Content Outline

Writing an entire thesis or paper can sometimes be highly intimidating, especially if a beginner has thousands of ideas scattered everywhere. One can easily fall into the pit of needing help knowing where to start, how to lead the topic smoothly, and finally, come to a great conclusion. 

One of the most excellent ways to improve one’s writing is to create an organized outline of your topic. An outline of a subject is organizing one’s ideas or thoughts sequentially to make the most of it. Outlining uses main headings, subheadings, and supporting arguments to create a logical and orderly essay. 

Outlining your essay or thesis can significantly streamline one’s focus on more important topics. An article is all about moving on to the next issue organically. Outlining aids in adding appropriate transition phrases to make the content flow in a logical order. Additionally, it promotes a short and precise writing style. Thus, keeping the readers engaged till the very end. 

Types Of Organized Outlines 

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Once a person has determined the main heading, subheadings, and supporting ideas to write their essay, it is time to arrange them point-by-point. The primary purpose of organizing the essay points in such a way is to create a visual of where the article is organically leading. 

Three outlines are most commonly preferred-alphanumeric, full-sentence, and decimal outline. 

Alphanumeric Outline 

Alphanumeric outlines are the types that use Roman numerals, numbers, letters, and periods to create a well-organized structure for the entire essay structure. To understand better, follow the below steps. 

  • The main headings of the essay are assigned a roman numeral. It is jotted down on the left side of the margin, followed by a period. For instance, I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X.
  • The subheadings of the essay are then assigned an Arabic numeral (alphabets). It is jotted down on the line right below the main heading—for instance, A. B. C. D. E. F., and so on. 
  • After the subheadings come to the minor details that need to be incorporated within the subheading, these little details are assigned an Arabic numeral (number). It is double-indented on the line next to the subheading. For instance, 1. 2. 3. 4. And so on. 

Full-Sentence Outline 

As the name suggests, full-sentence outlines can be understood as main headings, subheadings, supporting ideas, or minor details expressed in complete sentences instead of phrases. Otherwise, the full-sentence outline is essentially the same as an alphanumeric outline.

Decimal Outline 

The decimal outline also follows the same format as an alphanumeric outline. However, the most significant benefit of using a decimal outline structure is that it makes it apparent how each element of the outline links to the overall design. 

What To Include In An Organized Outline

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To craft a smoothly written essay, one must conduct extensive preliminary research. In-depth research significantly helps determine the placement of each topic, idea, or evidence. 

There are three types of essay writing- argumentative, expository, and literary analysis. However, although the content of each writing style may differ, the presentation of each writing style largely remains the same. Each essay comprises an engaging introduction, a few topics, and a holistic conclusion.

Check out the general formatting and presentation of an essay. 

  1. Introduction
    1. Engaging starter 
    2. Background of the entire essay
    3. The purpose of the essay 
  1. Topic 1 
  1. First Statement 
  1. Research point 1 
  2. Research point 2
  1. Second Statement 
  1. Research point 1 
  2. Research point 2
  1. Topic 2
  1. First Statement 
  1. Research point 1
  2. Research point 2
  1. Second Statement 
  1. Research point 1
  2. Research point 2
  1. Topic 3
  1. First Statement 
  1. Research point 1
  2. Research point 2
  1. Second Statement 
  1. Research point 1
  2. Research point 2
  1. Conclusion 
  1. Summary 
  2. Significance of topic/ new ideas 
  3. Bold closing statement 

Steps For Crafting An Organized Outline 

Crafting an outline can seem like a stressful task if all of your head is full of disintegrated ideas. Follow the below-mentioned steps to create a logical, structured system for your thoughts. 

Brainstorming 

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Brainstorming is one of the most efficient ways to get your thoughts in order. One might talk to their close ones, friends, or co-workers to better understand their thought process. 

Brainstorming is typically a group activity to bring out the creative side of a person or topic to find a suitable conclusion. Consider writing down their ideas as a list on a piece of paper. This significantly helps in comprehending the greater purpose of the topic. 

Once a person has decided on the primary purpose of the topic, this will aid in determining the limitations and guidelines for the essay. One must keep in mind factors like what the readers want to read about and what you are trying to express with the help of your article. 

