How do I write an outline?Im am working on a research paper to graduate. I have to write an outline first. The thing is that Im not sure how to get started. I was told by my teacher that I must...

How do I write an outline?

Im am working on a research paper to graduate. I have to write an outline first. The thing is that Im not sure how to get started. I was told by my teacher that I must write the outline in sentence form...including the body. Im dont know how to get started and how to write the body of the outline in sentence form.

Expert Answers
slchanmo1885 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your outline should start with the main idea of your paper. Make this your title. Your thesis should be stated first, next to Roman Numeral I. Then break your paper down into sections -- if I were writing a paper about dogs, I might decide to talk about the history of domestication of dogs, various breeds of dogs, and how to train dogs (you may have more than three sections in your paper). Those would be the three major sections of my paper. Each on of these goes under its own Roman Numeral heading. Then under each section, put each point you want to make about that topic using a capital A,B, C, etc. If you have further points under that one, use 1, 2, 3, and if you have even more under that, a,b,c (lower case). Make sure you end with a conclusion.


I. Thesis:This is my thesis.
II. This is my first main topic.

A. This is the point I want to make about this main topic.

III. This is my second main topic.

A. This is my point.

1. I'm breaking my point down further.

a. I'm breaking my point down even further.

A good example can be found at the University of New York Albany's website, link below.

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes you should start off with a intro paragraph/thesis paragraph, and then you can lead into the body paragraphs.  You sentence structure for your outline should be simple and not very detailed, just outlining what you will be writing about in that particular part of the paragraph:

 I.) Intro Paragraph

     A.) Attention Getter sentence

     B.) 1-2 sentences on background on topic

     C.) Thesis sentence and transition

 II.) Body Paragraph 1

      A.) First topic sentence

      B.) Second topic sentence



you should continue that formula for all body paragraphs and the...


III.) Conclusion

      A.) Transition and summary of major points

      B.) Concluding sentence

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here are some more great resources which explain how to write an outline and what outlines are in the first place. Good Luck! (powerpoint how to's)

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
By sentence form, your teacher means that each item should be written in a complete sentence. Ultimately, you'll end up writing most of your report but it will be easy for you to see the organization of your paper at a glance.
growly | Student

I am doing outlines with my classes right now, but don't ask for it to be in sentence form.  From my perspective, you need a clear opener and thesis in your introduction,  topic sentences for each body paragraph, along with any supporting evidence [you haven't said what type of research paper it is, but I am assuming you will provide direct support and quotations]  and a final concluding idea on the significance/importance of your thesis in the conclusion.  You also need to provide elaboration of your ideas--especially the topic sentence--so that it is clear what you are saying.  You should also state how you will interpret your quotes/evidence.  It is not enough merely to provide a quote--you must show how it is relevant.

 If write this out for each paragraph without going into too much detail, that may be what your teacher is looking for.  If you haven't actually done one of these outlines before for this teacher, you might ask him/her to provide you with a sample to see. It's hard to do something you have never seen an example of without very detailed instructions