What Is an Outline in Writing?
Many students ask themselves, “what is an outline and how to write it?” An outline is a kind of plan that allows a writer to organize the main points, paragraphs, and structure in a certain order. Essentially, an outline is used to prevent the writer from facing writer’s block when actually writing the essay. The outline serves like a map of where to go with your writing.
Why Is an Outline Essential to Any Type of Writing?
For many, it is always hard to start writing. Writing an outline can help you overcome any starting block when writing a paper. Outlines can also be used as a tool for brainstorming, helping you to gather your thoughts so that you know exactly what you are going to write. The outline can help you come up with bright ideas for your future paper as well. Check out what is an outline in essay writing.
What Information Should You Gather Before Writing an Outline?
- Gather as much information about the topic as possible. Many writers struggle to determine the main focus for their paper. When you come up with a topic, you need to understand the broader purpose of your essay because it is equally important. For this purpose, collect information related to the topic.
- Find information about the audience. It means that you should know whom you are writing your paper for. Knowing your audience will help you to write an interesting paper for your readers.
Steps in Writing an Outline
- Put the thesis statement at the beginning.
- List the main points that support your thesis statement.
- List supportive arguments or ideas for each main point.
- If it is necessary, continue to subdivide every supporting idea until you develop your outline fully.
Writing an Outline: Example
Of course, the outline differs according to the type of paper you are writing. Let’s say you have a coursework assignment. In essence, the coursework outline is used only at the preparatory stage of work with the course project. The outline itself is also present in the work itself, where it is called “content” and is located after the title page.
How to write an outline for coursework
Strict, regulated requirements to the coursework outline do not exist. However, the standard requirements for coursework say that the outline should include the introduction, main body, conclusion, list of used literature, and applications.
- Introduction. The introduction shows the relevance of the topic under consideration. It also indicates the degree of development in science, justifies the choice of topic, formulates goals and objectives and tasks, lists the main sources and the historiography of the problem, and characterizes research methods.
- Main body. In the main section, a detailed presentation of the results is given. It usually includes 2-4 chapters or sections, divided into subsections or paragraphs. As a rule, the first chapter includes theoretical aspects of the studied problem. In the following chapters, the object and subject of research are considered in more detail – depending on the specifics of the topic, the focus may be theoretical (in this case, fundamentally new approaches to studying the topic should be considered) or practical (an empirical study is necessary).
- Conclusion. Brief conclusions are presented on the topic. They clearly demonstrate the student’s ability to sum up. It is convenient to formulate a final conclusion on the basis of the findings of the relevant sections of the work.
There are several more rules to follow when drawing up a coursework outline:
- Compliance with the logic of the presentation: each section is interconnected with the previous one in name and content.
- The content of a particular section corresponds fully to its title. The same names should not be in the work.
- One sentence represents the name of a section or subsection, not several.
Example how to write an effective outline for coursework
Below you can find an outline example for a coursework paper that can be used as a sample.
Management coursework outline sample
Chapter I. THEORETICAL PART (name depending on the selected aspect of management in coursework)
1.1 The role of management and process approach in modern conditions
1.2-1.4 Basic concepts of management based on the topic of coursework
Chapter II. PRACTICAL PART (example of a specific organization)
2.1 Brief description of the organization
2.2 Management system in the organization
2.3 Analysis of external and internal factors
2.4 Measures to improve the management system
Adhering to this outline, the coursework paper in management will be carried out with a thorough approach, and the study will cover all the necessary issues for disclosing the topic.
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