Outlining Why create an outline? • • • • • • Aids in the process of writing. Helps you organize your ideas. Presents your material in a logical form. Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing. Constructs an ordered overview of your writing. Defines boundaries and groups Step #1 • Do your research – How much research should you do before you start your outline? • Tentative thesis statement • Have a grasp of the main points that will be required to support your thesis. • Fill in the rest of the outline as you do your research OR • Complete your research and then begin your outline Step #2 • Determine the thesis, audience and purpose. – All parts of the outline should support your thesis. – Know your purpose and intended audience. – You will REVISE your thesis after you complete your outline- use a “working thesis” to begin with. Step #3 • Brainstorm: List all the ideas you want to • • • include in your paper. Organize: Group related ideas together. Order: Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete. Label: Create main and sub headings. Structure •Topic Outline: short word or phrase without punctuation OR •Sentence Outline: full sentence with punctuation Important: Choose one structure and be consistent throughout the outline. •Outlines can be in either Roman numeral,letter,or number form as long as you are consistent. 4 Main Components Parallelism How do I accomplish this? • Each heading and subheading should preserve parallel structure. If the first heading is a verb,the second heading should be a verb. Example: I. Choose Desired Colleges II.Prepare Application Coordination All of the information contained in Heading I should have the same significance as the information in Heading 2. The same goes for subheadings (which should be less significant than the headings). Example: I. Visit and evaluate college campuses II. Visit and evaluate college websites A. Note important statistics B. Look for interesting classes Subordination The information in the headings should be more general, while the information in the subheadings should be more specific. Example: I. Describe an influential person in your life. A. Favorite high school teacher B. Grandparent Division Each heading should be divided into two or more parts. Example: I. Compile Resume A. List relevant coursework B. List work experience C. List volunteer experience Main Categories Write down your main categories. Your thesis statement is at the top of the outline and omit your introduction and conclusion. – Decide on your main categories: The main categories are the key points of your thesis, the main divisions of your paper. – Put the main categories in logical order. This maybe chronological or thematical, but it should make sense. Subcategories •Each main category of the paper may consist of several paragraphs. •Each subcategory typically correlates to one paragraph within your paper,but subcategories in longer papers may include many paragraphs. •Indent each subcategory by 5 spaces (tab). Third Level Categories • Within each sub category, list and arrange your specific notes to support or expand the argument or point made on that paragraph. • The third level categories will often correlate to the order of sentences in each paragraph. Tips • Topic outlines are more brief and quicker to write, but • • sentence are generally easier to read and more comprehensive. If you can’t figure out what level (main, subcategory, third level) a given point should be, ask yourself whether that point adds something completely new or different to the paper or whether it simply supports or explains a point that is already there. Each category should have at least two entries.