• Try for free

How to Write an Essay Outline with Examples

TeacherVision Staff

Download for free!

Why write an essay outline.

An essay outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them. In some cases, a decimal outline may allow you to organize your details better. Writing an outline with an alphanumeric structure is another very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay. It also helps you develop a strong argumentative essay.

img alt=

Looking for a printable list of essay outline examples?

Our printable PDF features essay outline examples and templates that your students can use as examples when writing research papers, or as a supplement for an essay-writing unit.

Sample Outline - Persuasive Essay

Competitive Swimming, an Ideal Sport for Kids

Introduction

Start your argumentative essay outline by stating your point of view and/or present your persuasive argument.

Thesis: Competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports.

Body Paragraph 1

Introduce your primary persuasive argument and provide supporting details in your argumentative essay outline.

Topic Sentence:   Competitive swimming provides the same benefits as other sports.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   It is good exercise and builds muscular strength.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   It promotes cooperation among team members, especially in relays.

Body Paragraph 2

Introduce a secondary argument and provide supporting details.

Topic Sentence:   Competitive swimming provides some unique additional benefits.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Swimming is an important skill that can be used forever.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Swimming poses a reduced risk of injury.
  • Detail Sentence 3:   Each swimmer can easily chart his or her own progress.

Conclude your essay writing with a summary of the thesis and persuasive arguments. Brainstorming details that support your point-of-view is a great way to start before creating your outline and first draft.

Concluding Sentence:   There are many reasons why competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports, including...

Sample Outline - Narrative Essay

How Losing a Swim Meet Made Me a Better Swimmer

Introduce the subject of your narrative essay using a thesis statement and a plan of development (POD).

Thesis: The first time I participated in a competitive swim meet, I finished in last place. With more focused training and coaching, I was able to finish 2nd in the State Championship meet.

Plan of development:   I was very disappointed in my results from the first meet, so I improved my training and fitness. This helped me swim better and faster, which helped me to greatly improve my results.

Set the scene and provide supporting details. Again, start by brainstorming different ways to begin; then go ahead and craft an outline and a first draft.

Topic Sentence:   I was embarrassed at finishing last in my first competitive swim meet, so I began working on ways to improve my performance.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   I spent extra time with my coach and the team captains learning how to improve my technique.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   I started running and lifting weights to increase my overall fitness level.

Provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences to develop your general idea in your essay writing.

Topic Sentence:   Over time, my results began to improve and I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   My technique and fitness level made me faster and able to swim longer distances.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  I steadily got better, and I began winning or placing in the top 3 at most of my meets.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  My results improved to the point that I was able to qualify for the state championship meet.

Body Paragraph 3

The next step in the writing process is to provide additional supporting details, descriptions, and experiences. You can then divide them up under different headings.

Topic Sentence:   With my new confidence, techniques, and fitness level, I was able to finish 2nd at the state championship meet.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   I was able to swim well against a higher level of competition due to my training and technique.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  I was no longer embarrassed about my last-place finish, and was able to use it as motivation!

Conclude the narrative essay with a recap of the events described or a reflection on the lesson learned in the story. Briefly summarize the details you included under each heading.

Concluding Sentence:   I used my last-place finish in my first competitive swim meet as motivation to improve my performance.

Sample Outline - Descriptive Essay

Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame

Introduce the subject of your descriptive essay with a thesis statement covering the person, place, object, etc. you are writing about.

Thesis: The Hockey Hall of Fame is full of sights, sounds, and experiences that will delight hockey fans of all ages.

Set the scene and provide factual details.

Topic Sentence:   The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Canada and features exhibits from amateur and professional hockey.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   The Hall is located in downtown Toronto and is visited by 1 million people every year.
  • Detail Sentence 2:   You can see exhibits ranging from the early beginnings of the sport to the modern NHL and Olympics.

Provide additional sensory details, descriptions, and experiences.

Topic Sentence:   There are many types of exhibits and shows, including activities you can participate in.

  • Detail Sentence 1:  Player statues, plaques, and jerseys decorate the walls in every room of the Hall.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Many of the exhibits have movies and multimedia activities that make you feel like you're part of the game.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  You can even practice shooting pucks on virtual versions of some of the game's greatest goalies!

Conclude the essay with a paragraph that restates the thesis and recaps the descriptive and sensory details.

Concluding Sentence:   The Hockey Hall of Fame is an experience that combines the best sights, sounds and history of the game in Toronto.

Sample Outline - Expository Essay

Why The School Year Should be Shorter

Introduce the primary argument or main point of an expository essay, or other types of academic writing, using a thesis statement and context.

Thesis: The school year is too long, and should be shortened to benefit students and teachers, save districts money, and improve test scores and academic results. Other countries have shorter school years, and achieve better results.

Describe the primary argument and provide supporting details and evidence.

Topic Sentence:   A shorter school year would benefit students and teachers by giving them more time off.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Students and teachers would be able to spend more time with their families.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Teachers would be refreshed and rejuvenated and able to teach more effectively.

Provide additional supporting details and evidence, as in this essay outline example.

Topic Sentence:  A shorter school year would save school districts millions of dollars per year.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   Districts could save money on energy costs by keeping schools closed longer.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  A shorter school year means much lower supply and transportation costs.
  • Detail Sentence 3:  Well-rested and happy students would help improve test scores.

Provide additional or supplemental supporting details, evidence, and analysis, as in the essay outline example.

Topic Sentence:   Shortening the school year would also provide many benefits for parents and caregivers.

  • Detail Sentence 1:   A shorter school year would mean less stress and running around for parents.
  • Detail Sentence 2:  Caregivers would have more balance in their lives with fewer days in the school year.

Conclude the essay with an overview of the main argument, and highlight the importance of your evidence and conclusion.

Concluding Sentence:   Shortening the school year would be a great way to improve the quality of life for students, teachers, and parents while saving money for districts and improving academic results.

Sample Research Paper Outline

The Conquest of Mt. Everest

  • Location of Mt. Everest
  • Geography of the Surrounding Area
  • Height of the mountain
  • Jomolungma (Tibetan name)
  • Sagarmatha (Nepalese name)
  • The number of people who have climbed Everest to date
  • First to reach the summit (1953)
  • Led a team of experienced mountain climbers who worked together
  • Norgay was an experienced climber and guide who accompanied Hillary
  • Sherpas still used to guide expeditions
  • Leader of the failed 1996 expedition
  • Led group of (mainly) tourists with little mountain climbing experience
  • Loss of trees due to high demand for wood for cooking and heating for tourists.
  • Piles of trash left by climbing expeditions
  • Expedition fees provide income for the country
  • Expeditions provide work for the Sherpas, contributing to the local economy.
  • Introduction of motor vehicles
  • Introduction of electricity

The Everest essay outline template is based on a research paper submitted by Alexandra Ferber, grade 9.

Featured High School Resources

Classroom Games Templates Kit for Grades 5-12

Related Resources

About the author.

TeacherVision Staff

TeacherVision Editorial Staff

The TeacherVision editorial team is comprised of teachers, experts, and content professionals dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and relevant information in the teaching space.

sandbbox logo

How to Write an Outline for an Essay 🤓| Studyfy

How to Write an Essay Outline

essay outline introduction

Writing a comprehensive outline will save hours of writing and editing time, so it’s essential to master. Coming up with outlines is useful beyond just academics, any project you undertake will benefit from a well-structured outline. This article will cover everything you need to know about writing an essay outline and contains several handy templates!

What Is an Essay Outline?

Put simply, an essay outline is a brief plan of your paper. It lays out the structure of the essay, it includes all the main points, and it collects all your research and information. A good outline for essay writing helps you think about how the information will flow and makes sure that you have a plan moving forward. 

There can be many kinds of outlines depending on citation style and type of essay, but the key thing about all of them is that they help arrange and organize your main points to make the writing process easier.

How to Write an Outline For an Essay ?

Almost all forms of writing can benefit from an outline. An academic essay usually follows the classic 5 paragraph format of essay writing, so that’s a good way to start structuring your outline. This means you’ll have an introduction section, 3 body paragraph sections, and a conclusion section. 

An outline is just for you, so don’t worry too much about making it perfect, no one else is going to see it. Fill it with as much information as you need, but remember that outline essay writing is supposed to help you organize the final essay. In case you need to hand in your outline this article covers more structured outlining as well and has several templates for you to follow.

Outline Writing Tips 

Keep these things in mind when creating an outline of an essay

  • Collect all your information in one place and they see what fits into your outline. 
  • Your outline will go through many drafts, don’t feel pressure to make the first version perfect
  • Follow a template and fill in the blanks, this will make sure your outline has some flow. But make sure you spend time restructuring the information, no template is perfect and you may see better ways of organizing your essay.
  • Work on your thesis before you start outlining. This will help structure the outline and make sure you only include relevant information. 

Struggling with the Outline for your Essay Homework?

Get your assignments done by real pros. Save your precious time and boost your marks with ease.

General Essay Outline Format

If your outline needs to be submitted to your teacher then they may ask you to follow a specific outline format for the essay, these are discussed after this section. If you just need an outline for yourself, then this is a simple and short essay outline template to follow. Remember, this is YOUR outline, add things, skip sections, draw arrows, do whatever you need to to make it work for you.

