Harvard Outline

Harvard Outline
Sample Format of Outline
I. Main topic
A. Subtopic
B. Subtopic
1. Detail
2. Detail
a. sub-detail
b. sub-detail
II. Main topic
General Information for Outline
• Title will always be the subject of the outline
• Use Roman Numerals, capital letters, lower-
case letters
• Main topics = Roman Numerals (I, II, III, IV, V, VI,etc)
• Subtopics = Capital Letters
• Details = Numbers
• Sub-details = Lower Case Letters
• Keep parallel structure
• The indentation of each subtopic, detail, sub-details
Why create an outline?
• To show the hierarchical relationship or
logical ordering of information
• For research papers outlines help keep
track of large amounts of information
• For creative writing outlines organize
various plot threads and character traits
• For an oral presentation an outline helps to
speak more effectively in front of a crowd
What does previous information look like in
I. Why?
A. Hierarchical relationship
1. Logical order of information
2. __________
B. Research paper
1. keeps track information
2. _________
C. Creative Writing
1. organize plot
2. keep track character traits
3. ____________
D. Oral presentation
1. helps speaker
2. organizes thoughts
3. _____________
Primary reasons for creating an outline
II. Primary reasons
A. Aids in the process of writing
B. Helps you to organize your ideas
C. Presents your material in a logical form
D. Shows the relationship among ideas
E. Defines boundaries / groups
How to create an outline?
III. Outline process
A. Determine
1. Purpose
a. what do you want to accomplish
2. Audience
a. who are you writing to
B. Develop
1. Thesis
Simplified task analysis for Outline
IV. Task analysis
A. Brainstorm
1. List all ideas
B. Organize
2. Group related areas / ideas
C. Order
1. Arrange information in subsections
a. from general to specific
b. From abstract to concrete
D. Label
1. Create main and sub headings
Components for Effectiveness
V. Four Main Components
A. Parallelism
1. Heading and subheadings use parallelism
a. grammatical similarity
- If main topic starts with a verb, second main
topic should start with a verb
2. Example
a. A. Choose desired colleges
B. Prepare application
3. Present tense verbs are preferred for outlines
V. Four Main Components (cont.)
B. Coordination
1. Subtopics relates to main topics
2. Details relate to subtopics
3. Sub-details relate to details
4. Example
a. 1. Visit / evaluate college campuses
2. Visit / evaluate college websites
a. Important statistics
b. Interesting classes
V. Four Main Components (cont.)
C. Subordination
1. Information for details/sub-details are specific
2. Example
a. I. Influential person in life
A. Favorite high school teacher
1. Mrs. Orr
a. English teacher
b. 10th grade
c. bizarre humor
d. old / mean
V. Four Main Components (cont.)
D. Division
1. Each topic (main, sub) should be divided into
2 or more parts
2. Example
a. I. Compile Resume
A. List relevant coursework
B. List work experiences
C. List volunteer experience