What Is An Essay Outline?
Before writing an essay, a writer must develop an essay outline. This is a plan that structures your essay. An outline can help turn a meandering essay into an informative, focused, and convincing essay. However, an important question is how to write an essay outline.
The reason is that an outline organizes the main points supporting a thesis to make writing an essay easier. This outline helps you maintain the flow of the essay and organize your arguments better. An outline also determines the flow of the essay and the major points to be addressed. An essay outline;
- Is a short plan that directs the flow of the research.
- Helps organize thoughts to maintain the flow.
- Helps gather enough evidential data that will support your arguments.
- Acts as a reminder of any missing points that may easily be omitted.
Tips For Writing An Essay Outline.
This outline must have the form of an essay. It must have an introduction, main paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introduction, you are expected to mention the topic and its thesis. This thesis statement determines the argument your essay will present. The body paragraphs will have topic sentences that explain your thesis in detail. Body paragraphs must present facts, theories, and evidence that prove the essay’s argument. Lastly, the outline must also capture a summary of ideas to be presented in the conclusion. A conclusion is a summary of the entire argument. This also restates the thesis statement to wrap up the whole argument in style.
The structure of the outline should look like the one elaborated below.
- Topic sentences.
- Thesis statement.
- Body paragraph 1.
- The first paragraph must have a topic sentence.
- It must support the thesis with facts, theories, and evidential examples.
- Body paragraph 2.
- Introduce another argument with topic sentences that address the thesis.
- Use data and facts to make convincing arguments.
- Body paragraph 3.
- Introduce another point.
- Support this point with facts.
- Explain their correlation with the thesis.
- Restate the thesis and supporting facts.
- Summarize major arguments in the essay.
Example of An Essay Outline
Topic: Should people be encouraged to adopt?
Thesis: Adoption is an excellent initiative that provides hope for the most deserving.
Topic sentence: Adoption has many benefits that impact both the foster parents and the adoptees.
Point 1: The guardian gets to fulfill their dream of raising a child if they had none.
2: Helps build inner satisfaction by building new relationships.
3: Adoption exposes the foster parents to new activities and interests.
Topic sentence: the adoptee also gets to enjoy various benefits of adoption.
Point 1: They get to be raised in a loving family and enjoy all the provisions of that home.
2: It provides them a chance to live a normal life like those of that household.
3: They get exposure to new things in life, including culture, religion, among others.
Topic sentence: Adoption also impacts a country in general.
Point 1: adoption helps decongest orphanage homes reducing the funding strain.
2: This process also helps reduce the number of children living on the street.
3: adoptees get to enjoy all the resources available for them, including better education, healthcare, and lifestyle, which affects their future.
Adoption is a humanitarian action that should be encouraged in society. It has numerous advantages, including; providing homes to the homeless. Also, it reduces the number of street children, providing parents another chance to raise children among others.
This outline will now guide you on what to write at what point in the essay.
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Factors To Consider Before Writing An Outline.
- The type of an essay – your essay can be persuasive, argumentative, descriptive, etc.; understanding the type of your essay is important because it helps you generate ideas that will make a reasonable argument. For instance, if your essay is persuasive, you have to convince the reader that your rationale is the best argument. On the other hand, an argumentative essay may require you to give an intensive explanation of both sides of the argument without favoring one side. This consideration will enable you to collect enough evidence that supports your logic based on the type of essay you are writing.
- Your thesis statement – your thesis statement should answer the essay’s prompt. Your essay, therefore, determines the evidence and arguments you are going to present in writing. Before writing the thesis, determine what the purpose of your essay is. It can either be to inform, critique, or support an argument. Therefore, your outline will be guided by your understanding of the thesis.
- Your audience – an essay can either be presented to the instructor, classmates, or even strangers. The tone, language, and descriptions must match the audience. If you are presenting the essay to your instructor, it must be formal and stipulating evidential arguments. Essays for your classmates may be informal depending on your relationship and may sometimes consist of informal language comprehensible to your peers. This, however, does not apply when writing an academic essay.
Basic essay outline rules.
- Select a standard alphanumeric layout. The most commonly used alphanumerical structure is the roman numerical. An outline should have the major points indicated, and their reinforcement also indicated. This is to make your analysis easier when transferring the information on the final essay. For instance, if your topic sentence is “adoption has significant effects on the lives of the adoptees.” You have to reinforce this statement with an evidential fact. The reinforcement is that “the children can now have a home and live a normal life.” In your outline, it will appear like this:
- Adoption has significant effects on the lives of the adoptees.
- The children gain a new home and experience what it is like to have a family.
In other words,
- Roman numbers such as (I, II, III, IV, V, etc.) are used to mark the major sections in your outline. These can be the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
- Capital letters (A, B, C, D, etc.) can also be used to mark the major sections.
- Natural numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.) can also be used to mark the sections in the outline.
- Lowercase letters are used to mark the reinforcements of a major point.
Note: Consider coordinating your sections and subsections to maintain the flow of the essay. This is an important detail because it helps reinforce your arguments by putting together related facts and data to address a claim. You can do this by selecting an alpha numeral of your choice to mark the major points and supporting evidence.
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