  • The title of your essay
  • Your teacher’s name
  • The name of the course
  • Introduction
  • A catchy hook
  • Two sentence summary of the purpose of your paper
  • Your thesis statement
  • Transition sentence to the first body paragraph
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • First main point, argument, or piece of evidence
  • How it connects to your thesis
  • Transition sentence to the second body paragraph
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Second main point, argument, or piece of evidence
  • Transition sentence to the third body paragraph
  • Body Paragraph 3
  • Third main point, argument, or piece of evidence
  • Transition sentence to the conclusion
  • Summary of the main points of the paper
  • Your main conclusion
  • Reiterate your thesis statement
  • Works Cited/Bibliography

How to create an essay outline in MLA and APA styles

You’re probably familiar with the two main citation styles in use  - Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA). MLA is used for literature studies, philology, linguistics, etc. while APA is used for psychology, science, education studies, etc. 

In general, there are 2 types of outlines, a basic outline, and full sentence outline. The only difference between them is that a full sentence outline requires the use of full sentences in headings and a basic outline doesn’t. Ask your teacher which one is preferred if they want you to hand in an outline and they haven’t specified. In the next sections you’ll find an essay outline example in MLA and APA styles.

MLA Essay Outline Template

Though there is no specific format for an MLA outline, you should follow the general MLA format (double-spaced and Times New Roman 12 pt. font). Use an alphanumeric outline structure:

  • Headings in Roman numerals (I, II, III), 
  • Subheadings in uppercase letters (A, B, C); 
  • Then numbers (1, 2, 3) 
  • And finally lowercase letters (a, b, c). 
  • Make sure to add a period to each one. 
Here’s a sample basic outline for an essay in MLA style to make things clear. 
  • Introduction - Why the pyramids were confusing to Europeans
  • Summary - Europeans had misconceptions about Africa
  • Thesis statement - A lack of information, eurocentric pride, and disdain for Africa led to doubts about the origins of the pyramids
  • Body paragraph 1 - Age of the pyramids
  • First point - How they were discovered
  • Explanation - Why the pyramids seemed impossible
  • Subpoin - Tool use and geometry 
  • Transition - European discovery
  • Body paragraph 2 - Discovered by Europeans in the 1800s
  • First point - Colonial mindset
  • Explanation - Misconceptions about ancient Africa
  • Transition - Modern findings
  • Body paragraph 3 - The evidence
  • First point - New analysis of ancient building techniques
  • Explanation - Could have been done with hard work and dedication
  • Transition - Not aliens
  • Conclusion - An example of prejudiced thinking
  • Summary - The story of how pyramids were understood
  • Thesis - The past was strange
  • Conclusion - We know better now

APA Essay Outline Template

APA has a specified format for outlines. The headings format is alphanumeric like for MLA outlines, but there are 3 types of APA outlines - APA basic format, full sentence format, and decimal format. ‍

APA basic format and full sentence format use the following heading structure:
  • Main Heading use Roman Numerals
  • The first level of subheadings use capital letters
  • Further subheadings use numbers 
  • Further subheadings use lower-case letters.
  • Further subheadings use numbers in parentheses

The only difference between APA basic format and full sentence format is that you write a full sentence rather than just a fragment for each point. 

The only difference between the decimal format and the other two is that it uses a different numbering system.

Decimal format example:
  • First heading is 1.0.
  • First paragraph in the first heading is 1.1.
  • First point of your first paragraph is 1.1.1.
  • Second sentence of your first paragraph is 1.1.2.
  • Third sentence of your second paragraph is 1.2.3.
  • Second heading is 2.0.
  • Third sentence in the second paragraph under the second heading is 2.2.3.

If that seems complicated, don’t worry! It’s very rarely asked for and it’s very simple to get used to. 

Here’s a full sentence APA template to go over.
  • Introduction - The pyramids have been fascinating to people since they were first constructed over 6000 years ago, but when they were re-discovered by Europeans some absurd theories came into existence.
  • Summary - European misconceptions about ancient tools and building techniques as well as African history led to many misconceptions.
  • Thesis statement - A lack of information, eurocentric pride, and disdain for Africa led to doubts about the origins of the pyramids.
  • Body paragraph 1 - It’s staggering to think that the ancient Egyptians were as old to the ancient Romans as the ancient Romans are to us now.
  • First point - The pyramids have been visible and famous since they were constructed, but Europeans visiting Egypt in the middle ages claim to have rediscovered them and did not believe in their African origins.
  • Explanation - The massive size and fine construction of the pyramids made it seem impossible.
  • Subpoin - Knowledge of what building tools and methods were available in ancient Egypt were not available.
  • Subpoin - The size and precision cutting of the stones stumped scientists.
  • Transition - The enlightenment and age of science helped solve some of these mysteries.
  • Body paragraph 2 - It wasn’t till Napoleon in the 18th century that European scientists started analyzing ancient Egyptian culture.
  • First point - Till then, the prevailing colonial mindset was just to loot and plunder as much as possible.
  • Explanation - Europe had a dogma of “civilizing the savages”.
  • Transition - These new scientific studies started unearthing clues to how the pyramids were constructed.
  • Body paragraph 3 - After 1940 many expeditions and excavations took place and since the 1980s many questions have been answered.
  • First point - The discovery of the village of workers made it clear that the pyramids were of African Origin.
  • Explanation - A greater understanding of ancient Egyptian culture based on scientific data gave more evidence.
  • Transition - Finally people could confidently answer that it wasn’t aliens!
  • Conclusion - This was a glaring example of prejudiced thinking during the middle ages.
  • Summary - The story of how pyramids were understood is connected to the discovery of how ancient Egypt used to be.
  • Conclusion - We can learn not to judge before we have reliable data and evidence.

Did you like our inspiring Essay Outline Writing Guide?

For more help, tap into our pool of professional writers and get expert essay editing services!

Find your essay outline template by your essay type

Different types of essays need different kinds of information and some have unique structures of their own. In this section you’ll find simple essay outline templates for 5 common essay types.

Argumentative essay outline example

An argumentative essay uses evidence and logic to convince the reader that your point of view on an issue is correct. An outline is especially useful for this type of essay since it helps organize your arguments. Take a look at this outline example for essay template. 

  • Background information
  • First argument
  • Second argument
  • Opposing argument 1
  • Your counterclaim with the evidence
  • Opposing argument 2
  • Summary of your main arguments
  • Importance of your viewpoint

Expository essay outline example

An expository essay presents facts from both sides of an issue and makes an unbiased observation at the end. Keep your own opinions and emotions out of this type of essay. An outline can help arrange the various perspectives as well as make sure you don’t accidentally show bias. Here’s a template for you to follow.

  • Present your topic
  • First topic sentence
  • Evidence 
  • Analysis 
  • Transition 
  • Second topic Sentence
  • Third topic Sentence
  • Summary of the main points
  • Importance of the topic 
  • Possible further research

Reflective essay outline example

Reflective essays are one of the most fun essays to write. They ask you to write about an experience in your life and analyze how it impacted you. These are less formal than typical academic essays and are usually written in the first person (so use personal pronouns like “I”). These types of essays offer a lot of freedom so there is no particular way to write them, still, an outline can help organize your thoughts and clarify which emotions, feelings, and sensations you want to write about.

  • Teaser for the full story
  • Introduce the story
  • Antagonist/conflict
  • The build-up
  • Details about the conflict
  • Role of characters 
  • The resolution of the climax
  • The conclusion of the story 
  • Summary of the events
  • What you learned
  • How it impacted you

Compare and contrast essay outline example

Compare and contrast essays ask you to analyze two things and examine any connections. This type of essay isn’t as formal or structured as expository essays so you don’t have to follow a specific structure. An outline is helpful to collect all the information and to help draw conclusions though, so here’s an example outline.

  • Background information about the 2 points
  • Connect point 1 and point 2
  • Similarities
  • Differences
  • Comparisons
  • Conclusions from analysis
  • Other points to compare against
  • Further research

Research essay outline example

A research essay requires finding reputable sources, analyzing and synthesizing information, and presenting your conclusion backed by evidence. These are popular assignments because they require critical thinking skills as well as research skills. Always use an outline if you’re assigned a research essay, it will help organize information and shorten writing time.

  • First research finding
  • Second research finding
  • Analysis of research
  • What you agree with and why with the evidence
  • What you disagree with and why with the evidence
  • Summary of research
  • Importance of research

Quick Wrap Up

There is no denying that an outline helps with the writing process. Famous authors, YouTube scripts, speechwriters, everyone uses outlines to help organize their thoughts and present information effectively. Make sure you master this skill because it’s going to be useful throughout your life. 

If an outline is just for you (it’s not going to be given to a teacher) then follow a template, but there’s no reason to stick to it exactly. Draw on it, add sections, delete sections, do whatever you need to do to make the information you have to make the most sense to you. On the other hand, if it’s supposed to be handed in, check what format it’s supposed to be in and follow the format. 

The specific templates in this article are a good starting point, but you may need to add body paragraphs or make other minor changes here and there. After all, a template is just a guide.  

Hopefully, this article has given you tips, outlines, and a bunch of other helpful information, but if you need any help essay writer service or custom essay writing ,  Studyfy also offers custom essay writing services , " write my admission essay " service and coursework writing service help. If you need a top-quality paper that meets all your requirements, just say, write my paper for me , and our essay writers online will take care of the rest. Our custom essay writing services are designed to help you achieve academic success and get good grades. Trust us to provide you with the best possible outcome and reach out to us today to learn more about our services.

