Why and how to create a useful outline

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Why and How to Create a Useful Outline
Why create an outline?
• Aids in the process of writing
• Helps you organize your ideas
• Presents your material in a logical form
• Shows therelationships among ideas in your writing
• Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
• Defines boundaries and groups
How do I create an outline?
• Determine the purpose of your paper.
•Determine the audience you are writing for.
• Develop the thesis of your paper.
• Brainstorm: List all the ideas that you want to include in your paper.
• Organize: Group related ideas together.• Order: Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete.
• Label: Create main and sub headings.
Remember: creating an outline before writing your paper willmake organizing your thoughts a lot easier. Whether you follow the suggested guidelines is up to you, but making any kind of outline (even just some jotting down some main ideas) will be beneficialto your writing process.
Four Main Components for Effective Outlines
Ideally, you should follow these 4 suggestions to create an effective outline. The examples are taken from the Sample Outlinehandout.
Parallelism - How do I accomplish this?
Each heading and subheading should preserve parallel structure. If the first heading is a noun, the second heading should be a noun. Example:
I. ChooseDesired Colleges
II. Prepare Application
("Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs.)
Coordination - How do I accomplish this?
All the information contained in Heading 1 should have the samesignificance as the information contained in Heading 2. The same goes for the subheadings (which should be less significant than the headings). Example:
I. Visit and evaluate college campuses
II. Visitand evaluate college websites
A. Note important statistics
B. Look for interesting classes
(Campus and websites visits are equally significant, as are statistics and classes found on college...
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