When writing essays or research papers, the amount of information can sometimes become overwhelming. Even though you aim to produce a good quality output, the overwhelming amount of information causes you to lose your focus. The tendency is that you give emphasis on less important information than the most important ones, thus, becoming incoherent and disorganized. You may also see the short sentences.
Outlines are designed to help writers summarize the main topic into shorter sub-topics. By definition, an outline is “a general description or plan giving the essential features of something but not the detail.” It helps writers arrange and organize the details he/she wants to include in the document. You may also see the essay outlines.
There are basically two major types of outlines: sentence outline and topic outline. Although they have the same goal of making a longer topic into a shorter one, they are still different from each other. More so, both are hierarchical outlines, meaning they arrange main topics and sub-topics according to their hierarchy of importance. You may also see the Content Outline Writing Tips and Examples.
A topic outline consists of words and phrases that best describe the main topic. It arranges the topics hierarchically in the sequence that you think is best. As its name implies, it identifies the mini-topics that describe your paper and where it will be based on. Although a topic outline is only made up of short phrases and words, it is advantageous especially if you need just a quick overview of your material. You may also see the complex sentences.
On the other hand, a sentence outline does all of what the topic outline does. In addition, it shows you exactly what you need to include in your sub-topic. Instead of a mini-topic, it is somewhat a mini-thesis of the main topic. It is much easier to understand since the full text for each supporting topic is already written out. It expresses the complete and actual idea of the supporting topics in order to support the main topic. A sentence outline is often used while discussing complex topics that require a thorough explanation about the main topic. You may also see the tentative outline.
When given the chance to choose between what outline to use when writing an essay or a research paper, one would definitely choose the shorter version, in this case, the topic outline. However, a sentence outline best summarizes complex and long topics more clearly than a topic outline. Here are some of the benefits of using a sentence outline:
If you can’t summarize a topic into shorter sentences, how much more writing it in paragraphs? A sentence outline forces you to write sentences that clearly and completely express the idea of the supporting topic. It forces you to come up or paraphrase longer sentences into concise version but still a complete thought. It should represent the first draft of your actual document. You may also see the simple sentences.
Since you need to write full sentences that support your main topic and sub-topics, it is much easier to judge whether or not the sentences you have presented directly supports your topic. It is easier to identify and omit the details that do not make the argument effective. Through a sentence outline, you can also easily elaborate the details that prove your main topic. Also, see How to Write a Persuasive Essay with Examples & PDF
As you have already expressed the complete thought of your supporting details, it is easier for you to delete and reorganize the sentences. You can easily rearrange the flow of your sentences in order to effectively make a coherent paragraph later in your final paper. A sentence outline will save you more time than a topic outline because you no longer need to add and elaborate the idea since it’s already done before you transfer it to your final paper. You may also see free outline examples.
Using a sentence outline will help you determine how long your document will be. Since your ideas are already written out in full sentences, you can easily judge if your document is still in accordance to the given limit such as word count or if you have the minimum number of paragraphs. With this, you can modify your document according to the prescribed length. You may also see exclamatory sentences.
With all the above-mentioned benefits, you can now write your document more efficiently. You can save more time when you transfer your outline to your final paper since you have already written the complete thought of your topics. You can also refer to How to Write Your Last-Minute Essay
Before writing your outline, you must be able to determine the following:
Just like any other paper, yours must have a purpose, too. What is the goal of your paper? Is it for proving that your standpoint is better than the other? Is to debunk an old hypothesis? Or is it simply to inform your readers about a new discovery? Whichever it may be, you must be clear and sure about the purpose of your paper so you can mold your outline to suit your purpose. You may also see program outlines.
Now that you know the purpose of your paper, you must now know who you’re writing for? The audience of your paper plays a big part in the making of your paper. Mainly because you have to cater the needs of your audience– what they need to hear/read, what they hope to hear/read and why they need to hear/read it. It also makes it easier for you to know which flow to follow since you already know your target audience. You may also see balanced sentences.
This is also important because you can now identify which words are appropriate to use for specific audiences. For example, if the target audience of your paper is scholars and experts in a specific field, you need to use the appropriate words that would not diminish the credibility of your paper. You may also see speech outlines.
First of all, the thesis of your paper is what makes it as it is. It is what your sub-topics revolve around. This holds the ground of your whole paper. Before you even begin to make an outline, you must have a clear knowledge of what your thesis is. You may also see parallel sentences.
However, there are instances when as you go along with presenting the supporting details or sub-topics you are able to formulate a new thesis. In this case, you must be able to develop a more appropriate thesis in relation to your sub-topics. You may also see compound sentences.
After your research, list down the ideas you want to include in your paper. Remember that in a sentence outline the full sentences are needed to be written out. This step will help you choose which ones to include and which ones to delete or replace. This will also help you have a clear initial idea as to the direction of your paper. You may also see How to Write Definition Essay and Examples
In this step, you need to group similar ideas together. The goal is to have a smooth flow from one idea to another. You need to identify which ideas should go under a specific sub-topic in order to clearly elaborate the topic. Organizing your ideas in this case will be easy for you if you have carefully selected what to include in your overall paper beforehand. You may also see preposition sentences.
Arrange the ideas according to their hierarchy. This means you need to arrange them according to their importance or relevance to the topic. You can also arrange them from general to specific or from abstract to concrete. The organization of your ideas will determine if your paper is coherent or not. The order of your ideas will also help you explain your points smoothly and will make it easy to understand. You may also see biography outlines.
After organizing everything, create a label for the main and sub-heading for each group. This will help you know what you are writing about. It will also be easier for you to know and identify which topics go first before the others.
1. Keep your outline flexible. Your outline follows a rigid structure, however, it must not be inflexible to new ideas that you will need to add to your paper. Major reorganizations are common especially when you’re writing about a topic you are not very familiar with and your outline must help you stay organized and focused. However, when your paper diverges significantly from your outline, it can mean that you have lost your focus. Review and compare your outline and your final paper. You may also see preposition sentences.
2. Try at least two ways of organizing your outline. Sometimes when you rearrange your ideas, new connections and possibilities open up. Seeing your work in a new perspective may align your ideas into a complete whole. Good writing requires a lot of revision literally meaning “seeing again.” Allowing your outline to go follow another flow might help you achieve your goal of making one coherent final paper. You may also see negative sentences.
3. If appropriate, organize the main points of your outline in chronological order, especially when discussing history or the chronological order of events. This will help you keep track of what ideas go after the other.
4. The information compiled under each roman numeral or sub-topic will become a paragraph in your final paper. Remember that longer papers need more paragraphs thus more roman numerals or sub-topics. You may also see thesis outlines.
There is no rule telling you which approach is right or wrong when choosing what outline to use. You choose either a topic outline or a sentence outline because you believe it will work best for you. However, you must stick to one approach to help you remain grounded and focused on your topic. You may also see leadership outline.
When the paramount of information overwhelms you, focus on your thesis to sort out which information is relevant to your needs. After this, you can easily ease your information to the flow you choose and your outline will serve as your guide to making a coherent and well-thought out paper. You may also see content outline.