Featured Posts

How to make an essay longer.

essay outline introduction

How to Write a Dissertation

essay outline introduction

How to Write an Essay

essay outline introduction

How to Write a Research Paper

essay outline introduction

How to Write a Discussion Post

essay outline introduction

How to Title an Essay

essay outline introduction

essay outline introduction

How to Write an Essay Outline: MLA and APA Styles

essay outline introduction

Outlining is a form of organization which is used among authors of all writing styles. The common organizational method allows writers to list all of their research and ideas in one place before the writing process starts. Understanding the general college essay outline can go a long way in getting your thoughts structured, as well as positive feedback from your professor. Take a look at this guide from our coursework writing services team to learn how to write an outline.

What Is an Outline?

An essay outline is one of the main planning methods when it comes to writing academic papers, scholarly articles, informative guides, novels, and encyclopedias. The everyday paper outline contains the headings: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Every source is organized by relevance to strengthen the writing process. There are various formats when it comes to outlining, but the main formats required for a college essay outline is MLA and APA.

Regardless of whether you’re writing an MLA or APA outline, the organizational process remains the same with some minor differences. The main difference being APA uses abstracts, as it requires one or two sentences per line. APA is used for humanities, as MLA is used more for social studies. Other than that, the simple outline remains the same for any kind of academic paper structure.

How to Write an Outline?

The most common college essay is 5 paragraphs. Thus, an easy way to remember the general format of a writing plan is to think of it as planning a 5 paragraph essay outline where students would write an Introduction, Thesis, Body, and Conclusion. Then, fit a total of 5 paragraphs within the basic structure. The same practice can be done with planning, except rather than paragraphs, it’s notes. The exact same method would apply to an argumentative essay outline and any other kind of paper structure throughout and beyond college.

Order Paper Now and Get an Outline for Free

When you order papers from EssayPro you get an outline, a plagiarism report and a bunch of other cool features for free. It doesn't matter if it's a literature review outline or any other.

The Key-Elements to Outlining

  • Research & Notes: Before the writing process, it is essential to find credible sources and note them down. Search across credible websites, as well as academic search engines, Google Scholar or Oxford Academic, to find reliable references to include in an academic paper.
  • Prioritize Your Thesis: As the thesis statement is a summary of the entire paper, start prioritizing it before working on the other sections of the outline. The thesis can guide you along the planning and writing process.
  • Write Your Ideas: Assuming you have already written out the basic headings of an outline, write down all of the key points from your found sources in the Thesis and Body sections.
  • Where to Include References: For cause and effect, AP English examinations, SAT essays, admission essays, along with other formal writing styles, all of the references are included in the body section. Excluding reflection paper and analytical papers, where it’s acceptable to include a citation within the introductory paragraph.
  • Introduction: For most academic styles, the introduction is the opening line to the paper. Thus, it is essential to plan something catchy within the outline. As mentioned, writing styles, for example, reflection essay or analytical paper, allow for the use of citation as an opening.
  • The Conclusion: The entire paper should be summarized in the final paragraph, restating the thesis in the first sentence, adding suggestions, predictions, and/or opinions in the sentences that follow. As for the final sentence, it should summarize the goal of the paper.

General Outline Format

Here is an outline format from our business essay writing services professionals:

  • Essay Title:
  • Student Name:
  • Professor’s Name:
  • Class (Optional)

Introduction

  • Opening Paragraph.
  • Brief Description of the Entire Paper.
  • Link Sentence to the First Body Paragraph.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Evidence/Reference.
  • Explanation (Related to the Thesis).
  • Link Sentence to the Second Body Paragraph.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Link Sentence to the Third Body Paragraph.

Body Paragraph 3

  • Link Sentence to the Conclusion.
  • Summary of the Entire Paper.
  • A Conclusive Sentence.
  • Footnotes or Bibliography

Do You Need Some extra assistance With All of the Above?

Get help from EssayPro. We will satisfy your ' do my essay ' request, just give us your instructions.

Outline Examples

We understand that it may be difficult to differentiate between an MLA & APA Outline. The methods both depend on the referencing styles. APA outlining makes the use of abstracts, as MLA uses sentence citations. In an MLA outline, a title page is not necessary. As the APA referencing style requires it, include it on the outline. Take a look at an outline example below to get a better idea.

MLA Outline Example

  • Introductory Sentence: Stonehenge is a vast hub for ancient history.
  • Link Sentence to the Thesis: Standing 13 feet high, it is one of the oldest structures in the UK.
  • Description of the Paper: The paper describes how Stonehenge was built and its purpose.
  • First Argument/Claim: Stonehenge was built in 3001BC.
  • Second Argument/Claim: Stonehenge is known to be a place for religious worship.
  • Third Argument/Claim: Other Stonehenge-like structures exist around Europe.
  • Reference: The circulation ditch around Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed around the year 3000BC, according to studies.
  • Explanation/Claim: Around the end of stone-age, pagans got together and built the first segment to what has become stone-henge.
  • Link Sentence: Which brings up the matter of belief.
  • Reference: During the late Tudor era, most people believed that ancient Britons placed the stones for the sole purpose of religious practice.
  • Explanation/Claim: From the late 2nd millennium AD to modern day, the practice of Paganism is the common explanation for the reason why stone-henge was built.
  • Link Sentence: More evidence emerges regarding the mysterious structure.
  • Reference: Around 1100 BC, Stonehenge-like stones emerged.
  • Explanation/Claim : The structure is believed to have been built by migrants.
  • Link Sentence:
  • Summary of the Paper: Overall, the ancient stones have caused great interest throughout human history with science and assumptions.
  • Conclusive Sentence: No one knows for sure how they were built.
  • “History of Stonehenge” https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/history/
  • “Why Was Stonehenge Built?” https://www.history.com/news/why-was-stonehenge-built
  • “Stonehenge Is Not Alone: 7 Ancient Megaliths You've Never Seen.” https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/travel/stonehenge-not-alone-7-ancient-megaliths-youve-never-seen

APA Outline Example

  • Title: The Dangers of Using Cell-Phones
  • Student Name: Jake Smith
  • Professor’s Name: Dr. Stephen Miller
  • Class (Optional): Class of 2019
  • Introductory Sentence: Mobile phones have taken a drastic effect on our daily lives in the worst possible way.
  • Link Sentence to the Thesis: The everyday use of mobile technology has gone out of control.
  • Description: The paper describes the regular dangers and negative effects on humans regarding cell-phone usage. The ordeal can be life-threatening, or simply socially depriving.
  • First argument: High amounts of cell-phone usage results in negative health consequences.
  • Second Argument: Cell-phone usage has a negative effect on human interaction.
  • Third Argument: Texting while driving is worse than drinking and driving.
  • Evidence/Reference: “Mobile phones communicate with base stations using radiofrequency (RF) radiation. If RF radiation is high enough, it has a ‘thermal’ effect, which means it raises body temperature. There are concerns that the low levels of RF radiation emitted by mobile phones could cause health problems such as headaches or brain tumors.” (“Mobile phones and your health”)
  • Explanation/Claim: The radiation from phones possesses cancerous elements after long-term usage. In other words, one’s long-term cell-phone usage can put him or herself at risk of terminal illness, or worse. There is still a lack of evidence to this claim as cell-phones have not been around for very long.
  • Link Sentence: Which brings us to how cell-phones are destroying human interaction.
  • Evidence/Reference: “Sherry Turkle argues that the use of cell phones while in social situations affects the quality of human conversation. Turkle says that it makes people less open and honest in conversation. She also says it makes people less empathetic. She uses a school of children as an example, stating that the children do not seem to be able to understand each other or show empathy toward each other.” (“Cell-Phones and Human Interaction.”)
  • Explanation/Claim: Mobile phone usage has gotten to the extent that humans are no longer communicating. Families go out to restaurants, cafes, and parks without interacting with each other due to their addiction to cell-phones. Humans have also possessed far less empathy compared with 15 years ago due to the missing interaction that could have been obtained during this time period. This shows mostly in school children who have been born into this way of life.
  • Link Sentence: Apart from that, cell-phone usage while driving also comes with life-threatening risks.
  • Evidence/Reference: “The Transport Research Laboratory found that motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages (...) the research found, with steering control by texters 91 percent poorer than that of drivers devoting their full concentration to the road.” (“Texting while driving is more dangerous than drink-driving.” )
  • Explanation/Claim: Using a mobile device while driving a motor vehicle has more of a drastic effect than drink-driving. On record, there have been more deaths around the world from text-driving and drink-driving.
  • Link Sentence to the Conclusion: Humans are completely addicted to mobile phones, to the extent of dangerous driving, health-risks, and a lack of interaction.
  • Summary of the Entire Paper: Restate the Thesis.
  • Conclusive Sentence: The continuation of excessive usage of mobile phones is becoming a major threat to mankind in every aspect possible.
  • “Mobile Phones and Your Health” https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/mobile-phones-and-your-health
  • “Cell Phones and Human Interaction.” https://www.theodysseyonline.com/cell-phones-and-human-interaction
  • “Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Drink-Driving,” http://www.amta.org.au/articles/amta/Texting.while.driving.is.more.dangerous.than.drinkdriving

We also recommend reading The Divine Comedy Summary , our readers like it a lot, and it may also be helpful in writing essays.

