• Creating a Topic Outline
     
    An outline is a REQUIRED part of your research paper.  Taking the time to do one well will save you hours of frustration during the drafting process! Read the explanation and follow the format below to write an outline for your paper.  The purpose is to:

    ·         help you finalize the organization of your information before you write

    ·        allow you to see your paper at a glance so that you can easily identify any inconsistencies in organization

    ·        prevent writer’s block while you are writing the rough draft. 

     

     
    Explanation:

     

    I. Use Roman numerals for each major topic within your paper.

     

    II. Use capital letters

    A.   To identify main points within each major topic

    B.   Should be indented slightly from the margin.

    C.   If you have an A, you should also have at least a B.  Then you can have as many more capital letters as you need.

     

    III. Use numbers

    A.   To identify the details

    1.  Each number should be indented slightly more than the letters

    2.  If you have a 1, you should also have a 2.  Then you can have as many more

         numbers as you need.

        B.  It is likely that you won’t need to go any farther than numbers.

               1. If you do, see a teacher.

               2. The teacher can show you how to use lower case letters.

     

    IV. Phrases are acceptable

    A.   Write key phrases

    1.  Be sure your ideas are clear.

    2.  Write enough information so that you know what you are talking about.

         B.  Complete sentences are ok too.

       

    V. Turn off the automatic formatting on your computer.

         A.  It is easier to format your outline manually.

          B. The auto-format is just a nuisance.

     

    VI. Getting started

          A. Organize your note cards into categories of information—create piles.

         B.  Organize the note cards within those categories of information.

                1. Take each pile, and organize the cards within that pile.

                2. When you are done, the cards should be in the order that you wish to use

                      them.

    B.   Each pile of cards will become a Roman numeral (category—major topic)

    C.   Each card in the pile will become a letter or number (main ideas or details)

     

     

     

    Template:

     

    You can use this template to help your format your own outline.  You should write your outline on a plain sheet of lined paper.  It should not be more than one page long.

     

    I.             Introduction

    A.   Background information

    1.  Fact with citation. (You will actually write out the facts, rather than write the word “fact”)

    2.  Fact with citation. (Keep adding important facts as needed)

    B.   Thesis Statement:  Write out your thesis statement in its entirety.

     

    II.          Topic Sentence:  Write out your first topic sentence.

    A.  Fact or sub-topic

    B.  Fact or sub-topic

    C.  Fact or sub-topic

    D.  Fact or sub-topic

     

    III.         Topic Sentence:  Write out your second topic sentence.

    A.  Fact or sub-topic

    B.  Fact or sub-topic

    C.  Fact or sub-topic

    D.  Fact or sub-topic

     

     

    IV.         Topic Sentence:  Write out your third topic sentence.

    A.  Fact or sub-topic

    B.  Fact or sub-topic

    C.  Fact or sub-topic

    D.  Fact or sub-topic

     

     

    V.          Topic Sentence:  Write out your second topic sentence.

    A.  Fact or sub-topic

    B.  Fact or sub-topic

    C.  Fact or sub-topic

    D.  Fact or sub-topic

     

     

    VI.         Conclusion

    A.    Re-word thesis statement.

    B.   Final thought to bring closure to the paper

     

    *Each Roman numeral should represent a paragraph.  You should have as many Roman numerals (paragraphs) as you need for paper.  There is not a specific assigned number of paragraphs. 

     

    *You can add numbers as necessary.

     

     
    Web Resources for Outlines