Storyboarding 

To get that amazingly structured essay, consider storyboarding. Storyboarding is a graphical representation of an email, article, instance, narrative, video, etc. It provides a step-by-step unfolding of the thoughts to get a better look at what is coming next in the topic. 

By creating a perfect storyboard for your essay, one can easily decide on the type of organizational structure you want for the article. 

Create A Map 

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Creating a mind map is yet another effective way to organize your ideas. It aids in making notes, reviewing all opinions, and arranging the information. Additionally, it aids in establishing a relationship between the concepts and promotes active recall. 

One can create a map by drawing a central circle on the sheet. This central circle represents the main topic of the essay. From here, one can start writing subheadings or little ideas in groups or clusters if they have similarities. One can use symbols like arrows to define the flow of the article. 

Structuring An Outline

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As mentioned earlier, there are three types of fundamental outlines- alphanumeric, full-sentence, and decimal outlines. However, in a broader sense, there are two more forms of outlines- formal and informal. 

Informal outlines can be understood as outlines that are primarily used to outline an essay. It typically involves brainstorming your ideas and planning out the particular order of the main topics. However, an informal outline does not require the use of roman numerals, Arabic numerals, letters, numbers, or periods. Simple bullets are enough to draw an informal outline. 

On the other hand, a formal outline tends to be more technical. A technical overview requires meticulous assigning of numerals to get a well-organized essay structure. These outlines are typically preferred for more complex articles.

Defining The Sections

Once you have decided on the main topics and the flow of the essay, it is essential to craft a map for the essay. The primary purpose of an essay is to enlighten the readers with exceptional knowledge. Hence, creating a map for the essay becomes the next crucial step. 

It includes adding relevant information to your major and minor topics. One can add details or lead to their supporting ideas using examples, instances, quotes, facts, personal experiences, etc. 

Finalizing The Outline 

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Writing is a repeated process. Thus all skilled authors keep going back and improving their work until they believe it to be at its finest. The same is true with an outline; it should serve as a comprehensive strategy to steer your essay in the direction you intend. Determine the links between your primary points and ensure you have covered your thoughts. 

Tips For Writing An Organized Outline 

Check out the following insightful tips for writing an outline. 

  • Meticulous Writing- To be an excellent writer, one must understand the importance of expressive writing. This means that writers must give their readers vivid imaginations instead of vague ideas. Try adding extensive details to your characters, plots, statements, etc., while keeping it concise. 
  • Purpose Of Essay- One must never forget the purpose of writing the said essay. Whether it is informational, persuasive, or entertaining, it helps maintain the flow of the essay.
  • In-Depth Research- Before starting the writing process, conducting in-depth research on the topic is essential. This helps in understanding what the essay demands from the writer. 

Conclusion 

Creating an outline for an essay helps a writer in various ways. It significantly takes the burden off that comes with disintegrated thoughts. Outlining helps in giving a logical direction to ideas and thoughts. It promotes active recalling and establishing relevant connections between the different concepts of the essay. 

One can quickly finalize their essay efficiently by getting their thoughts in order, outlining, and filling it up with relevant information. However, one must remember to review or proofread the paper before finalizing it. You can contact us if you are looking for well-organized content outlines. 

FAQs

  1. What are the main three elements of crafting an outline?  

The entire outline of an essay revolves around the three main elements or sections- introduction, body, and conclusion. It is essential to start your essay with an interesting fact or quote to get your readers hooked. Additionally, one must focus on delivering a solid closing statement while keeping it simple. 

  1. What is the proper format of an outline?

An outline’s proper formatting includes using Roman numerals, alphabetic letters, and Arabic numerals for topics. Roman numerals are assigned to the main headings, followed by capital letters for subheadings and Arabic numerals for sub-subheadings. 

  1. What are the two main important points to remember while writing an outline?

The two essential points to remember while writing an outline are- connecting each concept and making smooth transitions from paragraph to paragraph. 

  1. What is the one important rule for crafting an outline?

Every outline needs to have a thesis or concluding sentence at the start. The core principle of the paper is articulated in this thesis statement. It should always be a complete, grammatically correct statement presenting your position on the subject clearly and concisely.

  1. What are the two types of outlines?

The main types of outlines are- topic and sentence outlines. To summarize the subject, topic outlines consist of short phrases and words. However, sentence outlines use complete sentences to sum up the topic.

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