Regardless of the writing style, the main essay format acts as a helping hand in multiple ways to any kind of author. Knowing the general plan of an essay can highly benefit those writing their everyday college paper or dissertation by having all of the ideas and references on a writing plan. For example, a persuasive essay outline does not differentiate from a research paper plan. Thus, knowing the general outline format can make producing academic papers far easier by simplifying the entire writing process. Sometimes when you start writing an essay, you may encounter various difficulties like not understanding the topic, lack of time, too tired. You may ask yourself "I want to pay someone to write my paper . Can anyone help me?" Sure! On EssayPro we can give you a hand! Just leave us a request and we'll help asap.

How to Get Qualified Essay Help

Are you still having difficulty outlining? Our writers are here to give you a hand to create a well-structured essay outline with references and unique ideas included. Regardless of the subject, academic level, or outline format required, we have got you covered. Click on the button below if you have the " write research paper for me " request or need any other help.

Related Articles

thesis statement

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Parts of a Paper / How to Write an Essay Outline

How to Write an Essay Outline

It’s 11 p.m., your paper is due tomorrow, and you’re only about halfway done. You’re typing along and when you realize that, wait…you’re actually not a huge fan of your argument or the supporting examples you’re using. Your options are to haphazardly keep writing or to backtrack and rehash what you’ve already done. Ugh. Unsurprisingly, both options aren’t great.

This scenario is scary, but totally avoidable! Though it’s tempting to just start writing, one of the best steps you can take before you type a single word is to create an outline for your paper. By taking the time to write a paper outline, you can prevent the scenario above and make your writing process a cinch!

Guide Overview

What is a paper outline, why it’s worth writing an outline.

  • Step 1: gather your relevant materials
  • Step 2: create your thesis
  • Step 3: find examples
  • Step 4: analyze your examples
  • Step 5: arrange your examples

A paper outline is a skeletal version of your paper. Another way to think about an outline is to view it as a roadmap. An outline helps you organize and streamline your thoughts ahead of time. By front loading this work, you allow the eventual writing process to be much easier: instead of having to backtrack and see if your paper makes sense, you can refer to your outline and be rest assured that you’re on the right track.

It’s understandable if you think it’s not worth the time to write an outline. After all, writing a paper in itself is a lot of work – why add an extra step?

Here’s the secret: creating an outline and then writing your paper takes about the same amount of time as jumping straight into writing your paper. Why? By immediately writing, you run the risk of having to go back and see if the flow of your paper makes sense. Backtracking takes up a lot of time: having to go back and revise your paper because you missed a point can be a pain.

Taking the time to outline your paper gives you the space to see what arguments work, which examples to include, and more. Doing this prep work ahead of time prevents you from having to do it while in the middle of your paper. Your completed outline serves as a solid reference as you write your assignment. In an ideal world, your outline should be so thorough that the writing process is essentially just you converting your bullet points into sentences that flow together!

How to outline a paper

Step 1: gather your relevant materials.

The first step to take when outlining a paper is to gather all your relevant materials. If you’re writing a paper about a book you’re reading in class, start thinking about which passages from the book are relevant to your prompt. If you’re writing a paper about a broader topic, identify what sources you’ll need to construct your argument.

Pro tip: Avoid plagiarism and keep track of the sources you’re using at EasyBib.com! Easily create an APA or MLA format citation , try out our Chicago citation generator , and find help for other citation styles.

Step 2: Create your thesis

After you’ve compiled your materials, start thinking about your thesis statement. Revisit your assignment prompt, peruse your materials, and determine what your viewpoint is regarding the prompt.

Step 3: Find examples

Once you have your thesis, come up with ways to support it. Identify the quotes you need or the arguments you want to utilize in order to bolster your thesis.

Step 4: Analyze Your Examples

Write 3-4 bullet points connecting your examples to your thesis. The analysis part of your paper is the meat of your paper, so feel free to take as much time as you want during this step.

Step 5: Arrange Your Examples

Now that you have your examples and analysis, arrange them in a logical way that helps you develop and support your thesis. This is the step in which you can start copying and pasting your notes into an outline that mimics the flow of your paper. By the end of this step, you should have a solid outline!

Here’s a template for a five paragraph essay you can use for your papers moving forward:

Paper outline example

Before you jump into writing your paper, it might pay to take a quick look at our EasyBib grammar guides . Discover what an abstract noun is, read a determiner definition , see the difference between regular and irregular verbs , and get familiar with other parts of speech.

EasyBib Writing Resources

Writing a paper.

  • Academic Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • College Admissions Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Research Paper
  • Thesis Statement
  • Writing a Conclusion
  • Writing an Introduction
  • Writing an Outline
  • Writing a Summary

EasyBib Plus Features

  • Citation Generator
  • Essay Checker
  • Expert Check Proofreader
  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tools

Plagiarism Checker

  • Spell Checker

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Grammar and Plagiarism Checkers

Grammar Basics

Plagiarism Basics

Writing Basics

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

Wyzant Logo

How to Write an Essay Outline

Have you ever tried writing an essay without an outline? If you have, chances are your ideas went all over the place even though you started out with a specific goal in mind. So when your professor reads the paper, they won’t know what points you’re trying to make or how those points support your thesis statement. If they can’t understand what they’re reading, there’s no way they’ll grade it an A+.

That’s why you should have an essay outline to organize your research or opinions in a way that makes sense for readers. An essay outline helps you structure your writing in a logical flow to get your ideas across more effectively, which also improves your overall writing quality . As such, it also ensures that you don’t accidentally leave out the most critical points you want to convey.

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t know how to write an outline for an essay (yet) or you want to get better at it. That’s exactly what this guide will help you with. You’ll discover what goes into an essay outline and how you can write one for your next paper. Let’s get started.

What is an outline?

An outline is an organization tool that helps authors plan their writing before they start. In other words, it’s a roadmap or a blueprint of your paper. It acts as the foundation of your piece, listing out the main ideas in a logical structure that flows well. Having a topical outline in place also makes it easier to remember all the points you need to form a strong argument or support your opinions.

Although an essay outline isn’t mandatory, it helps you get the job done faster and more easily. When you start writing without a proper plan in mind, however, there could be a lot of restructuring and rewriting. This not only takes time but can be mentally taxing, and you can’t afford that especially when you have other classes to catch up with.

Writing an essay outline involves a few steps – preparation, structuring, and organization. Since this can be a lot of work, it’s best to learn from a writing tutor who will guide you through the entire process and give you hands-on training. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn it on your own, and this guide will give you all the basic ideas you need to cover when creating an outline.

Key elements of an essay outline

Regardless of what type of essay you’re writing, a formal essay outline typically has three essential elements – the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Let’s take a closer look at each of these components:

The introduction

This is the section where you’ll introduce readers to your topic and describe why you’re writing about it. It needs to be relevant and attention-grabbing. When writing a college research paper outline, be sure to mention the topic and the thesis statement in your introduction.

Starting your outline with a thesis statement will give you a better sense of how to support the ideas and arguments you present in the body.

This is the section that will contain the most information and it’s where you’ll present ideas and arguments to support your thesis. It should have a minimum of three paragraphs and your outline should touch on each of them.

For each paragraph, note the topic or idea you’ll be discussing. Don’t forget to include the supporting evidence such as data, examples, expert opinions, and facts you plan to use for each paragraph.

The conclusion

This is the section where you wrap up the essay and remind readers about the points you were trying to make. Start by paraphrasing your thesis statement and summarize the purpose of your paper.

Outline formatting

In general, most formal essay outlines use a linear formatting style. This involves ranking your points or arguments in order of importance. So for example, you’ll start by discussing the most important point at the top of your essay body and then gradually move downward.

Considering all these elements, your essay outline will typically look like this:

How to Write an Outline Example.PNG

3 Questions to ask before creating an outline

Before you’re ready to create your essay outline, ask yourself the following questions so you can start with a strong direction. Having all this information in place will make it easier to put together your outline:

1: What’s your goal?

What’s the purpose of writing this paper? Perhaps you want to inform your readers about a specific topic or maybe you want to persuade them to accept your argument. Identifying your goal will help you form a strong thesis statement as well.

2: Who will read it?

For whom are you writing your essay? Yes, you’ll consider writing for a professor when preparing a college research paper outline, but they aren’t your only target audience. Perhaps you’re writing for your classmates and peers, or you’re writing for experts in your field.

If you’re writing a college application essay, for instance, your target audience will be the members of the admissions committee. This means you should be writing for students, staff, and professors alike.

Identifying your target audience will help you understand how to form convincing arguments while considering their knowledge and points of view.

3: What’s your thesis statement?

Now based on the goal of your essay, come up with a strong thesis statement that details your argument and draws in the readers.

Structuring your outline

Once you have a goal and a thesis statement ready, it’s time to structure your essay outline. You can either use an alphanumeric outline structure like we’ve done in the above example, or you can also go for a decimal structure depending on what’s clearer to you.

Alphanumeric format:

Outline Example Alphanumeric.PNG

Decimal format:

How to Write an Outline in Decimal Format.PNG

Remember, this isn’t your full essay yet so feel free to briefly outline your ideas in fragmented sentences. However, a college research paper outline will most likely need complete sentences if your professor is going to review it. This will help them understand the ideas and arguments you plan on presenting in your essay.

Putting this all together

Now let’s get to the main event – organizing your essay outline. Follow the topical outline structure of your choice and begin by outlining the introduction. In a sentence, describe the topic you’re writing about. Then follow up with your thesis statement.

You might also want to include an essay hook to make your paper even more enticing for readers. An essay hook is the opening sentence of your introduction, which instantly draws in readers and makes them want to read the entire piece. It could be anything from a relevant quote or a common misconception to an anecdote or a personal story.

