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Writing an Essay Outline

Purpose

Writing an essay outline helps organize your information. This will help you build a rough idea of what your essay will look like.

There are many different ways to write essay outlines. The following is a suggested guideline to help you arrange the ideas in your essay.

STEP ONE

  • Have you chosen an appropriate topic for the assignment?
  • Have you made sure that you understand exactly what your instructor wants you to write about? Communicating with your instructor can save you a lot of time and worry.
  • Have you thought about your thesis statement? What point are you trying to prove?
    • Include your topic or subject and >viewpoint (i.e. Smoking has many negative impacts on society such as health problems, air pollution and long term addiction).

STEP TWO

Once you have your topic, list 3-6 main ideas about your topic. Carefully consider the point of your essay. You will turn these ideas into your body paragraphs as you begin to organize your essay. Here are some questions to think about when you are trying to think of ideas:

STEP THREE

Find proof (from secondary sources or your text) for each main idea you’ve written down. These will become the details for each body paragraph.

STEP FOUR

Write a conclusion that confirms your thesis statement. Be sure not to repeat but rather restate your main ideas using different words.

  • Have you chosen an appropriate topic for the assignment?
  • Have you made sure that you understand exactly what your instructor wants you to write about? Communicating with your instructor can save you a lot of time and worry.
  • Have you thought about your thesis statement? What point are you trying to prove?
    • Include your topic or subject and viewpoint (i.e.Smoking has many negative impacts on society such as health problems, air pollution and long term addiction).
  • Are you trying to prove an argument / point-of-view?
  • Are you trying to explain how to complete a particular task?
  • Are you trying to inform or educate the reader on a particular topic?
  • Are you able to explain why you have chosen each point and how each idea relates to the thesis statement?