• Outlines
    Why use outlines?
    Using outlines helps you organize your paper.   If you are a writer who has trouble deciding which information belongs in your paper, outlines can help you spot connections between topics and topics that are not relevant to the purpose of your paper. Before you even begin writing your paper, you will know how to order your paragraphs and what information you need to add and/or remove to remain on focus if you use outlining effectively.
    Working Outlines or Preliminary Outlines are "rough draft" versions that you develop as you are researching  and beginning to organize your writing.   If your teacher requires a working outline, it is to make sure that you are on the right track with your paper BEFORE you begin to draft the actual paper. You can revise the working outline as often as needed to reflect new research and/or suggestions from your teacher.
    Final Outlines are submitted with your final copy of a paper.  They should reflect the order of the paper.  They are a valuable tool to help guide your teacher /reader through your paper

    How do I prepare an Outline?

    Before beginning an outline, you need to decide how your paper will be orgainzed.  How you organize you paper depends on your purpose:  Are you writing to inform?  to Persuade?  to entertain? 
         The following is a brief list of some patterns of organization that may work for you:


      1. Chronological order presents events in order of occurrence.  They are good for reporting the history of a subject.                                                                                            Ex. To explain events leading to the launch of a shuttle
      1. Order of importance presents details in order of  increased or decreased  levels of importance.  This type of organization is ideal for persuasive writing that requires building an argument.
                                          Ex.  To defend/oppose the death penalty
      1. Comparison/ Contrast order presents similarities/differences between 2 or more subjects.  This type of organizations is good for writing about multiple subjects.
                                        Ex. To discuss the writing styles of two authors
      1. Process order presents the steps taken to arrive at some type of outcome.  This type of organization is good for describing a method for completing a project or other complicated task.
    -Ex:  To explain how you constructed your  National History Day project.

    Types of Outlines

                     1.   Topic Outlines  list topics to be covered without specific details
                                        - They are stated in words and phrases.
                            - They are useful in short essays
       2.   Sentence Outlines  contains major points with their supporting details

                            -They are longer and more formal

                            -Each point is a complete sentence
    * Delete everything from your outline that is repetitive and/or irrelevant to your thesis statement or that cannot be supported with your research

    Outline Structure

    In general, MLA (The Modern Language Association) suggests the following basic structure for ANY outline:
    The following sample of a topic outline is also taken from the 1994 MLA Handbook:
    sentence outline
    Click on the following to view additional SAMPLE TOPIC  AND SENTENCE OUTLINES