How to Write a Paper Outline? Practical Guide for Students

How to Write a Paper Outline? Practical Guide for Students
Table of Contents
  1. How to Write a Paper Outline? Practical Guide for Students
  2. Why Does Outline Save Your Points?
  3. 1. Follow Structure
  4. 2. Choose Your Topic
  5. 3. Make a List of Key Ideas
  6. 4. Rearrange Ideas
  7. 5. Make a Plan for Each Section
  8. 6. Review and Adjust
  9. Helpful Tips on Creating Outline
  10. Conclusion

An outline is your life jacket that helps to survive in the severe sea of academic writing. It is a proper way to organize the key ideas, thesis, collected information, and research in a relevant article; the process includes elaborating a proper outline for your future paper. How to write a paper outline? We are going to guide you through the steps you need to take, support on your road to creation top-notch paper.

Why Does Outline Save Your Points?

Knowing how to write a paper outline is a crucial skill. It will get you through school and help you survive written tests. Good essays cannot be written without outlines. Very few extraordinary talented people can create a manuscript off-the-cuff. An outline puts thoughts in order, makes the process easier, smoother, better organized. You may create it even for your letters and emails

There are many types of the paper outline.

  • Narrative outline;
  • Compare and contrast essay outline;
  • Informative paper outline;
  • Argumentative outline;
  • Persuasive outline.

All of them follow the same structure and have a similar format. Here is the list of essential steps to excellent outline.

   1. Follow Structure

Typically, you will meet 5-paragraph essay format during your education. Keep in mind the structure during plan developing. What is the five paragraph essay? It is the standard format for most high school or college papers. It’s your yellow brick road to take for success. Academic writing includes 5 paragraphs:

  • Introduction;
  • Body (consists of 3 parts);
  • Conclusion.

How to write any paper outline? You must frame your “road map” to the specific standards; all of your ideas should be cozily wrapped, beautifully designed in your paper outline. Pose questions in each paragraph which help you to cover the issue.

   2. Choose Your Topic

Find a topic, problem or idea that you want to get across. If a title or topic has been assigned to you, choose the position or stand on what you want. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with an assigned issue or not. The most important is the way you choose to explain why. Alternatively, pick an approach: chronicle, narrative, instructive, etc. Whatever point or statement you decide to prefer, write it down.

   3. Make a List of Key Ideas

You cannot gain success without brainstorming. The purpose of the outline is to reflect on the key ideas that you are going to present in your academic paper. Include in the list your arguments, answers, useful resources, brilliant ideas. It doesn’t matter what type of paper you have. This step gives you a chance to arrange the data, create a list of themes which you might use.

   4. Rearrange Ideas

Put your outline list from the previous step in a strict order. It will make a logical way to you and the audience. The chosen method depends on your paper type. After putting your thoughts in order, you may proceed on your road to creating the logical structure of your paper.

   5. Make a Plan for Each Section

  • You must hook your audience into reading your paper from the first page. The secret of making your paper stick in the mind of the reader is simple. Make a strong impression with the introductory paragraph.

  • The body. Write down three or four key arguments, phrases or sentences that lead up to the logical conclusion and confirm your thesis. Perform research and use the information, results from other studies, quotes, and other relevant data that can support your arguments. Search for evidence.

  • Final part. In general, write a sentence to sum up your last paragraph; it is the final chord; the last sentence should wrap up your argument, neatly conclude the academic paper. Make it convincing so that your reader could understand and appreciate your thesis and evidence: in the best case scenario, it will convince the audience in your thesis.

   6. Review and Adjust

Take your time, have some rest. In 2-3 days, re-read your outline. Be sure that you’ve included major ideas, and they smoothly follow one after another. Check established connections between separated parts.

Helpful Tips on Creating Outline

  • Make it clear and concise; be sure that it is interesting.
  • Use Roman numerals to label your main arguments (I, II, III, etc.).
  • Under each argument put another three or four statements to support it. Mark them with uppercase letters of English alphabet (A, B, C, etc.).
  • Be careful to note citations and give proper specific attributions if necessary. It would not only keep you safe from committing plagiarism, but also bolster your essay. If you are not sure, you can double check with EssayToolBox Free Plagiarism Checker
  • Make sure you have a proper background. You should mostly have experts and others backing you.
  • Create a detailed outline. Work out what transition sentences you will use to introduce each new paragraph. It will ensure a smooth flow of ideas; paragraph topic can’t jump from one to the next in a disjointed jumble; transition statement at the beginning of each paragraph serves to introduce it. New idea builds upon the previous one.
  • Most people retain only the first and last points you make in a paper. The intervening arguments must be strong; the beginning and the end must be attention-grabbing.


Writing a paper outline is easy. An outline provides a skeleton, the bare bones on which student can build the writing work; it gives structure, fundamental ideas that flow logically and help to develop a strong conclusion. All you need is to flesh out the “skeleton” of each paragraph with explanatory or transition words. The separate sentences become a cohesive whole. Without a strong plan, any paper runs the risk of going off in many directions; the ideas are disorganized, and thoughts are jumbled. If you got lost with your assignment, it’s easy to turn for professional help to skillful writers. Such services may create an academic paper. You won’t have troubles with comprehensive analysis, creation of outline, introduction or another significant part of an essay. Simplify your students’ life and let professional authors complete the most complicated tasks.