How to Write an Essay Outline - 7 Easy Steps & A Sample

How to Write an Essay Outline


How to Write an Essay Outline

To simplify the essay writing process, create an outline before you begin writing. Creating an outline is easy, though it requires much time and effort.

Do you know the steps to follow when writing an outline or what to include? Read this article to understand these aspects and become a master in essay outline creation. Just know we are here for you when you encounter an issue while crafting your outline or writing the essay. We offer comprehensive essay writing services. Place an order with us, and we’ll help you write an essay that will make a good impression of you on your professor.

What Is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is a map of how an essay will look like. An essay outline describes what you will discuss in each part and paragraph of your essay. It largely consists of a summary of phrases or sentences for each point you will touch on in the paragraphs.

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The main objective of forming an outline is to make it easy to craft the essay. The specific benefits of writing the essay outline are

  • It helps you to stay organized: You will easily see how points and subpoints logically flow
  • You will not forget any vital points

That’s what an essay outline is. Now, let’s get to the main business, which is teaching you how to write an outline for an essay. There are 7 main steps you can follow when creating an essay outline, namely:

  1. Identify the objective of the essay
  2. Perform a preliminary research
  3. Select an essay outline structure
  4. Craft an essay outline template
  5. Conduct an in-depth research
  6. Fill out the essay outline
  7. Countercheck Everything

1. Identify The Objective of the Essay

First and foremost, get to know the purpose of the essay and who the audience is. Don’t rush to scribble down the outline. Find out whether the essay is meant to entertain, persuade, or inform the readers. You must read the assignment instructions carefully to understand what you are expected to write.

Once you have done this, you’ll be able to know the essay type, the length of the essay, and how many arguments are needed, among other aspects. You will also have a rough idea of what the thesis can and can’t be.

2. Perform A Preliminary Research

Everything in an essay connects to the thesis. Coming up with a thesis is one of the first steps, as everything else will be a product of the thesis.

After knowing the purpose and audience of the essay, conduct preliminary research. This research will assist you in forming a thesis. (It’s more of a rough thesis; you will usually revise it as you fill out the outline.)

Do the following to settle on a good thesis:

  • Brainstorm several ideas
  • Note them down
  • Select the one you can discuss with many points

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3. Select an Essay Outline Structure

The third step on how to write an essay outline is to choose an essay outline structure. Many students prefer an alphanumerical outline format, but they are those who go to the decimal outline format. Below is a snapshot of both formats.

Alphanumerical outline format

A: …………….

B: …………….

I: ……………..

II: …………….

      1. a) …………….
      2. b) …………….

Decimal outline format

1.0. ……………..

2.0. ……………..

2.1. ……………..

2.2. ……………..

2.2.1. ……………

2.2.2. ……………

Are you an alphanumerical or decimal person? Any format you choose between the two is alright. Don’t worry much.

4. Craft an Essay Outline Template

The next thing is to divide your essay outline into three main parts: intro, body, and conclusion. Then divide the body into the number of sections you want it to have. An average-sized essay has three sections in the body.

At the end of this step, you’ll have a template like the one below.

  1. Introduction
    • Hook
    • Background
    • Thesis
  1. Body Paragraph 1
  2. Body Paragraph 2
    • Topic statement/claim
    • Supporting Evidence 1
    • Supporting Evidence 2
    • Transition
  3. Body Paragraph 3
    • Topic statement/claim
    • Supporting Evidence 1
    • Supporting Evidence 2
    • Transition
  4. Conclusion
    • Restate thesis
    • Summary/Synthesis
    • Closing remarks

The body paragraphs can be as many as you like; from three onwards is a good bet. Mostly it depends on the length of the essay and the number of parts in the question. The supporting evidence can be one or as many as you see fit.

After forming the essay outline template, insert the thesis statement, then proceed to the next step.…

5. Conduct an In-Depth Research

Do you remember the thesis and the points you chose in step 2? You wrote it down somewhere. Take the note you wrote and refresh your mind.

In this step, you will thoroughly research the thesis and the points. You can rephrase the thesis and add or omit points based on what you find while researching.

After doing the research, make sure you have enough evidence to back up each point (claim) in each paragraph.

For instance, if your thesis is “Technology has had an immense impact on all the industries and sectors.” Your three points can be:

  1. Impacts technology has had on the health sector
  2. Impacts of technology on the business industry
  3. Impacts of technology on the education sector

So, after researching, you should have enough evidence to support each of these three points.

(You may find it beneficial to look at our college essay writing services article. You’ll see other ways we may help you with your essay)

6. Fill Out the Entire Essay Outline

By now, you have settled on a good thesis and have enough points connecting to the thesis and several pieces of evidence to support each point.

