Outlining as an Aid to Drawing Conclusions
Making an outline can often be helpful when you’re about to write a paper. You don’t always have to make an outline, but it is recommended. Some teachers may require that you write an outline before you start on your paper. An outline just gives you an idea of what you’re going to be writing about. It helps you structure your paper. You just write your ideas down into an organized format like you see here.
The main point is interviewing. Then, there would be a sub point “Making a good first impression.” Then, there would be some smaller points (1. Shake hands 2. Make eye contact). Then, there would be another subpoint “Answering questions well”. Then, two more smaller points (1. Be thorough 2. Be concise). We could have another Roman numeral down here if we had another main point. You could have more subpoints.
We could go all the way to Z with these subpoints, and have C, D, E, and we could go all the way to eight or more with the smaller points. You could have eight smaller points about this point, whatever you need to do to accurately organize all of the information you have on a particular topic. How do you come up with the information to go into this outline? Some people can come up with it on the top of their head, depending on how much they know about the subject they’re going to write about.
Say I’m writing about interviewing. Where am I going to get all this information and these ideas to write about? There are a couple of things I can do to help me figure out information to include in the outline. I could take about 15 minutes and just write everything I could down on a piece of paper about interviewing. I wouldn’t be worried about capitalizing words or using correct punctuation or correct spelling.
I could use abbreviations. The sentences could be really simple and elementary. It’s just all the thoughts that come to mind about interviewing. Then, when I go to make an outline, I can use all of those ideas and formulate it into main points. Once I do that first exercise of just writing everything down I can think of, I can find the main points and start connecting those points. I could write some points right here.
I have a point there, a point there, I have some other points that are kind of similar, and I can draw lines in between them and circle some (whichever ones I think are important, whichever ones I think correlate to each other). I do that first exercise to get all my ideas down. Then, I started drawing a relationship and figuring out the relationship between different ideas. I may decide that that idea doesn’t really fit in with the rest.
Then, I take that and I put it into this outline. This is all prep work to help you make a great paper. This also helps you avoid writer’s block, because you have an outline to go off of. Instead of wondering what you’re going to write about next, you just get your next point and you know what you have to write about.