How to Write a Good Essay Outline

How to Write a Good Essay Outline

Knowing how to write a good essay outline is the best way to crafting a top notch essay paper. An outline is the recommended platform through which you can easily organize your ideas for the paper. Besides, it also offers you the opportunity of carefully analyzing your points to create a logical and compelling discussion in the essay. In fact, there so much that you can always accomplish by knowing how to write a good essay outline.

An outline basically refers to a blueprint of the main points that you are planning to discuss in an essay. It should clearly highlight the points according to the order in which they will be addressed in the paper, from the introduction to conclusion. With a good essay outline, you will always be able to write the paper in a short time, and without difficulties.

By knowing how to write a good essay outline, you will also be able craft outstanding outlines for other academic papers. In this way, there is no doubt that you will significantly enhance your writing skills, and eventually academic performance. Read on for tips and procedures on how to write outstanding outlines for essay papers.

Tips on How to Write a Good Essay Outline

An outline is a crucial aspect in essay writing and any mistakes made during the process of creating one could negatively impact the outcome of the paper. Therefore, there are a few things that you should put into consideration when developing an essay outline in order to get the best results.

The following guidelines will assist you in finding out how to write a good essay outline

Carefully study and understand the topic

An outline gives a represents how the actual essay will be crafted, hence, should clearly show that you know what will be discussed. At the time of writing an outline, you must have also decided on the approach to pursue in discussing the topic.

In case there is a point that you are still not familiar with, it is advisable that you research on it before writing the outline. Try to do the research from a series of sources in order to get varied opinions and proper understanding of the subject.

Specify a thesis

In writing an essay paper, there is always a key argument which you are required to explain and interpret to readers. A thesis statement is the main claim of the paper and should be well defined before writing an outline. A good one should be short and specific to the particular idea that you intend to discuss in the essay.

With a specified thesis statement, you will find it quite easy organizing the other parts of the essay since it sets the pace and direction for the discussion.

Analyze your ideas

The purpose of an outline is to summarize your points for easy reference when writing the paper. Therefore, it should only highlight the key ideas that you intend to discuss in the essay. From the research, you must have acquired various pieces of information for the paper. However, not all can be indicated in the outline.

Before you start writing an outline, you should at least have a mind picture of the ideas to highlight in each section. Carefully look through the ideas that you have in mind for the paper and try to identify the striking ones.

When analyzing your ideas, it is advisable that you clearly mark the points for each part of the paper, including introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. Start by identifying the hook or attention grabber. This refers to the first points of the paper, meant to lure readers to continue reading the rest of the essay.

You should also consider the points that will be used to serve as background information, given in the introductory paragraph. Background information can be in the form of facts, figures, statistics or any other relevant point that can offer a general description of the topic.

Based on the thesis, start identifying the main points that can strongly support the claim. Only include strong points, which you can effectively discuss without problems while writing the essay. The number of points that you identify will depend on the intended body paragraphs. For example, if you are planning to have three paragraphs in the body of the essay, you should choose the same number of key points, also known as topic sentences.

After identifying the topic sentences for the body paragraphs, you should also pick the evidences or examples to elaborate each. In order to have strong paragraphs, you should not simply state the topic sentences but give enough evidence to back up the argument. Select about two or three examples for every topic sentence that will be listed in the outline.

It is also recommended that you identify a few main ideas for the final paragraph. Essay conclusions often require that you summarize the discussion in the body paragraphs, restate the thesis and make a suggestion for further research. However, there are other elements that may also be highlighted in the outline depending on how you plan to wrap up the essay.

Steps on How to Write a Good Essay Outline

With your points and ideas for the essay well figured out, you can go ahead and write the outline. The following are procedures on how to write a good essay outline.

Start with the title

At the top of the outline, you should clearly indicate the title as it will be written in the essay paper. A good title should be just short and confined to the ideas or arguments that will be expressed in the essay.

List points for the introduction

The introductory paragraph of an essay paper should be captivating and properly put the topic into perspective, so readers are able to know what to expect. There are three main elements that you should list in the outline for writing a good introduction. These elements should be listed in the following order;

  • Hook or attention grabber
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

You can also include a short statement to show how you will organize the rest of the paragraph to prove the given claim. However, this is optional.

Highlight the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs should be the most elaborate since it is whereby you will have to fully explain the thesis, using sub-arguments and evidence. Therefore, your outline should not be very simple on this part.

Use sub-headings, numbers or bullets to list the topic sentences that will be used to build arguments for the body paragraphs. Under each topic sentence, list the examples or evidence as will be given while writing the essay.

You can also choose to include a short statement showing how you will wind up every paragraph and link it to the next for cohesion.

State how the final paragraph will be handled

The last paragraph of the essay should be short since it only needs to summarize the discussion and point out to any future prospects regarding the topic. In the outline, list a few key points that will be used to summarize the arguments in the essay. Next, you should also indicate how the thesis statement will be re-stated in the paper. Any other final submissions about the subject can also be highlighted. However, avoid listing new information on this part since that would alter the conclusion.

Examples of Good Essay Outlines

Read the following sample essay outlines for more insights on how to write a good essay outline with ease.

Example 1

Sample Outline for a Five Paragraph Essay

Title: The Hazards of Movie going

  1. Introduction
  1. Introductory statement
  2. Thesis Statement: I like watching movies but I prefer watching them at home.
  1. Body
  1. First Supporting Idea (Topic Sentence): Just getting to the theatre presents difficulties.
  • Bad weather
  • Long drive and limited parking space…

Continue reading the sample on this link.

Example 2

Sample Outline for an Essay Paper

Title: Common Sense and Its Impact on American Political Thought

Thesis: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense articulated the anti-British sentiments of the Colonies in a way so unprecedented that it permanently changed the face of political thought in America.

  1. Intro
  2. Thesis: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense articulated the anti-British sentiments of the Colonies in a way so unprecedented that it permanently changed the face of political thought in America.
  3. What did Common Sense say that was so different?
  4. It denounced both monarchy and the English Constitution, which had previously been looked upon as a brilliant political document. Americans realized the inherent fallacies of the hereditary government…

Read the whole sample essay outline here.


Simple Essay Outline

  1. Introduction

General Info about the topic, reason for the reader to be interested, context e.t.c

Thesis Statement

  1. Topic Sentence 1:
  2. Support
  3. Detail/ example/explanation
  4. Detail/ example
  • Detail/ example
  1. Support …

Follow this link to continue reading the sample.

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