How to Write an Essay Outline

As a student, an essay outline is sure to benefit you immensely. For one, it will provide you with an effective guide that will help you as you begin drafting your essay. Apart from that, an outline enables you to structure your essay right from the introduction to the conclusion. Best of all, this outline assists in maintaining track of the logic and completeness of your texts. Thus, it will help you avoid repeating the same information. This way, you will be making significant omissions in the direction of your account, as well as the haphazard provision of facts or claims in your article.

But even with that said, still, not many scholars know how to write an essay outline effectively. Most of the time, they will just go straight into writing without taking some time to lay out their ideas. And for those who decide to create an outline, they may only create a semblance of it due to a lack of adequate information. It is understandable since not all students have had enough practice crafting essays. Therefore, the majority are not well-conversant with what things go into excellent essay crafting.

In light of this situation, this post provides you with all the necessary information regarding outlines. It covers everything from the definition of the term to tips for creating your outline. Things get even better since we also provide you with an excellent essay outline example to help you get a better idea of what it should be like. You can use our essay outline template at any time to craft your own outline.

What Is an Essay Outline? Proper Definition

First things first, what is an essay outline? It is a tool that helps you organize your ideas as well as structure your essay correctly. It summarizes your essay, enabling you to plan your facts and arguments logically. If you are to forget whatever you had in mind at the beginning of your writing, an outline will help you remember whatever it was.

With the definition essay outline cleared out, our attention has to be on the fact that most school compositions adopt the 5-paragraph structure. Therefore, when crafting your outline, you have to ascertain that it matches the five-paragraph essay outline. Under this format, the sections you will have to pen are the introduction, thesis, body, discussion, and conclusion. This approach will suit an argumentative essay outline, persuasive essay outline, among other types of compositions.

How to Do an Outline for an Essay: Step by Step Guide

Don’t know how to do an outline for an essay? There is no need to fret. Below is a comprehensive walkthrough on tackling the same.

Go Over the Assignment Guidelines

Read the specifications of your compositions keenly, paying attention to important words, terms, and phrases. The point is to ensure that you comprehend what the educator expects of you. If you feel that are you not entirely understanding the demands, you are free to consult on the same with your teacher/ lecturer.

Formulate a Topic

Ponder on different ideas for your primary heading. Some of the ways you can keep track of whatever points come into your head are:

  • Making lists of any ideas you get. While at it, be sure to class similar ideas together to help in narrowing down on the best topics.
  • Freewriting for as long as you can and then taking time to review your ideas to identify the essential bits.
  • Clustering your ideas.
  • Posing “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how” queries. By responding to these prompts, you can come up with some great ideas on your heading.

Know Your Purpose

Quiz yourself to comprehend what you wish to achieve with your essay. Does it need you to explain a concept, compare and contrast, educate, or accomplish any other goal? Identifying the keywords in the assignment’s instructions can help you understand what the intention is.

Know Your Audience

Without thinking much about it, it is easy to say that your educator is the intended audience. However, you need to think of them under the hat of someone who is directly interested in the topic you wish to write about. If you are writing about “the negative effects of teenage sex,” imagine your educator as a teenager who needs to get your message to ensure that they are not victims.

Create Your Thesis

Develop a thesis statement for your essay. A great statement will highlight the primary focus of your essay while still providing a stance that can be argued on from both sides. It should be at least a sentence long or at most two. Regardless, your thesis statement should be quite detailed. Instead of saying, “this is excellent,” tell the reader what makes the thing you are writing about like “excellent.”

Select the Proper Structure for Your Outline

The alphanumeric essay outline format has proven to be the most effective to use for this purpose. It utilizes a sequence of roman numbers (I, II, III…) for main sections and uppercase letters (A, B, C…) for primary points under every major segment. Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3…) and lowercase alphabets (a, b, c…) are used in that order to give more details under these sections if needed.

Alternatively, you can use the decimal to create your outline structure. It utilizes a sequence of numerals to identify various segments of your essay. Under this system, the outline will start at 1.0, then 2.0, and so on for the major sections of your essay. If there are other sub-sections under the main ones, then the numbering to be adopted is 1.1, 2.1, and so on. Further subsections can be added and represented as 1.1.1, 2.1.1, and so on.

Write Full Sentences for Every Section, Subsection, and So Forth

For every corresponding heading, sub-heading, etc., write a full sentence to describe what it is all about. This way, each section will have more in-depth information to guide you throughout your writing.

Make Sure Your Titles Are Arranged Based on Importance

Ensure that the title for every section is as essential as the next ones. It means that only your sub-sections should have information of peripheral importance when compared to the primary segments.

Sub-Divide Your Main Sections

In light of the above step, you have to sub-divide each section into two or three sub-sections. Do this after listing all your primary titles first.

Put the Introduction in the First Part of the Outline

The introduction should be attention-grabbing and provide an idea regarding your topic. All the information here should be more on-point as you go through the sub-parts. The first sub-section should engagingly introduce the issue/ problem. The second sub-section should explain the heading, provide a brief history, background, or issue being addressed. The thesis statement is the last item to put in the introduction of your outline.

If you are using the decimal outline, your introduction will be under section 1.0 with sub-sections 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc.

