Essay outline – things to know before getting started

An essay outline is always a great idea – whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer. Even though the writing is a creative process, it still requires logic, so any writer must use an outline that acts as a plan for future work.

With the help of an essay outline writers can provide a clear structure and a smooth flow of the story, assist readers in understanding your ideas and giving them logical arguments that are readable and clear. In addition, the essay outline greatly saves time because you already know what arguments will be discussed in the paper and only need to put the thoughts on paper.

However, mastering the art of outlining may take time. To simplify the process and to improve your writing skills in the future, we recommend turning to our professional guidelines on writing an essay outline. Below you will find all the necessary tips for crafting a thorough and detailed plan of action!

Step-by-step guide on writing an essay outline

 Our experts have collected all the steps needed to craft a great outline. Print them out or learn by heart and you’ll always get an A+!

1.     Research the topic

Everything starts with understanding the topic. If you don’t know what the subject is about, it will be impossible to create a solid work. That is why you should surf the internet and find all the credible articles, journals, and books on the topic. If you are working on a research paper, an additional list of literature is also needed.

2.     Identify the objective

When you have information to base the research on and know your point of view on the matter, it’s the right time to write down the main objectives. They can come in the shape of a thesis or a question. Don’t forget that the essay must support the objective with enough evidence. Thus, an objective will help you to remain focused.

3.     Make a list of research points

At this stage, you need to make a skeleton of the future essay. List all the arguments to discuss in the paper but don’t provide any details. Brainstorm the sources and find a few major points that will make up the basis for your future essay.

Don’t worry, these ideas can be polished throughout the work, so there is no need to rewrite the list until it seems perfect.

4.     Organize your ideas

When you organize the ideas that should be discussed in the paper, the structure of your essay becomes clear and thorough. Put all the arguments in proper order and write a brief description to each point not to forget what you wanted to discuss.

5.     Rewrite or delete unnecessary paragraphs

Read the list once again and make sure that all of the arguments are relevant for your essay. If some of them don’t seem to back the main ideas, paraphrase them or even delete them.

Why essay outline is so important

You already know how crucial it is to render your thoughts in a clear manner. When writing an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, your thoughts and arguments must follow a strict pattern, complement each other and help readers understand what your main ideas are.

Here are only some of the essay outline advantages:

  • Collecting thoughts and ideas in a systematic manner;
  • Essay flow is simple and clear;
  • All the thoughts are arranged in a logical manner;
  • Theses and hypotheses will have a great structure;
  • Professor will give you a higher grade.

Crafting a great essay outline

If you are an experienced writer, it is rather easy to create an outline. But what should a regular student do? Luckily, it’s quite easy to learn how to write an outline and with every attempt, the result will be much better. We are happy to introduce you to some of the most popular tips on writing a great outline:

1.     Make notes

When researching the sources, you should always make notes to remember the main ideas. In the future, they will help with developing evidence and providing facts. At this stage, you may write down quotes or paraphrase them in your own words to memorize facts that are important for the arguments.

Such data will make your draft informative and complete.

2.     Explore your audience

An outline is a great start to creating an outstanding school or college assignment. However, it greatly depends on the audience you are writing for – whether it is a blog post, a university article, a class essay or even a state competition. Make sure that the structure and language of your outline meet the audience, academic level, and type of paper.

3.     Define the key arguments

Make a list of all the arguments and ideas that are related to your topic. You should write down all the facts that will be further included in the paper and questions that need to be answered. Thus, you’ll have a map of ideas and arguments that will later be connected together, creating a wonderful essay!

4.     Divide ideas into different groups

When working on the outline, try collecting as much information as possible. You will then delete unnecessary data if it is no longer needed.

The number of groups depends on the size of your essay and the number of arguments you are planning to discuss. There may be three body paragraphs (groups) in a standard essay and tens of groups in research.

2020 tutorial on writing an essay outline

As you already know, an outline of a paper must contain all the details of the future work. It should be brief but yet rather informative. In case you find the above tips not enough, we have a few other guides on how to make the essay outline worth an A+:

1.     Prepare in advance

Many students neglect writing an outline because it takes too much time and in most cases, scholars start writing on the assignment only the last minute. Not to let that happen, schedule all your tasks in advance. Thus, you’ll have enough time to create a detailed and thorough outline for the future essay.

2.     Select the topic wisely and understand its goal

Often students are given enough freedom to choose the topic on their own. However, for many scholars, it becomes a disaster and they don’t know what subject to cover. Not to let that happen, choose from multiple options and consider not only the class but also your own preferences.

Once the topic is chosen, find the purpose of your assignment – it will be much easier to stick to the flow.

3.     Work on a thesis

When all the steps are completed, you are ready to start the writing process. To get the highest grade your essay must be smooth and coherent, and every sentence should support the main idea.

A thesis statement is the key element of your essay: a few sentences that explain the goal of your work. Place it at the end of the introduction and restate in a conclusion.

Always edit and proofread the assignment

If you have followed all the steps above, your outline is ready to be used in the writing process. But you should keep in mind the importance of editing and proofreading.

Both your essay outline and the paper itself must be written in a clear and professional language. And if the outline doesn’t need to be published, your essay will be read by students and teachers, so it must be free from any mistakes, typos, and errors. The best way to do that is to put the text aside for a couple of days and then give it a fresh look.

Read the draft line by line and fix all the grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. If necessary, ask the people you trust for help or upload the draft to online checkers. These programs will analyze your text and its structure.

Final thoughts

An essay outline is one of the most important writing tools no matter whether you are working on a descriptive, informative, persuasive or argumentative assignment. Sometimes teachers may even ask students to add an outline to the work to check how well they are able to structure information.

Sometimes tutors won’t even read the whole essay and will only scan the outline to see whether you have done a solid job.

We know that sounds difficult and stressful but with the tips above you’ll surely learn how to write an essay outline. And if you doubt whether you are doing everything correctly, turn to our team of professional writers – they work 24/7 and deal not only with writing but also edit and proofread drafts.

We will help you to create an outstanding essay outline or any academic paper!

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