How to Write an Outline

Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research. Focus on a limited aspect, e.g. narrow it down from "Religion" to "World Religion" to "Buddhism". Obtain teacher approval for your topic before embarking on a full-scale research. Select a subject you can manage.

Find information. Surf the Net for general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, almanacs or encyclopedias online such as Britannica. Use search engines and other search tools as a starting point. Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community. Check out other print materials available in the Library. Read and evaluate.

Do some critical thinking and write your thesis statement down in one sentence. Your thesis statement is like a declaration of your belief. The main portion of your essay will consist of arguments to support and defend this belief.

All points must relate to the same major topic

Example of an outline:

I. INTRODUCTION - (Brief comment leading into subject matter - Thesis statement on Shakespeare) II. BODY - Shakespeare's Early Life, Marriage, Works, Later Year. Early life in Stratford. 1.Shakespeare's family. Shakespeare's father, Shakespeare's mother

2. Shakespeare's marriage, Life of Anne Hathaway, Reference in Shakespeare's Poems, Shakespeare's Works like Plays , Tragedies , Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet etc.

Shakespeare's Later Years containing last plays,retiring to Stratford ,death, burial, Epitaph on his tombstone…

III. CONCLUSION which contains analytical summary, Shakespeare's early life,Shakespeare's Works, Shakespeare's later years, reworded thesis, concluding statement.

The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline an INTRODUCTION, a BODY, and a CONCLUSION. Make the first outline tentative.

INTRODUCTION - State your thesis and the purpose of your research paper clearly. What is the chief reason you are writing the paper? State also how you plan to approach your topic. Is this a factual report, a book review, a comparison, or an analysis of a problem? Explain briefly the major points you plan to cover in your paper and why readers should be interested in your topic.

BODY - This is where you present your arguments to support your thesis statement. Begin with a strong argument, then use a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument for your final point.

CONCLUSION - Restate or reword your thesis. Summarize your arguments. Explain why you have come to this particular conclusion.

Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline. Critically analyze your research data. Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct. Opposing views should also be noted if they help to support your thesis. This is the most important stage in writing a research paper.

After all, you can start writin your first draft…