How to Write a Great Outline for an Essay

25.02.19 - 16:02

You want to write an A+ essay to impress your professor and classmates with your skills? Well, you better make an outline for it, then. Just like an engineer who uses a blueprint to complete their project, you need an outline to structure your work and make sure that you didn’t miss anything.

Many students make a mistake by skipping this step and proceeding to writing. In this case, they spend more time on completing the essay because they have no direction to guide their writing so they need to stop and think about what they need to cover next. Often, this approach results in low grades because, well, thinking ahead is much better than writing just for the sake of a quick completion.

Writing a great outline doesn’t take a lot of time but it greatly increases the chance that you’ll get a good grade. Read below to see how it’s done.

Step 1. Make a Template

If you’re a student, then chances are you know that essay has three main parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The body often has multiple paragraphs, so let’s suppose that you need to write two paragraphs for your essay:

      I. Introduction

    II. Body Paragraph I

   III. Body Paragraph II

   IV. Conclusion

This is a very basic version of the outline that lacks any details on the structure of the main parts. Often, students who need to get academic help with essay writing from professors never quite pass this step, so let’s make sure that outlining is easy for you by breaking it down further:

I. Introduction

  1. Hook
  2. Background of the topic
  3. Thesis Statement

II. Body Paragraph I

  1. Topic Sentence
  2. Evidence
  3. Concluding sentence

Body Paragraph II

  1. Topic Sentence
  2. Evidence
  3. Concluding sentence

III. Conclusion

  1. Restatement of thesis
  2. Summary of the ideas of body paragraphs
  3. Concluding statement 

Now we’re talking! This template is ready to help you to write an excellent essay. Now, we need to charge it with ideas.

Step 2. Come with a Topic

The above template will suit any topic, whether yours or recommended by the professor. When you have the topic, you can begin building the structure of the specific essay. In this article, let’s use this topic:

“The Impact of European Goods on Lives of Native Americans.”

Step 3. Add Topic-Specific Ideas to the Outline

Now, our job is to finish the outline by identifying the main points to describe in the essay. To do that, let’s use the template above.

I. Introduction

  1. Hook: The culture of Native Americans that had them living in harmony with nature was mostly destroyed by the impact of Europeans.
  2. Background of the topic: European explorers came to America in the 1500s, and the natives became very interesting in trading with them.
  3. Thesis Statement: While some European tools had a positive impact on the everyday life of Native Americans, they also destroyed local traditions and created the problem of alcohol abuse, so they mostly had a negative impact.

II. Body Paragraph I

  1. Topic Sentence. Metal tools provided by Europeans helped Natives to hunt and complete daily work. 
  2. Evidence. The Natives used metal tools to cut trees, build canoes, and fish.
  3. Concluding sentence. Many goods brought by European had a positive impact on Native Americans. 

Body Paragraph II

  1. Topic Sentence. Some of the goods such as alcohol and firearms, had a profoundly negative impact on Native Americans. 
  2. Evidence. Many indigenous Americans developed alcohol dependency, which caused numerous tribes such as Pawnees, to limit alcohol consumption in their communities. Even today, Native Americans have a 510% higher risk of death from alcoholism than other ethnic American groups. Next, firearms disrupted ancient hunting traditions. 
  3. Concluding sentence. The European goods also had a negative impact on Native Americans because they introduced them to harmful substances they never consumed. 

III. Conclusion

  1. Restatement of the thesis. Even though some European goods had a positive impact on the lives of Native Americans, they delivered a profound disruption to their lifestyles and created numerous problems.
  2. Summary of the ideas of body paragraphs. For example, metals helped them agriculture and construction while such goods as alcohol and firearms created the problem of alcohol abuse and disrupted ancient traditions.
  3. Concluding statement. Having reviewed the benefits and harms, it is sufficient to claim that the trade with Europeans brought more harm to the natives.

Step 4. Write the Essay

Now, it’s time to write an excellent essay using the template.

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