Developing an Outline

What are Components for Effective Outlines?

By way of definition, an outline is merely an ordered list of the chief writing points of an essay or another type of academic paper. Someone might decide to use an outline to help them better organize and define their subject matter, topic and also subtopics so that they can write their paper in a manner that offers a logical progression from the initial thesis statement throughout the supporting paragraphs and eventually to the conclusion.

Before a student begins working on any kind of writing, he or she must clearly define the purpose they want to convey in their paper.

Checklist: Purpose of Writing a Paper

What is the purpose of your writing:

to inform
to persuade the reader
to explain
to convey emotions
to provide entertainment
to discover something
to evaluate something
to analyze
to compare two or more things
to define something
to criticize something
to write a satire
to warn your reader about some danger
to identify some problem
to offer solutions to a definite problem
to find out its causes
to predict its aftermath
to interpret some phenomenon or event
to instruct your reader

The type of paper, its structure, means and arguments used strongly depend on the purpose set by its writer. After making your purpose clear to yourself, proceed to making an outline.

Also, it is important to define your prospective audience which will help you to choose agruments suitable for each particular group of people. When writing a school or college paper, keep in mind that your teacher/instructor will be your audience, so you should use proper logical structure, appropriate terminology, arguments, and tone in your work.

What is a Research Paper Outline and Outline Format

If you are reading this that chances are good that you either have an assignment due or you have a desire to learn something about pre-writing. Prewriting, or ‘outlining’ as it is often referred to as is a formative precursor to the actual writing process. It is the initial step in the progression and often occur prior to the development of the first draft.

An outline can be formal or informal. For shorter writings, for example an essay, a short and simple informal outline is usually enough. A formal outline requires careful use of formal elements, like capital letters and numbers to mark the place of each idea in the structure of your intended paper, while you may create an informal outline in any convenient way, not following any strict rules. Simple as it might seem, it will help you organize your ideas and produce a better paper.