nature

3.2. How humanity is trying to prevent climate change

3.2.1. Examples of conservation communities, campaigns, and demonstrations for environmental protection

3.2.2. The results of human conservation activities

4. Topic 3: Role of government support in preventing climate change

4.1. The need to support nature protection activities by state bodies

4.1.1. Number of campaigns that did not succeed due to lack of government support

4.1.2. Examples of active government action to eliminate the threat of climate change

4.2. International government action to tackle climate change

4.2.1.  International documents and agreements on the prevention of climate change. The status of Antarctica

4.2.2. Cohesive actions of states to prevent climate change and their effect

5. Conclusion paragraph

5.1. Combining connections between 3 key topics supporting the core thesis

5.2. Consequences of climate change

5.3. Active position of humanity in the fight for climate

The above outline sample is similar to the general one. That’s right. You can reformat the main template yourself, knowing the specifics of each outline writing.

Expository essay outline example

The next step is an expository essay, the essence of which is to establish cause-and-effect connections. The student should show how the technological revolution of the 19th century impacted the production growth during this period. In the below  essay outline example  you can see slight distinctions from the previous template. The author still has to present the material as short as possible, but some of the sentences should be expanded.

  1. Introduction paragraph

1.1. The technical revolution of the 19th century is a watershed event that changed the course of human development

1.2. The production condition before the revolution in general

1.3. Core thesis: The technical revolution provided the development of industries and improved the quality of manufactured goods

  1. Topic 1: Industry in the pre-revolutionary period

2.1. The main difficulties in production that hinder the industries development 

2.2. Tools used in manufacturing before the revolution 

2.3. Social system features

  1. Topic 2: The 19th-century industrial revolution: how it was

3.1. How the revolution began. The steam engine invention in Great Britain

3.2. The value of such inventions for the production 

3.3. How the industrial revolution spread

  1. Topic 3: How the industrial revolution of the 19th century influenced the development of world manufacturing

4.1.  Key technical innovations to optimize production

4.2.  Changes in the social structure

4.3. Comparisons of manufactured goods quality before and after the technical revolution

  1. Conclusion paragraph

5.1. Sum up the previous story

5.2. Underline the importance of the industrial revolution for the quality and  speed of manufacturing

As seen, this  example of an outline  is slightly shorter than the argumentative essay one. Comparative brevity is achieved by needless to highlight arguments. Thus, this type of essay is storytelling explaining the influences or connections of one subject/phenomenon with others.

Narrative essay outline example

A narrative essay is one of the readers’ favorite types. It is an explanation or step-by-step instruction on how to achieve a specific effect or result. In a narrative essay outline, a concise structure with complex, detailed sentences is appropriate. Pay attention to the following sample:

  1. Introduction paragraph

1.1. Lead paragraph & Core thesis: How to lose 15 kg of weight in 1 year

  1. Topic 1: During my college years, I suffered from bullying due to extra weight. It prevented me from adapting to society, affected my health and self-confidence. I decided to work on my shortcomings

2.1. I revised my nutrition, formed a diet, and stopped eating large portions.

2.2. My goal took me to the gym, where I worked out every day for 2-3 hours

  1. Topic 2: My weight became less and the body became more hardy

3.1. Thanks to cardio loads and a balanced diet, I lost 3 kg in a month

3.2. Going in for sports, I fell in love with running and after 3 months of active exercise, I was able to cover distances of 5 km without rest

  1. Topic 3: After a year of active work, I lost 15 kg and won the 10 km race

4.1. Long training sessions pushed me to take part in the 10 km race. I competed with the guys who have been involved in athletics for a long time and won.

4.2. Sports activities and a balanced diet allowed me to feel more confident. I realized that a person should strive for what makes life convenient

  1. Conclusion paragraph

5.1.  I used bullying against myself as a motivation to become the best version of myself and to be delighted with the result

This essay outline example has a narrative tone. This way, people can read and understand the sense of your story, written in a nutshell, without reading the long version.

Research essay outline example

A research essay is primarily about novelty. Its main task is to enable you to find and analyze the material on the topic to draw your conclusions and share thoughts with readers. Many students are often faced with this type of assignment. So they wonder about how to write a research paper outline in the right way. Here the outline should contain an extended thesis and a concise description of the essay structure. So, we’re glad to provide you with a research paper outline template:

  1. Introduction paragraph

1.1. Core thesis: Microservice software architecture allows a business to be flexible and quickly adapt to changes in the market

1.2. Arguments why microservices positively affect business performance

2. Topic 1: Microservice architecture in general

2.1. What microservices are

2.1.1. Defining Microservices and Microservices Architecture

2.1.2. The history of microservice architecture

2.2. Key peculiarities of microservices

2.2.1. Ensuring independence

2.2.2. A small amount of code

2.2.3. Interoperability between microservices

3. Topic 2: How to use applications with a microservice architecture

3.1. Features of the transition from traditional (monolithic) architecture to microservices

3.1.1. What a monolithic architecture is

3.1.2. Monolith vs. microservices: pros and cons of each architecture type

3.1.3. How to switch from a monolithic architecture to microservices

3.2. Difficulties that may arise when switching to microservices

3.2.1. List of issues

3.2.2. How to avoid difficulties within transition (an author’s opinion)

4. Topic 3: Microservice architecture for the development of industries

4.1. Reasons why microservice architecture has a positive impact on business

4.1.1. Description of each reason

4.1.2. Statistics and research results

4.2. Examples of large companies that have switched to microservices and outlining the benefits they have received

4.2.1. Example 1

4.2.2. Example 2

5. Conclusion paragraph

5.1. To sum up all the research results and the author’s personal opinion on the impact of microservice architecture on business

Tips for writing an essay outline

Writing outline is not an easy task. Students often don’t know where to start. We’ve prepared 5 basic tips for you  how to write an outline for an essay.

  1. Study the material first. Knowledge will allow you to understand in which direction you should move when writing an essay.
  2. Evaluate some essay outline examples you need to write. The assignment type determines how the outline will look.
  3. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Try to organize all the data you received in your head and put the key information on paper.
  4. Highlight core thesis – it’s the thing you have to prove, describe, etc. Identify the main arguments or information that will help strengthen the thesis.
  5. Structure the thesis and arguments using the template. Write the short content of each essay paragraph, if necessary.

We hope these examples and tips will be helpful to you. Good luck in writing outline for an essay.