The Importance of Outlining

Students on laptop together.

The key to any successful paper is outlining the topics you wish to discuss before you actually begin writing. Outlining will help construct and organize ideas in a sequential manner and thoughtful flow. Doing so allows you to pick relevant information or quotes from sources early on, giving writers steady foundation and groundwork when beginning the writing process. Most importantly, developing these ideas will help create your thesis.

Begin outlining with writing the question at the top of a page. If you do not have an explicit prompt, you may brainstorm what you will write about.

Next, think about which direction or argument you wish to pursue. How can you support this? What main points will you write about? How will you defend those ideas? Make bullet points for each topic you have, and the resources you can use to defend it.

After identifying the important aspects of your paper in a bulleted outline form, you will have a clear idea of your argument and tone, and are prepared to tackle your assignment.