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We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism. A well-constructed outline can help you avoid common paper-writing pitfalls. I often find myself helping students who, with an outline, could have avoided grade-impacting problems that are time-consuming to fix.
An outline that doesn’t follow the professor’s instructions might produce gold, but it’ll get a bad grade.
The introduction and conclusion usually go at the beginning and end of any essay, so the organization of body paragraphs is where creativity is needed when it comes to structure.
I’ve written the steps below assuming that you understand the basic structural components of an essay like the thesis statement.
If you don’t, I suggest having a look at the Student Toolkit on Writing or visiting the CWSC.
Many people take their outlines a step further and add sub-arguments and evidence. Ask yourself this: can this paper convincingly answer the questions or complete the tasks given by the assignment instructions?
After the topic sentence, each body paragraph consists of sub-arguments that support the topic sentence’s argument. Some prefer to come up with sub-arguments while writing. More specifically: does the thesis statement follow the assignment instructions? Does each sub-argument clearly support the topic sentence of its paragraph?
For example, perhaps you’ll need a background information paragraph that provides context for your argument. Conclusion You can’t write a clear paper without first preparing the main argument or, in other words, a thesis statement.
Don’t worry about making the structure flawless; your structure will probably change a bit as you write. When you have your main argument boiled down to a single sentence, it’s easy to keep it in mind while writing.
In contrast, visual learners often like to write their whole paper as an outline, then delete the parts that resemble an outline later. I hope this post gives you some good outlining ideas.
This way, it’s like a big puzzle where you write words to fill the gaps! If you’d like help with outlining or anything writing related, visit us at the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication.