Essay Outline

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to Write the Essay Outline

Essay OutlineThe essay outline is an essential step in the process of writing essays. Outlines guide you in writing the final essay, keep you on track structurally, and help you review the material you need for the essay. Many courses and instructors specifically ask for the outline as a part of the paper. You could think of the outline as your guide through the process of writing.
There are different ways in which you could write the outline. You could write out only the headings and leave the blanks or fill a form for the outline with all relevant notes pertaining to the specific paragraphs. The typical outline will look something like this:

  • Introduction

Thesis

  • Body paragraph 1

Topic sentence
Detail # 1, explanation, example
Detail # 2, explanation, example
Detail # 3, explanation, example
Detail # 4, explanation, example

  • Body paragraph 2

Topic sentence/Transitional sentence
Detail # 1, explanation, example
Detail # 2, explanation, example
Detail # 3, explanation, example
Detail # 4, explanation, example

  • Body paragraph 3

Topic sentence/Transitional sentence
Detail # 1, explanation, example
Detail # 2, explanation, example
Detail # 3, explanation, example
Detail # 4, explanation, example

  • Conclusion

Summary
Reemphasis of thesis

There are online sites with colorful examples of outlined for five-paragraph essays. These examples present simple yet lucid illustrations of how to structure the essay along clear lines.

The important function of the essays outline are to review the presentation of your ideas in a structured and streamlined manner. It helps you check the order of presentation, the relevance of the points you want to write, and the gaps, if any, in the flow of ideas. For example, if you were to write an essay on how to bake a cake, your outline could help you arrange the steps in order of importance. Once you have this step wise arrangement of the outline, you could go back to check if you have included all the steps required. If you have left out a step, now is the time to put in the reminder through the outline you create for the essay.

The outline also helps you to check for relevance. Are the ideas relevant to the topic? Have you included any point that seems out of joints for the essay? What gaps do you see in the transition from one paragraph to another? For this reason, it often helps to write down each point rather than just prepare a skeletal structure with only headings and subheadings.

The essay outline is a useful part of the paper as it keeps you in tune with your original plan for the essay. It helps you stay on track and guides the content and structure of the essay. Once you have written the essay completely, you could always return to take stock with the help of the outline.

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