Outlining Strategies

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Outlining Strategies

After you have your completed the prewriting, conducted research, and written an effective thesis statement, it is time to organize your information. One of the best ways to organize all your writing and ideas is by creating a formal outline. An outline provides general descriptions of what will appear in your paper. Through logical organization, an outline provides a visual picture of the structure of your paper and helps show relationships between and among ideas.

Creating an Outline

To create an outline, gather your prewriting and all the information you want to include in the paper. Begin to write down the information in the order you think makes the paper most logical. Normally, you outline only the body paragraphs for your essay. Include your thesis statement at the top to ensure you include only the support that defends or proves your thesis. A basic outline appears similar to the following:

Thesis: ______________________________________________

I.Body Paragraph One of the Paper
A.Point 1
B.Point 2

II.Body Paragraph Two of the Paper
A.Point 1
B.Point 2

III.Body Paragraph Three of the Paper
A.Point 1
B.Point 2

Depending on the length and detail of your paper, your outline may include many more points and sub-points (also often referred to as headings and sub-headings). Include all your source examples and any other information that makes up a paragraph, which may make your outline appear similar to the following:

I. Body Paragraph One of the Paper
A. Point 1
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2
B. Point 2
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2

II. Body Paragraph Two of the Paper
A. Point 1
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2
B. Point 2
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2

III. Body Paragraph Three of the Paper
A. Point 1
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2
B. Point 2
1. Sub-point 1
2. Sub-point 2

It is important to keep the following in mind when creating an outline:

One point can never stand...
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