Next, outline the body of your essay by noting down the topic or argument for each paragraph. Include the supporting evidence you plan on using such as stats , facts, examples, and expert opinions. Don’t forget to mention how the evidence ties in with the topic and thesis statement.

It will help to include a transition sentence in each paragraph so you can quickly structure your arguments in a logical flow. When you add more details to your essay outline, you’ll find it much easier to organize all the info as you write.

Finally, end it with an outline of your essay conclusion. Make sure you restate your thesis statement to remind your readers of your argument. Then follow up with a concluding statement to validate your thesis and propose any solution or plan to address the issue discussed in your essay.

Outline examples for different types of essays

While it’s helpful to read articles that tell you what to do and how to do it, working with a personal English tutor can give you a much more practical experience in writing essay outlines. Another excellent solution is to learn from example . So we’ve put together outline examples for the most popular types of essays:

Argumentative essay outline example

An argumentative essay, also known as a persuasive essay, involves using logical arguments to support your opinion and persuade readers. This type of persuasive writing will require solid evidence to back up your theory or argument such as facts, research, and examples.

Writing an Outline.PNG

Narrative essay outline example

A narrative essay is a form of descriptive writing where you narrate a story based on your personal experience or point of view. This is the easiest type of essay because it doesn’t require any research or supporting evidence. However, the most challenging part is providing specific and sensory details that would help readers understand your point of view.

Outline Topic Sentence.PNG

Research essay outline example

A research essay is a form of academic writing which involves analyzing the works of other people on a certain topic and build on them using your own opinions or ideas. This is the most common type of essay you’ll have to write as a grad or post-grad student. It can be challenging as it requires plenty of research, coupled with original ideas and critical thinking.

Research Paper Outline Example.PNG

Get ready to write sensational essays

All the tips and examples we’ve provided above will help you understand how and where to begin your essay writing process . It all starts with a good essay outline to organize your thoughts and structure your writing flow. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing your train of thought while you’re in the middle of writing. So make the most of our guide to develop your essay and outline writing skills.

Jacqueline Zote

Jacqueline Zote is a copywriter with a passion for all things relating to the English language. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.

Latest Posts

essay outline introduction

Why Do Kanji Have Multiple Readings?

essay outline introduction

How to Type Katakana

essay outline introduction

Does Wyzant Have Japanese Tutors?

Get to know us

In the News

Learn with us

Find a Tutor

Request a Tutor

Online Tutoring

Get Math Help

Learning Resources

Work with us

Careers at Wyzant

Apply to Tutor

Tutor Job Board

Download our free app

Let’s keep in touch

Feeling a little lost?

Start here or give us a call: (312) 646-6365

TUTORS BY SUBJECT

Algebra Tutors

Calculus Tutors

Chemistry Tutors

Computer tutors

Elementary Tutors

English Tutors

Geometry Tutors

Language Tutors

Math Tutors

Music Lessons

Physics Tutors

Reading Tutors

Science Tutors

Spanish Tutors

Statistics Tutors

Test Prep Tutors

Writing Tutors

TUTORS BY LOCATION

Atlanta Tutors

Boston Tutors

Brooklyn Tutors

Chicago Tutors

Dallas Tutors

Denver Tutors

Detroit Tutors

Houston Tutors

Los Angeles Tutors

Miami Tutors

New York City Tutors

Orange County Tutors

Philadelphia Tutors

Phoenix Tutors

San Francisco Tutors

Seattle Tutors

San Diego Tutors

Washington, DC Tutors

Making educational experiences better for everyone.

Comprehensive K-12 personalized learning

Rosetta Stone

Immersive learning for 25 languages

Fun educational games for kids

Vocabulary.com

Adaptive Learning for English vocabulary

Education.com

35,000 worksheets, games, and lesson plans

SpanishDict

Spanish-English dictionary, translator, and learning

PrepScholar

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to write an introduction paragraph in 3 steps.

author image

General Education

feature-introduction-intro-once-upon-a-time-pen-writing-cc0

It’s the roadmap to your essay, it’s the forecast for your argument, it’s...your introduction paragraph, and writing one can feel pretty intimidating. The introduction paragraph is a part of just about every kind of academic writing , from persuasive essays to research papers. But that doesn’t mean writing one is easy!

If trying to write an intro paragraph makes you feel like a Muggle trying to do magic, trust us: you aren’t alone. But there are some tips and tricks that can make the process easier—and that’s where we come in. 

In this article, we’re going to explain how to write a captivating intro paragraph by covering the following info:  

  • A discussion of what an introduction paragraph is and its purpose in an essay
  • An overview of the most effective introduction paragraph format, with explanations of the three main parts of an intro paragraph
  • An analysis of real intro paragraph examples, with a discussion of what works and what doesn’t
  • A list of four top tips on how to write an introduction paragraph

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

body-question-mark-think-wonder-cc0

What Is an Introduction Paragraph? 

An introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of an essay , paper, or other type of academic writing. Argumentative essays , book reports, research papers, and even personal  essays are common types of writing that require an introduction paragraph. Whether you’re writing a research paper for a science course or an argumentative essay for English class , you’re going to have to write an intro paragraph. 

So what’s the purpose of an intro paragraph? As a reader’s first impression of your essay, the intro paragraph should introduce the topic of your paper. 

Your introduction will also state any claims, questions, or issues that your paper will focus on. This is commonly known as your paper’s thesis . This condenses the overall point of your paper into one or two short sentences that your reader can come back and reference later.

But intro paragraphs need to do a bit more than just introduce your topic. An intro paragraph is also supposed to grab your reader’s attention. The intro paragraph is your chance to provide just enough info and intrigue to make your reader say, “Hey, this topic sounds interesting. I think I’ll keep reading this essay!” That can help your essay stand out from the crowd.

In most cases, an intro paragraph will be relatively short. A good intro will be clear, brief, purposeful, and focused. While there are some exceptions to this rule, it’s common for intro paragraphs to consist of three to five sentences . 

Effectively introducing your essay’s topic, purpose, and getting your reader invested in your essay sounds like a lot to ask from one little paragraph, huh? In the next section, we’ll demystify the intro paragraph format by breaking it down into its core parts . When you learn how to approach each part of an intro, writing one won’t seem so scary!

body-piece-of-cake

Once you figure out the three parts of an intro paragraph, writing one will be a piece of cake!

The 3 Main Parts of an Intro Paragraph

In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement . Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay. 

Below, we’ll explain how to start an introduction paragraph by writing an effective hook, providing context, and crafting a thesis statement. When you put these elements together, you’ll have an intro paragraph that does a great job of making a great first impression on your audience!

Intro Paragraph Part 1: The Hook

When it comes to how to start an introduction paragraph, o ne of the most common approaches is to start with something called a hook. 

What does hook mean here, though? Think of it this way: it’s like when you start a new Netflix series: you look up a few hours (and a few episodes) later and you say, “Whoa. I guess I must be hooked on this show!” 

That’s how the hook is supposed to work in an intro paragrap h: it should get your reader interested enough that they don’t want to press the proverbial “pause” button while they’re reading it . In other words, a hook is designed to grab your reader’s attention and keep them reading your essay! 

This means that the hook comes first in the intro paragraph format—it’ll be the opening sentence of your intro. 

It’s important to realize  that there are many different ways to write a good hook. But generally speaking, hooks must include these two things: what your topic is, and the angle you’re taking on that topic in your essay. 

One approach to writing a hook that works is starting with a general, but interesting, statement on your topic. In this type of hook, you’re trying to provide a broad introduction to your topic and your angle on the topic in an engaging way . 

For example, if you’re writing an essay about the role of the government in the American healthcare system, your hook might look something like this: 

There's a growing movement to require that the federal government provide affordable, effective healthcare for all Americans. 

This hook introduces the essay topic in a broad way (government and healthcare) by presenting a general statement on the topic. But the assumption presented in the hook can also be seen as controversial, which gets readers interested in learning more about what the writer—and the essay—has to say.

In other words, the statement above fulfills the goals of a good hook: it’s intriguing and provides a general introduction to the essay topic.

Intro Paragraph Part 2: Context

Once you’ve provided an attention-grabbing hook, you’ll want to give more context about your essay topic. Context refers to additional details that reveal the specific focus of your paper. So, whereas the hook provides a general introduction to your topic, context starts helping readers understand what exactly you’re going to be writing about

You can include anywhere from one to several sentences of context in your intro, depending on your teacher’s expectations, the length of your paper, and complexity of your topic. In these context-providing sentences, you want to begin narrowing the focus of your intro. You can do this by describing a specific issue or question about your topic that you’ll address in your essay. It also helps readers start to understand why the topic you’re writing about matters and why they should read about it. 

So, what counts as context for an intro paragraph? Context can be any important details or descriptions that provide background on existing perspectives, common cultural attitudes, or a specific situation or controversy relating to your essay topic. The context you include should acquaint your reader with the issues, questions, or events that motivated you to write an essay on your topic...and that your reader should know in order to understand your thesis. 

For instance, if you’re writing an essay analyzing the consequences of sexism in Hollywood, the context you include after your hook might make reference to the #metoo and #timesup movements that have generated public support for victims of sexual harassment. 

The key takeaway here is that context establishes why you’re addressing your topic and what makes it important. It also sets you up for success on the final piece of an intro paragraph: the thesis statement.

Elle Woods' statement offers a specific point of view on the topic of murder...which means it could serve as a pretty decent thesis statement!

