What Is an Outline

An outline is an effective tool for anyone who wants to see a broad view of any task. You may use an outline for writing a paper, creating a speech, or making a business report. An outline can also be used in making a letter, a character analysis, a college essay, or a story. Although making an outline is a long process, it eventually makes your work easier because it acts as your guide, and it organizes your ideas.

How to Make an Outline

Nothing beats a prepared person. You need to make preparations first before you can write for an argumentative essay or a research paper. It's something that each of us has to do first. The problem lies with starting one. How do you really prepare for making a plan, a paper, or a story? It starts by outlining. With that, here are some easy steps that you can follow in making one:

1. Know the Purpose of the Outline

Keep note that you need to identify the purpose of your outline first. You can't make an efficient outline without knowing its purpose. Identify if you have to inform, persuade, or entertain your readers. When you have an idea of what your goal is, then you can continue creating your simple outline.

2. Brainstorm Ideas

The next step is to brainstorm ideas. Think about any concept or idea that you may include in your outline. Write any idea that comes to your head. Don't stress yourself into worrying if the idea is really helpful or not—just write it down. Also, when you brainstorm, don't only rely on yourself, you also have to give time for research. You can read a book or surf the internet for information. To add, if you don't have any idea what an outline looks like, you can also research a sample outline online to help you.

3. Create Categories

Once you have your ideas with you, try to break them into categories. You can choose what type of outline you will use. You may use Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, capitalized letters, or lowercase letters. This creates order and makes a better presentation of your ideas. Also, the number of categories that you will put will depend on the work you are doing.

4. Prepare Supporting Details

After categorizing your ideas, you can add and list minor details to each category. This can be a gateway of understanding to your outline. These details add more flexibility and more information to your work. Remember, some outlines need more supporting information than others.

5. Review Your Outline

When you are done with the steps above, don't leave your outline without polishing it. Try to go back to your work and check if everything is in order. You can even check it word by word. If you find any mistake or any misleading idea, then consider revising it. In the process of your revision, you may acknowledge adding new details if you have to. Always note that your outline is your roadmap, so you have to make your presentation as clear as possible that you may avoid getting lost.

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