Developing an Outline
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 persuade the reader|
|to convey emotions|
|to provide entertainment|
|to discover something|
|to evaluate something|
|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.
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.