Intro Paragraph Part 3: The Thesis

The final key part of how to write an intro paragraph is the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the backbone of your introduction: it conveys your argument or point of view on your topic in a clear, concise, and compelling way . The thesis is usually the last sentence of your intro paragraph. 

Whether it’s making a claim, outlining key points, or stating a hypothesis, your thesis statement will tell your reader exactly what idea(s) are going to be addressed in your essay. A good thesis statement will be clear, straightforward, and highlight the overall point you’re trying to make.

Some instructors also ask students to include an essay map as part of their thesis. An essay map is a section that outlines the major topics a paper will address. So for instance, say you’re writing a paper that argues for the importance of public transport in rural communities. Your thesis and essay map might look like this: 

Having public transport in rural communities helps people improve their economic situation by giving them reliable transportation to their job, reducing the amount of money they spend on gas, and providing new and unionized work .

The underlined section is the essay map because it touches on the three big things the writer will talk about later. It literally maps out the rest of the essay!

So let’s review: Your thesis takes the idea you’ve introduced in your hook and context and wraps it up. Think of it like a television episode: the hook sets the scene by presenting a general statement and/or interesting idea that sucks you in. The context advances the plot by describing the topic in more detail and helping readers understand why the topic is important. And finally, the thesis statement provides the climax by telling the reader what you have to say about the topic. 

The thesis statement is the most important part of the intro. Without it, your reader won’t know what the purpose of your essay is! And for a piece of writing to be effective, it needs to have a clear purpose. Your thesis statement conveys that purpose , so it’s important to put careful thought into writing a clear and compelling thesis statement. 

body_essayfeaturelist

How To Write an Introduction Paragraph: Example and Analysis

Now that we’ve provided an intro paragraph outline and have explained the three key parts of an intro paragraph, let’s take a look at an intro paragraph in action.

To show you how an intro paragraph works, we’ve included a sample introduction paragraph below, followed by an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Example of Introduction Paragraph

While college students in the U.S. are struggling with how to pay for college, there is another surprising demographic that’s affected by the pressure to pay for college: families and parents. In the face of tuition price tags that total more than $100,000 (as a low estimate), families must make difficult decisions about how to save for their children’s college education. Charting a feasible path to saving for college is further complicated by the FAFSA’s estimates for an “Expected Family Contribution”—an amount of money that is rarely feasible for most American families. Due to these challenging financial circumstances and cultural pressure to give one’s children the best possible chance of success in adulthood, many families are going into serious debt to pay for their children’s college education. The U.S. government should move toward bearing more of the financial burden of college education. 

Example of Introduction Paragraph: Analysis

Before we dive into analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of this example intro paragraph, let’s establish the essay topic. The sample intro indicates that t he essay topic will focus on one specific issue: who should cover the cost of college education in the U.S., and why. Both the hook and the context help us identify the topic, while the thesis in the last sentence tells us why this topic matters to the writer—they think the U.S. Government needs to help finance college education. This is also the writer’s argument, which they’ll cover in the body of their essay. 

Now that we’ve identified the essay topic presented in the sample intro, let’s dig into some analysis. To pin down its strengths and weaknesses, we’re going to use the following three questions to guide our example of introduction paragraph analysis: 

  • Does this intro provide an attention-grabbing opening sentence that conveys the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide relevant, engaging context about the essay topic? 
  • Does this intro provide a thesis statement that establishes the writer’s point of view on the topic and what specific aspects of the issue the essay will address? 

Now, let’s use the questions above to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this sample intro paragraph. 

Does the Intro Have a Good Hook? 

First, the intro starts out with an attention-grabbing hook . The writer starts by presenting  an assumption (that the U.S. federal government bears most of the financial burden of college education), which makes the topic relatable to a wide audience of readers. Also note that the hook relates to the general topic of the essay, which is the high cost of college education. 

The hook then takes a surprising turn by presenting a counterclaim : that American families, rather than students, feel the true burden of paying for college. Some readers will have a strong emotional reaction to this provocative counterclaim, which will make them want to keep reading! As such, this intro provides an effective opening sentence that conveys the essay topic. 

Does the Intro Give Context?

T he second, third, and fourth sentences of the intro provide contextual details that reveal the specific focus of the writer’s paper . Remember: the context helps readers start to zoom in on what the paper will focus on, and what aspect of the general topic (college costs) will be discussed later on. 

The context in this intro reveals the intent and direction of the paper by explaining why the issue of families financing college is important. In other words, the context helps readers understand why this issue matters , and what aspects of this issue will be addressed in the paper.  

To provide effective context, the writer refers to issues (the exorbitant cost of college and high levels of family debt) that have received a lot of recent scholarly and media attention. These sentences of context also elaborate on the interesting perspective included in the hook: that American families are most affected by college costs.

Does the Intro Have a Thesis? 

Finally, this intro provides a thesis statement that conveys the writer’s point of view on the issue of financing college education. This writer believes that the U.S. government should do more to pay for students’ college educations. 

However, the thesis statement doesn’t give us any details about why the writer has made this claim or why this will help American families . There isn’t an essay map that helps readers understand what points the writer will make in the essay.

To revise this thesis statement so that it establishes the specific aspects of the topic that the essay will address, the writer could add the following to the beginning of the thesis statement:

The U.S. government should take on more of the financial burden of college education because other countries have shown this can improve education rates while reducing levels of familial poverty.

Check out the new section in bold. Not only does it clarify that the writer is talking about the pressure put on families, it touches on the big topics the writer will address in the paper: improving education rates and reduction of poverty. So not only do we have a clearer argumentative statement in this thesis, we also have an essay map!  

So, let’s recap our analysis. This sample intro paragraph does an effective job of providing an engaging hook and relatable, interesting context, but the thesis statement needs some work ! As you write your own intro paragraphs, you might consider using the questions above to evaluate and revise your work. Doing this will help ensure you’ve covered all of your bases and written an intro that your readers will find interesting!

body_tip

4 Tips for How To Write an Introduction Paragraph

Now that we’ve gone over an example of introduction paragraph analysis, let’s talk about how to write an introduction paragraph of your own. Keep reading for four tips for writing a successful intro paragraph for any essay. 

Tip 1: Analyze Your Essay Prompt

If you’re having trouble with how to start an introduction paragraph, analyze your essay prompt! Most teachers give you some kind of assignment sheet, formal instructions, or prompt to set the expectations for an essay they’ve assigned, right? Those instructions can help guide you as you write your intro paragraph!

Because they’ll be reading and responding to your essay, you want to make sure you meet your teacher’s expectations for an intro paragraph . For instance, if they’ve provided specific instructions about how long the intro should be or where the thesis statement should be located, be sure to follow them!

The type of paper you’re writing can give you clues as to how to approach your intro as well. If you’re writing a research paper, your professor might expect you to provide a research question or state a hypothesis in your intro. If you’re writing an argumentative essay, you’ll need to make sure your intro overviews the context surrounding your argument and your thesis statement includes a clear, defensible claim. 

Using the parameters set out by your instructor and assignment sheet can put some easy-to-follow boundaries in place for things like your intro’s length, structure, and content. Following these guidelines can free you up to focus on other aspects of your intro... like coming up with an exciting hook and conveying your point of view on your topic!

Tip 2: Narrow Your Topic

You can’t write an intro paragraph without first identifying your topic. To make your intro as effective as possible, you need to define the parameters of your topic clearly—and you need to be specific. 

For example, let’s say you want to write about college football. “NCAA football” is too broad of a topic for a paper. There is a lot to talk about in terms of college football! It would be tough to write an intro paragraph that’s focused, purposeful, and engaging on this topic. In fact, if you did try to address this whole topic, you’d probably end up writing a book!

Instead, you should narrow broad topics to  identify a specific question, claim, or issue pertaining to some aspect of NCAA football for your intro to be effective. So, for instance, you could frame your topic as, “How can college professors better support NCAA football players in academics?” This focused topic pertaining to NCAA football would give you a more manageable angle to discuss in your paper.

So before you think about writing your intro, ask yourself: Is my essay topic specific, focused, and logical? Does it convey an issue or question that I can explore over the course of several pages? Once you’ve established a good topic, you’ll have the foundation you need to write an effective intro paragraph . 

body-stack-of-textbooks-red

Once you've figured out your topic, it's time to hit the books!

Tip 3: Do Your Research

This tip is tightly intertwined with the one above, and it’s crucial to writing a good intro: do your research! And, guess what? This tip applies to all papers—even ones that aren’t technically research papers. 

Here’s why you need to do some research: getting the lay of the land on what others have said about your topic—whether that’s scholars and researchers or the mass media— will help you narrow your topic, write an engaging hook, and provide relatable context. 

You don't want to sit down to write your intro without a solid understanding of the different perspectives on your topic. Whether those are the perspectives of experts or the general public, these points of view will help you write your intro in a way that is intriguing and compelling for your audience of readers. 

Tip 4: Write Multiple Drafts

Some say to write your intro first; others say write it last. The truth is, there isn’t a right or wrong time to write your intro—but you do need to have enough time to write multiple drafts . 

Oftentimes, your professor will ask you to write multiple drafts of your paper, which gives you a built-in way to make sure you revise your intro. Another approach you could take is to write out a rough draft of your intro before you begin writing your essay, then revise it multiple times as you draft out your paper. 

Here’s why this approach can work: as you write your paper, you’ll probably come up with new insights on your topic that you didn’t have right from the start. You can use these “light bulb” moments to reevaluate your intro and make revisions that keep it in line with your developing essay draft. 