Write Your “Body” in the Second Section

The body is the biggest segment of your essay. For this reason, you have to give it at least three sub-sections, each covering a relevant point relating to your heading. Note down your primary points without necessarily denoting them as “important points.” Just go straight to listing your fundamental issue and then write the supporting information in the following line as a sub-point. After that, explain your evidence and describe how it backs up your argument.

Consider using transition sentences while moving from one sub-section to another. Note, under the decimal outline structure, the body section can be anywhere starting from 2.0 with appropriate sub-parts.

Craft Your Conclusion

Create a verdict paragraph for your essay, reiterating the argument you made in the introduction section. When writing this part, ensure that you restate your thesis statement in different words. After that, proceed to write a final statement that shows the significance of the thesis statement, highlights feasible ways of fixing the issues covered, or how the things explored relate to the real world.

Double-Check Your Output

To wind up, go through your essay one more time to ensure that you have met all the specifications. This way, you can also brush up on parts that need improvements.

All told, check out this general essay outline sample:

  1. Introduction
  2. Essay heading
  3. Catchy sentence to capture the reader’s attention
  4. Thesis statement
  5. Primary Point #1
  6. Back up information
    1. More details
    2. More details

III. Primary Point #2

  1. Back up information
  2. More details
  3. More details
  4. Primary Point #3
  1. Backup information
    1. More details
    2. More details
    3. Conclusion
  2. Restate the thesis statement in different wording
  3. Write your final verdict, recommendations, etc.

Who Needs to Write It: How to Make an Outline for an Essay with Pros

As a student, you might be in a position whereby you cannot manage to craft your outline. You might be short on time, lack adequate knowledge on how to make an outline for an essay, or tired after a long day in school. Luckily, we have seasoned and well-reviewed writers in our company ready to offer their assistance. All you have to do is reach out to us via phone call, email, or text to access their services. 

Here, we offer expert assistance as well as professional one-on-one tips for writing any of the following:

  • A compare and contrast essay outline
  • An informative essay outline
  • An analytical essay outline
  • A narrative essay outline

Outline Example and Samples

Language Challenges to International Early Childhood Learners
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Importance of Management in Business Growth in the Workplace
The paper "Importance of Management in Business Growth in the Workplace" is a wonderful example of an outline on management. Relevant business growth in the workplace reveals the importance of management, and this is what defines any business. There are several benefits derived from managing a business.…
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Being and Nothingness by Jean Paul Sartre
The paper “Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre" is an engrossing version of an outline on philosophy. We are free to make our own choices and are therefore responsible for whenever we are in bad faith. The claim made by Sartre can be proven true. Human beings are without a doubt responsible for their thoughts and actions. …
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The Social Proof on Causes of Death and Uncertainty

The paper "The Social Proof on Causes of Death and Uncertainty " is a delightful example of an outline on psychology.

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Strengths-Based Nursing: A Case of Emma Gee Journey
The paper "Strengths-Based Nursing: A Case of Emma Gee Journey" is an excellent example of an outline on nursing.Introduction (150 words) In the introduction, I will briefly highlight the case and the main issues under consideration. A brief overview of Emma Gee journey. The objective of the study.…
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Rhetoric and Gender in Jane Austen's Persuasion
This paper "Rhetoric and Gender in Jane Austen's Persuasion" is a good example of an outline on literature. Thesis: The book tackles the themes of politics and the decline of socio-economic classism, as well as the feminist view which looks into the place of gender as a distinction in society. Introduction a. The first perception of the book. Plot summary ii.…
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Revitalizing Bermuda: Tourism Policy Planning in a Mature Island
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Impact of Homelessness on Women Veterans
The paper "Impact of Homelessness on Women Veterans" is a wonderful example of an outline on social science. Homelessness is one of the most rampant problems in society today. Unfortunately, it is also one of the problems that are least understood. It is the misconceptions about homelessness that perhaps make it so serious, especially for women veterans considering their unique situation.…
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Company Strategy
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Power in the Economy
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Entering Adulthood - Living with Parents Enables to Save Money
The paper “Entering Adulthood - Living with Parents Enables to Save Money” is an exceptional example of an outline on sociology. Normally, the period of entering adulthood marks the beginning of a new period in life, which gives an opportunity to try new roles, get versatile experience, and face the list of challenges on the way to become self-sufficient and indeed mature personality.…
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Mission and Rationale behind OSH Act
The paper "Mission and Rationale behind OSH Act" is a wonderful example of an outline on engineering and construction. The Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSH) concerns those in the construction profession and those aspiring to join the profession. The laws therein seek to protect all parties from work-related injuries by ensuring that they all have a healthy accident-free working environment.…
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Economic Decision Makers
The paper "Economic Decision Makers" is a perfect example of an outline on macro and microeconomics. We are faced with economic decision making in our everyday lives. These decisions have to be made because we have limited resources to work with. We are faced with budget constraints that force us to make sure that our expenditure never exceeds the capital available.…
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Israel Couscous Summer Salad
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Gender Inequality in Dell
The paper "Gender Inequality in Dell" is a delightful example of an outline on gender and sexual studies. In 2007, Dell recruited fresh talents in the top managerial ranks but out of all the recruits, there were no females. Dell ran ads featuring the motto stating that dude, you are getting Dell. …
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