How to Do an Outline for an Essay

How to do an outline for an essay? Many students wonder how to do it quickly and successfully. Writing such type of paperwork is an effective way of assessing a student's abilities: unlike standard tests, writing your own thoughts on paper gives a person a chance to reveal their inner potential, to demonstrate the individuality and non-standard worldview.

The essay differs from the usual composition in the fact that it keeps the author’s options open. Its main advantages are free judgment style, the absence of a strict text structure and a greater bias on associations and impressions than logical conclusions. Unlike abstracts and reports, the essay consists of a text of a small volume which sets out a narrow topic already known to the reader.

How to do a proper outline for an essay? The first thing to be taken into account is the structure of the essay. It does not have strict requirements for composition since its main features are expressiveness of thoughts, persuasiveness, and brightness of phrases, as well as the disclosure of his own "I" by the author of the work. But how to do an outline for an argumentative essay correctly if the author has no experience? The following scheme will help you navigate in writing this type of composition.

How to do an Outline for an Essay: 5 Easy Steps

The first page is the title one. The procedure for filling the title page is quite formal, but do not forget that, in fact, it is the cover of the future creation. Then one has to use the standard scheme to make a good outline for an essay:

  • Introduction (or Thesis claim).  In this part, a question or a problem which will be disclosed in your text is clearly formulated. It is necessary to justify why this subject of discussion was chosen and to highlight the essence of the topic, using artistic means or other stylistically and logically relevant components and methods of speech.
  • The main part. It must fully reveal the question, that is, describe your own beliefs and provide evidence (life situations, logical conclusions, examples from the literature, etc.) which in one way or another affected your assessment of the problem. It should contain body paragraphs (3-5 or more).
  • The conclusion. You draw conclusions from the situation or generalize the above. In literary texts, the conclusion is often absent or the essay is not deliberately posted. This artistic device shows the author's ironic attitude toward the topic or the ambiguity of the conclusion.

Answering the questions of how to do an outline for a process essay experienced students note that it is very convenient to divide the main part into subheadings, formalizing each in the form of a thesis and fixing it in the text with argumentation. If you want to convince the reader of your correctness, it is better to give two arguments (one is not enough, and using three or more arguments will increase the meaning and volume of the text).

Focus on the Main Part

The main part of the outline requires attention and efforts the most. The plan can be of a different structure:

  • Thesis-argumentation, thesis-argumentation, thesis-argumentation, etc. In this case, first, we fix the thought, then we prove it;
  • Reverse structure (facts-conclusions). We describe the situation or give facts, draw a conclusion. And it is repeated several times.
  • Thesis and several arguments (facts). In this case, one idea is confirmed by several illustrations. The thesis can be both in the beginning, and after these illustrations.

By "thesis" it is meant a short finished thought which the author wants to convey to the reader of the text. The argument is some proof of the thesis. It can be a situation from life, news, a scientist's opinion, a scientific theory or a fact proven by science.

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