Once you’ve written your entire essay, consider going back and revising your intro again . You can ask yourself these questions as you evaluate your intro: 

  • Is my hook still relevant to the way I’ve approached the topic in my essay?
  • Do I provide enough appropriate context to introduce my essay? 
  • Now that my essay is written, does my thesis statement still accurately reflect the point of view that I present in my essay?

Using these questions as a guide and putting your intro through multiple revisions will help ensure that you’ve written the best intro for the final draft of your essay. Also, revising your writing is always a good thing to do—and this applies to your intro, too!

feature-unsure-shrug-what

What's Next?

Your college essays also need great intro paragraphs. Here’s a guide that focuses on how to write the perfect intro for your admissions essays. 

Of course, the intro is just one part of your college essay . This article will teach you how to write a college essay that makes admissions counselors sit up and take notice. 

Are you trying to write an analytical essay? Our step-by-step guide can help you knock it out of the park.

Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!

Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.

Connect With a Tutor Now

Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

essay outline introduction

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

Essay Writing Guide

Writing An Essay Outline

Nova A.

Learn How to Create a Perfect Essay Outline

22 min read

Published on: Sep 28, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

Essay Outline

People also read

An Easy Guide to Writing an Essay

Learn How to Write An Essay in Simple Steps

A Complete 500 Word Essay Writing Guide

A Catalog of 500+ Essay Topics for Students

Explore Different Types of Essays, their Purpose, and Sub-types

Essay Format: A Basic Guide With Examples

How to Start an Essay- A Step-by-Step Guide

A Complete Essay Introduction Writing Guide With Examples

20+ Hook Examples to Grab Reader’s Attention

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Thesis Statement

20+ Thesis Statement Examples for Different Types of Essays?

How to Write a Topic Sentence: Purpose, Tips & Examples

Learn How to Write a Conclusion in Simple Steps

Transition Words For Essays - The Ultimate List

4 Types of Sentences - Definition & Examples

Writing Conventions - Definition, Tips & Examples

Essay Writing Problems - 5 Most Paralyzing Problems

How to Make an Essay Longer: 14 Easy Ways

How to Title an Essay - A Detailed Guide

1000 Word Essay - A Simple Guide With Examples

Share this article

Writing essays can be a daunting task for many students, causing stress and anxiety.

The pressure to produce clear, well-structured, and coherent essays often leaves students overwhelmed, especially when they lack effective strategies.

The essay outline plays a critical role in shaping the entire content of the essay.

In this easy-to-follow guide, we'll break down essay outlining step by step so you can write with confidence and get better grades. 

Say goodbye to writer's block with our provided templates for different types of essays !

Let's make essay writing a breeze!

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

On This Page On This Page -->

What is an Essay Outline? 

An essay outline is a short plan of your essay where you list down all the ideas you need to cover in your essay. 

Planning your ideas and arguments before you start essay writing will help you to ensure that you cover all the important points.

An essay outline typically includes:

  • Introduction: This is where you introduce your topic and provide some context. 
  • Body Paragraphs: Each paragraph focuses on one idea or point related to your topic.
  • Conclusion: Here, you summarize everything you've talked about and leave your reader with some final thoughts.

Once you create the outline, you won't miss any important information. It also helps you in:

  • Organizing your thoughts and ideas.
  • Understanding how the information flows.
  • Not skipping any crucial information or references.
  • Finishing your work more quickly.

How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps?  

Writing an essay outline is like creating a roadmap for your essay. It helps you stay organized and ensures your essay flows smoothly. 

Here are four straightforward steps to get you started:

Step 1: Choose Your Topic

Before you begin outlining, you need a clear understanding of your essay's topic . 

Select a topic that interests you and aligns with your assignment's requirements. Once you have your topic, you're ready to move on.

Step 2: Identify the Main Points

Think about the key ideas or arguments you want to present in your essay. These will become the main points or sections of your outline. 

Jot them down in a logical order.

Step 3: Add Subpoints

Under each main point, add subpoints that support and expand upon your main ideas. These subpoints can be examples, evidence, or specific details related to your main points.

Step 4: Organize and Structure

Now, arrange your main points and subpoints in a logical order. Typically, essays follow a three-part structure: Introduction, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusion. 

Your outline should reflect this structure, with each main point corresponding to a section of your essay.

Key Parts of An Essay Outline 

Crafting a well-structured essay begins with a solid outline. 

Understanding its key components is your first step toward essay-writing success. It will include the following elements:

Introduction

An essay introduction contains:

  • Hook: An engaging opening sentence or two that captures the reader's attention.
  • Thesis Statement : A clear and concise statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.

Body Paragraphs

A body paragraph of an essay consists of:

  • Topic Sentence : The main idea of the paragraph, usually the first sentence.
  • Supporting Details: Evidence, examples, facts, or quotations that support the topic sentence.
  • Analysis: Your interpretation and analysis of the supporting details, explaining how they relate to the thesis.
  • Transition Words and Sentences: Words and Sentences that connect one paragraph to the next and maintain the flow of the essay.

An essay conclusion summarizes the main points consisting of:

  • Restate Thesis: Restate the thesis statement, but in different words.
  • Summarize Main Points: Briefly summarize the key points from the body paragraphs.
  • Closing Statement: Provide a closing thought or reflection that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Essay Outline Format 

There's no one-size-fits-all approach, and that's why we'll explore various types of essay outlines to suit different essay formats and purposes.

General Essay Outline 

The general essay outline structure uses the linear style.

All the points are numbered in order of their importance, from major to minor roles. In order to rank, assign numbers to your ideas. 

Here’s a general essay template for all essays that you can refer to structure your main ideas. 

Alphanumeric Essay Outline 

For most papers, it is always advisable to choose an alphanumeric outline format. 

In an alphanumeric structure, major sections are shown in Roman numbers, then comes the capital letters, numbers, and lowercase letters. 

Decimal Essay Outline 

You can also use the decimal essay outline format. It is a less common way of outlining an essay or a paper.

Different Essay Outline Templates

Different templates can help you get a better idea of essay outlining. Here are some essay outline examples for you to get a general idea for writing your outlines. 

Informative Essay Outline

An  informative essay  writing is all about conveying information or educating readers about a particular topic.

Below, you can find what an outline for an informative essay should consist of.

Narrative Essay Outline

A  narrative essay  is a type of paper in which you tell a story from your own perspective or personal experience. It provides specific details to get the readers involved in your story and understand your viewpoint.

Below is the  narrative essay outline that you can refer to for better understanding.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An  argumentative essay  is quite similar to a comparative essay in terms of developing arguments to support the claim. In this type of essay writing, you should provide solid arguments on both sides of the issue.

To achieve that, follow an  argumentative essay outline  to compose a great argumentative paper and score high grades.

The following is the argumentative essay outline template for your help.

Persuasive Essay Outline

In a  persuasive essay , the author uses logic and solid arguments to convince the readers of a particular point of view.

To create an outline for a persuasive essay , consider the following template.

Analytical Essay Outline

An analytical essay is usually written to analyze a text. It concentrates on how something is done. Writing an  analytical essay  involves breaking down the concept into parts to understand its meaning and what message it conveys.

Below is what the  outline for an analytical essay  should look like.

Descriptive Essay Outline

A descriptive essay is a type of paper in which the writer describes an object, person, process, or event. The main goal of writing a  descriptive essay  is to create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Following is a perfect descriptive essay outline  that you can follow for a well-structured descriptive paper.

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

A compare and contrast essay highlights the way in which two things are different and similar to each other. 

Below, you can find the outline for compare and contrast essay .

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

A  rhetorical analysis essay  analyzes a piece of work in terms of rhetoric.

The rhetorical analysis essay outline will help you examine the work and explain how its different parts come together.

Expository Essay Outline

An expository essay presents a balanced analysis of a subject solely based on facts. 

The expository essay outline gives you a better idea of creating a well-written outline for your essay. 

Synthesis Essay Outline

A  synthesis essay involves taking a unique viewpoint of a central idea and backing it up with different sources. 

Need to submit a synthesis essay soon? Here is a  synthesis essay outline  template to specify all the main points first.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A  literary analysis essay?  is an important academic assignment that examines and evaluates a piece of literature work.

If you have no idea how to structure this type of essay, here is a  literary analysis essay outline  for your help.

Reflective Essay Outline

In a  reflective essay , you write about your own experience or thoughts regarding a specific topic. 

Get to know about this type of essay from the following  reflective essay outline .

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A cause and effect essay identifies the reasons for something and then discusses the results. 

The following  cause and effect essay outline  can help students understand and get into the writing process.

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Scholarship Essay Outline

A  scholarship essay  is an important part of the scholarship application process. This essay helps students to stand out and get the scholarship.

Here is an outline to help you understand how scholarship essays are different from other essay types.

Problem Solution Essay Outline

A  problem-solution essay  identifies a problem and provides one or more solutions to it. It usually consists of three parts: introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion.

Learn more about the structure of a problem-solution essay with this outline.

Evaluation Essay Outline

The purpose of writing an evaluation essay is to judge a particular topic according to certain criteria.

In order to write a perfect evaluation essay, refer to the following outline.

Definition Essay Outline

A  definition essay  explores a certain term and provides personal understanding of the term. This essay is more than a dictionary definition.

You can also check out the following definition essay outline for more help.