It is time to complete the outline. You may use several ways to arrange the body section. You can group the points into themes or arrange them in chronological order. In our above example, we arranged our points into themes:

Impact of technology in:

  • Health sector
  • Business Industry
  • Education sector

If it’s a business essay, you can arrange them chronologically, from the oldest to the most recent event, or vice versa. For example, when discussing the causes of high inflation in 2022 in first-world countries, you may start with which factor came first, followed by factors that came later. (In case you are wondering about these factors, Covid19 was one of the first contributing factors, followed by enormous fluctuations of demand and supply, then the Russian-Ukraine war.)

How Do You Fill the Essay Outline?

You may write brief sentences or complete sentences in your outline. It depends on many aspects. Use complete sentences if your instructor has requested you to write and submit the essay outline. Also, complete sentences are a good option if your memory has a habit of forgetting easily.

So, go back to the essay outline and fill out each section from the intro to the conclusion. Jog down all the resources you will use to write the content, mainly the sources that back up the pieces of evidence. Look at the college essay outline example below to see how your outline is supposed to look.

Pro tip: If you want your final essay to be longer, add another point, together with supporting evidence, to the outline. You can learn more tactics from our guide, on how to make an essay longer.

7. Countercheck Everything

The last thing you need to do to the outline is to confirm everything is in order. Some of the questions you may ask yourself when counterchecking are:

  1. Have you answered all parts of the question?
  2. Does the introduction have three key parts?
  3. Do all the paragraphs connect with the thesis?
  4. Do all paragraphs have topic sentences/claims?
  5. Is there evidence to support each claim?
  6. Is there a clear transition from one paragraph to another?

Essay Outline Example

Below is an essay outline example.

This is one of the tens of samples we have of an essay outline. Reach out to us if you want some more samples. Also, remember that we as well offer essay writing services. We can assist you in writing top-notch essays. Be guaranteed to bag good grades when you choose us.

Informative Essay Outline Sample

  1. Introduction
    • Hook: Technology is a force to reckon with
    • Background: Technology is utilized in almost all domains, processes, and procedures. It can be used as software or hardware
    • Thesis: Technology has contributed to breakthroughs in each industry and sector
  2. Impact of technology on the health sector
    • Topic sentence: Healthcare has massively benefited from technology
    • It has improved patient care (Source 1)
    • It has helped to diagnose and treat diseases that were previously not possible (Source 2)
    • Transition: These are two of the impacts in the health domain
  3. Impact of technology on the business industry
    • Topic sentence: The business industry could not be where it is if it were not for technology
    • Forecasting of budgets and risks has become easier
    • Physical distance when trading has ceased to exist
    • The business sector has benefitted in these ways from technology. The following section will analyze how the education sector has profited
  4. Impact of technology on the education sector
    • Topic sentence: Teaching and learning have gone a notch higher due to technology
    • Distant learning has become seamless
    • Practically all academic resources are available on the internet
    • If it were not for technological advancements, these two amazing changes would not be evident today
  5. Conclusion
    • Restate thesis: Technology has played significant roles in all industries and sectors
    • Summary: It has revolutionized the health and education sectors and the business industry
    • Concluding remarks: This is not the end of technology, as each day, new advancements are declared

Another tip we would like to offer you is to read the 100 best conclusion paragraph starters for college essays guide if you want to be a master at initiating conclusions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Long Does It Take to Write an Essay Outline?

It depends on several factors. Your expertise in writing outlines, how hard and long the essay is, among others. If you place an order with us to write for you an essay outline, we’ll be able to deliver it within 24 hours.

2. When Is My Essay Outline Finished?

Your outline is finished once you highlight every crucial aspect and are ready to write the essay. Some may feel confident to write the essay with just a few words in their outline, while others may need a detailed outline to have confidence.

3. What Is an Outline List Format?

Outline list formats are the types of outline structures that exist. The common list formats are alphanumerical and decimal structures. These two structures have been discussed above in Step 2.

4. When Should I Write an Essay Outline?

Create an outline before you start drafting the essay. Some students work on it immediately after receiving the essay question, while others do preliminary research. It all depends on how familiar you are with the topic and the amount of required research.

In A Nutshell

You should create the essay outline first before writing the essay. It is because you will get rid of many issues that are rampant during essay writing. One major issue is that you won’t be disorganized: you’ll know how to flow logically from one section to another. Read this guide to learn the best steps on how to write an outline for an essay. You can place an order with us if you want someone to write an essay outline for you or even the entire essay. We have experts in each field with impressive reputations and experience.

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How to Write an Essay Outline - Homeworkmarket

author Melaine

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Melanie is a seasoned writer with more than 8 years of experience. She is passionate about academia and works off the clock to ensure she write the topnotch content for her readers.

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