Outline is the beginning of the writing process, so it’s essential to write it correctly. Learn more about how to outline your paper, what to include, and what to avoid on myeasypaper.com also feel free to check out our video

Outline Definition

Outline is a brief or detailed plan of the paper that is going to be written. It is a roadmap that helps students to complete their essays and maintain clarity. That is why professors often ask to outline the paper before writing it. 


Types of the Outline

Depending on their format, structure, and purpose, we can highlight several types of the outline. 

  • Topic outline

Short plan which includes key words and phrases only.

  • Sentence outline

Detailed plan that consists of complete sentences.


We can also divide types of outlines by format:

  • Alphanumeric outline

Each point of the outline has its number or letter. In most cases, you will refer to the typical system with the following order: 

I. Roman numerals.

      A. Capitalized letters.

              1. Arabic numerals.

                    a) Lowercase letters.

  • Decimal outline

In this format, you will use only numbers to structure your points:

    1.0.0. Main point.

          1.1.0. Some details.

                1.1.1. Proofs of the details.


Key Components of the Outline

Depending on the length of your paper and its complexity, outline parts may vary. However, students start with outlines for typical 3-paragraph or 5-paragraph essays. In such a case, there is a strict requirement to the parts of the outline. 


It is a good idea to include a hook and some details to catch attention of the audience. Introduction usually ends with a thesis statement. 

Body paragraphs

Each paragraph should be outlined separately. It should also include a topic sentence, a supporting detail, and a concluding sentence.


Here you should summarize main points without adding new information.

Following the outline, you will be able to write an academic essay with clear structure and without unnecessary details. 


Example of the Outline about Climate Change

I. Introduction

     A. According to NASA, each year we lose almost 150 billion tons of ice.

     B. Humans are checking possible effects of changing their activity.

Thesis statement: Climate change can be minimized by corresponding laws for business, human consciousness, and green energy.


II. Body paragraph1. 

     A. Big business should be limited in its activity because of its effect on climate.

     B. The majority of emissions is connected with big corporations:

          1. 80% of ammonia and methane emissions come from agriculture.

          2. 60% of sulphur oxides are the result of energy production and distribution.

     C. Still, world's biggest companies are failing to meet their own targets on tackling climate change.

     D. It is essential to revise the laws for big corporations to limit their negative impact on environment.

III. Body paragraph 2

     A. Although its effect is not as significant as of big corporations, human activity should be also revisited. 

     B. Easy everyday habits, such as sorting trash, can make the planet greener. 

         1. Recycled glass reduces air pollution by 20% and water pollution by 50%

         2. Recycling maintains oxygen levels by re-using paper instead of producing the new one. 

    C. Finally, maintaining these habits is easy and does not require any additional expenses. 


IV. Body paragraph 3

    A. Green energy is also a promising tool for reducing negative effect on environment and fighting climate change.

        1. Renewable energy does not produce carbon dioxide, so with it greenhouse effect will be minimized.

        2. Traditional sources of energy, such as oil and gas, are responsible for 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

        3. As a result, 99% of people breather air that is beyond air quality limits.

    B. The work already has a plan: to avoid the worst scenario of climate change, emissions should be fully eliminated by 2050. 


V. Conclusion.

    A. Climate change is a serious problem, which should not be underestimated.

    B. Some of the solutions can be applied today to make future of the humanity possible.


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