This video does a pretty good job explaining how to outline for an essay. Keep in mind that you want to keep your ideas as short as possible so they are easier to see at a glance and that you don’t need to use roman numerals if you don’t want to. Dots and dashes or arrows and stars work just as well. The important thing is making each level distinct. Also, it is a good idea to write your complete thesis statement at the top of your outline rather than just the topic.
If you go straight from outlining to drafting, you may not be getting the most out of your outline.
Be sure to revise your outline to fix potential problems before drafting.
Here is a simple checklist I created that you can use to evaluate your outline:
- Thesis – Is a clear thesis statement written at the top of the outline?
- Unity – Does each point in the outline directly support the thesis statement? Does each subpoint directly relate to each point it falls under?
- Detail – Do you have enough support for each of your points?
- Organization – Is each item in order according to the method of organization you chose?
This list uses the acronym TUDO (pronounced “to do”), which might help you remember it for future use.