OutlinesWhy 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:
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
Ex. To defend/oppose the death penalty
- 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 discuss the writing styles of two authors
- Comparison/ Contrast order presents similarities/differences between 2 or more subjects. This type of organizations is good for writing about multiple subjects.
-Ex: To explain how you constructed your National History Day project.
- 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.
Types of Outlines1. Topic Outlines list topics to be covered without specific details- They are stated in words and phrases.- They are useful in short essays2. 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 StructureIn 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:Click on the following to view additional SAMPLE TOPIC AND SENTENCE OUTLINES