How to Write a Good Essay Outline

How to Write a Good Essay Outline

Whenever you are asked to write an essay, an essay outline is your best friend. Basically, an essay outline is a simple skeleton or framework through which you can deliver an impressive essay. Therefore, knowing how to write a good essay outline is vital.

It helps ensure you do not have a hard time completing your essay on time and ensuring the quality is superb. If you do not know how to write a good essay outline, there are a couple of things you need to learn.

Tips on how to write a good essay outline

  • Choose your topic

The first thing you need to do is choose a topic for your essay. This gives it a general focus thus making it easy to begin the writing process.

  • Start with a general topic and narrow it down to a specific thesis statement. For instance rather than narrowing the topic to “the attitude the French had towards the Marquis Resistance fighters in World War II” you should consider looking at French way of life in general during German occupation.
  • Establish the purpose of your work

It is important for you to choose the end goal for your essay as it helps give it purpose and direction. Additionally, it makes it easy for you to know how write a good essay outline in a logical manner. To accomplish this, you:

  • Can compare or contrast two things which makes you will make connections and engage your readers as well. Ensure you research your topic thoroughly and you understand what is expected from you.
  • Present effects and cause-While writing your essay, it is important to show the reason something happened.
  • Present your argument
  • Present evidence for the essay and draw your conclusion. It is always important for you to back up your thesis statement and conclusions with evidence regardless of the kind of essay you are working on (personal, persuasive or creative essay).

If you click here you will find a sample essay that clearly follows the steps mentioned above. Review it to get a clearer picture of what is expected from you while writing an essay outline.

Start by writing the thesis statement

Once you have selected your topic, it is important to write an ideal thesis statement. This is important since the thesis sets the feel and outlook of the entire essay. Your thesis should be a reflection of what you intend to write about.

As such, it is important to carefully review the information and supporting material you have gathered in order to write a relevant thesis statement.

Follow with the introduction

The introduction is supposed to be captivating enough to draw the reader in and compel them to read the essay. As such, it is advisable to keep your introduction short and sweet. Use quotes, numbers, statistics or other relevant information to write a compelling introduction.

  • Collect supporting materials

These could be anything from theories, images, quotes, statistics, personal reflections or plot points depending on the kind of essay you are working on. Ensure these points fully support your essay and they do not conflict with the ideas or evidence you present.

  • Assertions should be expanded with examples, evidence or warrants. Your outline should be written in a manner that strengthens your essay and makes it easy to point out any potential holes in research.
  • While collecting your information for the outline, make sure you note the page numbers of the books or sources where you get information. This is important as it makes work easier when you have to reference or go back to your source.
  • Pick a suitable topic outline

Your topic outline is supposed to be short with general phrases that make it flexible. Additionally, your sentence outline should be comprised of complete sentences that address the complexity of your topic.

To help you with this start the outline as a topic outline that has structural flexibility later you can convert it to sentence outline. With these tips on how to write a good essay outline, you should be able to write a winning essay.

Writing the outline

  • Decide on your supporting evidence

Your purpose is to make sure the supporting evidence you have is in full support of the larger purpose of your essay. You want to ensure you present it in a manner that is most effective. Therefore, start writing the outline by presenting your strongest evidence and ensure there is a natural flow in presentation.

For instance, if the essay has a historical overview presentation, consider writing chronologically. On the other hand, if you are working on an argument, you have to take a stance and present evidence that supports the decision you make.

  • Identify the main categories

On the basis of the larger goal of the essay and the kind of supporting evidence you have, it is important to establish the best way to break down the topic into logical categories. These form the level of the outline which should be labelled with Roman numerals (I, II, III etc).

  • While writing an essay, it is ideal to devote a single category to one paragraph. This means that I. would be introduction paragraph while II. Would be the first paragraph of the essay body.
  • For instance, while presenting historical car overview, you can have each category covering a major era in its history.
  • At least think of two points for every category

You should choose sub-points on the basis of the essays purpose and the supporting material you have collected. These form the second level of your essays outline which is labelled with English alphabet A, B, C etc

  • Indent second level of the outline 0.5 to 1 inch past the first level. For instance, in the case of the historical car overview, you can have each point covering an engine model during that time.
  • If necessary, use sub-points to expand your points

This is important as it helps minimize logical grounding of the essay. These should be put in the third section of the outline which should be labeled in numbers 1, 2, 3 etc.

Important tips on how to write a good essay outline

Knowing how to write a good essay outline is not an easy task. That said, it is not a task to shy away from either because with these tips, it is possible to write an amazing essay:

  • While writing your outline, be straightforward and concise. However, it is important to remember that your outline need not be writing that is perfectly polished. It is just a way of getting your points across.
  • Do not be afraid to get rid of information that is irrelevant as you carry out more research regarding your topic. It is important that you should narrow the area you intend to write about.
  • You should use your essay outline as a tool for memorization. Therefore while writing it, use concise words with the capability of triggering a concept.
  • While writing your outline, consider using a computer as it has many tools that make it easy to delete, add or rearrange information.
  • While creating the outline in Microsoft word, note it has automatic indentation feature that can impose your outline. Therefore, make your own indentation.
  • Every level should be indented 0.5 to 1 inch past the previous level
  • For each level increment, increase the indent at a similar level.

Samples of an essay outline

Sample 1-

  1. Introduction:
  • Thesis
  1. Body paragraph
  • Opening sentence :
  • Detail 1:
  • Detail 2:
  • Detail 3:
  • Body paragraph II:
  • Transition/Opening sentence
  • Detail 1:
  • Detail 2:
  • Detail 3
  1. Body Paragraph III:
  • Transition/opening sentence
  • Detail 1:
  • Detail 2:
  • Detail 3
  1. Body paragraph IV
  • Transition/opening sentence:
  • Detail 1:
  • Detail 2:
  • Detail 3:
  1. Conclusion
  • Reconfirmed thesis

By using this guide as you research your essay, you will discover that it is quite easy to know how to write a good essay outline. This is because it is not only well researched but organized as well.

Sample 2-The Conquest of Mt. Everest
  1. Introduction
  2. Background information
  1. Location of Mt. Everest
  2. Geography of the surrounding area
  3. Facts about Mt. Everest
  1. Height of the mountain
  2. How the mountain was named
  1. Peak XV
  2. Joloungma (Tibetan name)
  3. Sagarmatha (Nepalese name)

You can review the rest of the sample at

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