Essay Outline Examples

The essay outline can be a great way to organize your thoughts when writing an essay. The following examples are for the help that gives you an idea of creating a perfect outline.

Here are some more examples for your better understanding:

Essay Outline Sample

5-Paragraph Essay Outline

Essay Outline On Democracy

College Essay Outline Template

Research Essay Outline

Throughout this guide, we've explored the crucial role of essay outlines along with different formats and templates of outlines.

However, we understand that even with the best guidance, crafting an essay can be a daunting task. That's where MyPerfectWords.com comes in. 

Our professional essay writing service is here to offer expert assistance and deliver impeccable essays tailored to your needs.

So, why wait? Get 24/7 assistance now!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 types of outlines.

Besides the alphanumeric and decimal essay outlines, the following are the 3 types of outlines.

  • Working outline
  • Full-sentence outline
  • Speaking outline

All of these are used for different purposes so be careful that you choose the right type of outline.

What is a topic outline?

A topic outline is a useful tool for organizing your thoughts while developing an argument and structuring the paper.

It helps in outlining the main ideas and arguments and presenting them in a coherent way. It also assists in building relationships between the entire assignment.

What is a full sentence outline?

The full sentence outline is a more detailed and structured way to create an essay. They are the same as the alphanumeric outlines.

These outlines use complete sentences at each level of the structure. This type of format can be used for any formal writing assignment where you need to provide detail about your thoughts.

It helps to write well-supported arguments or develop concrete ideas with evidence and outside sources.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

Essay Outline

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

Essay Writing Guide

Essay Outline

Last updated on: Jun 10, 2023

A Complete Essay Outline - Guidelines and Format

By: Nova A.

13 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Jan 15, 2019

Essay Outline

To write an effective essay, you need to create a clear and well-organized essay outline. An essay outline will shape the essay’s entire content and determine how successful the essay will be.

In this blog post, we'll be going over the basics of essay outlines and provide a template for you to follow. We will also include a few examples so that you can get an idea about how these outlines look when they are put into practice.

Essay writing is not easy, but it becomes much easier with time, practice, and a detailed essay writing guide. Once you have developed your outline, everything else will come together more smoothly.

The key to success in any area is preparation - take the time now to develop a solid outline and then write your essays!

So, let’s get started!

Essay Outline

On this Page

What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is your essay plan and a roadmap to essay writing. It is the structure of an essay you are about to write. It includes all the main points you have to discuss in each section along with the thesis statement.

Like every house has a map before it is constructed, the same is the importance of an essay outline. You can write an essay without crafting an outline, but you may miss essential information, and it is more time-consuming.

Once the outline is created, there is no chance of missing any important information. Also, it will help you to:

  • Organize your thoughts and ideas.
  • Understand the information flow.
  • Never miss any crucial information or reference.
  • Finish your work faster.

These are the reasons if someone asks you why an essay outline is needed. Now there are some points that must be kept in mind before proceeding to craft an essay outline.

Essay Outliner

Easily Outline Your Essays In Seconds!

Prewriting Process of Essay Outline

Your teacher may ask you to submit your essay outline before your essay. Therefore, you must know the preliminary guidelines that are necessary before writing an essay outline.

Here are the guidelines:

  • You must go through your assignments’ guidelines carefully.
  • Understand the purpose of your assignment.
  • Know your audience.
  • Mark the important point while researching your topic data.
  • Select the structure of your essay outline; whether you are going to use a decimal point bullet or a simple one.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

Creating an essay outline is a crucial step in crafting a well-structured and organized piece of writing. Follow these four simple steps to create an effective outline:

Step 1: Understand the Topic

To begin, thoroughly grasp the essence of your essay topic. 

Break it down into its key components and identify the main ideas you want to convey. This step ensures you have a clear direction and focus for your essay.

Step 2: Brainstorm and Gather Ideas

Let your creativity flow and brainstorm ideas related to your topic. 

Jot down key pieces of information, arguments, and supporting evidence that will strengthen your essay's overall message. Consider different perspectives and potential counterarguments to make your essay well-rounded.

Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts

Now it's time to give structure to your ideas. 

Arrange your main points in a logical order, starting with an attention-grabbing introduction, followed by body paragraphs that present your arguments. 

Finally, tie everything together with a compelling conclusion. Remember to use transitional phrases to create smooth transitions between sections.

Step 4: Add Depth with Subpoints

To add depth and clarity to your essay, incorporate subpoints under each main point. 

These subpoints provide more specific details, evidence, or examples that support your main ideas. They help to further strengthen your arguments and make your essay more convincing.

By following these four steps - you'll be well on your way to creating a clear and compelling essay outline.

Essay Outline Format

It is an easy way for you to write your thoughts in an organized manner. It may seem unnecessary and unimportant, but it is not.

It is one of the most crucial steps for essay writing as it shapes your entire essay and aids the writing process.

An essay outline consists of three main parts:

1. Introduction

The introduction body of your essay should be attention-grabbing. It should be written in such a manner that it attracts the reader’s interest. It should also provide background information about the topic for the readers.

You can use a dramatic tone to grab readers’ attention, but it should connect the audience to your thesis statement.

Here are some points without which your introduction paragraph is incomplete.

To attract the reader with the first few opening lines, we use a hook statement. It helps engage the reader and motivates them to read further. There are different types of hook sentences ranging from quotes, rhetorical questions to anecdotes and statistics, and much more.

Are you struggling to come up with an interesting hook? View these hook examples to get inspired!

A thesis statement is stated at the end of your introduction. It is the most important statement of your entire essay. It summarizes the purpose of the essay in one sentence.

The thesis statement tells the readers about the main theme of the essay, and it must be strong and clear. It holds the entire crux of your essay.

Need help creating a strong thesis statement? Check out this guide on thesis statements and learn to write a statement that perfectly captures your main argument!

2. Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of an essay are where all the details and evidence come into play. This is where you dive deep into the argument, providing explanations and supporting your ideas with solid evidence. 

If you're writing a persuasive essay, these paragraphs will be the powerhouse that convinces your readers. Similarly, in an argumentative essay, your body paragraphs will work their magic to sway your audience to your side.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence and no more than one idea. A topic sentence is the crux of the contents of your paragraph. It is essential to keep your reader interested in the essay.

The topic sentence is followed by the supporting points and opinions, which are then justified with strong evidence.

3. Conclusion

When it comes to wrapping up your essay, never underestimate the power of a strong conclusion. Just like the introduction and body paragraphs, the conclusion plays a vital role in providing a sense of closure to your topic. 

To craft an impactful conclusion, it's crucial to summarize the key points discussed in the introduction and body paragraphs. You want to remind your readers of the important information you shared earlier. But keep it concise and to the point. Short, powerful sentences will leave a lasting impression.

Remember, your conclusion shouldn't drag on. Instead, restate your thesis statement and the supporting points you mentioned earlier. And here's a pro tip: go the extra mile and suggest a course of action. It leaves your readers with something to ponder or reflect on.

5 Paragraph Essay Outline Structure

An outline is an essential part of the writing as it helps the writer stay focused. A typical 5 paragraph essay outline example is shown here. This includes:

  • State the topic
  • Thesis statement
  • Introduction
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion that ties to the thesis
  • Summary of the essay
  • Restate the thesis statement

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

Essay Outline Template

The outline of the essay is the skeleton that you will fill out with the content. Both outline and relevant content are important for a good essay. The content you will add to flesh out the outline should be credible, relevant, and interesting.

The outline structure for the essay is not complex or difficult. No matter which type of essay you write, you either use an alphanumeric structure or a decimal structure for the outline.

Below is an outline sample that you can easily follow for your essay.

Essay Outline Sample

Essay Outline Examples

An essay outline template should follow when you start writing the essay. Every writer should learn how to write an outline for every type of essay and research paper.

Essay outline 4th grade

Essay outline 5th grade

Essay outline high school

Essay outline college

Given below are essay outline examples for different types of essay writing.

Argumentative Essay Outline

An  argumentative essay  is a type of essay that shows both sides of the topic that you are exploring. The argument that presents the basis of the essay should be created by providing evidence and supporting details.

Persuasive Essay Outline

A  persuasive essay  is similar to an argumentative essay. Your job is to provide facts and details to create the argument. In a persuasive essay, you convince your readers of your point of view.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A  compare and contrast essay  explains the similarities and differences between two things. While comparing, you should focus on the differences between two seemingly similar objects. While contrasting, you should focus on the similarities between two different objects.

Narrative Essay Outline

A narrative essay is written to share a story. Normally, a narrative essay is written from a personal point of view in an essay. The basic purpose of the narrative essay is to describe something creatively.

Expository Essay Outline

An  expository essay  is a type of essay that explains, analyzes, and illustrates something for the readers. An expository essay should be unbiased and entirely based on facts. Be sure to use academic resources for your research and cite your sources.

Analytical Essay Outline

An  analytical essay  is written to analyze the topic from a critical point of view. An analytical essay breaks down the content into different parts and explains the topic bit by bit.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

A rhetorical essay is written to examine the writer or artist’s work and develop a great essay. It also includes the discussion.

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A  cause and effect essay  describes why something happens and examines the consequences of an occurrence or phenomenon. It is also a type of expository essay.

Informative Essay Outline

An  informative essay  is written to inform the audience about different objects, concepts, people, issues, etc.

The main purpose is to respond to the question with a detailed explanation and inform the target audience about the topic.

Synthesis Essay Outline

A  synthesis essay  requires the writer to describe a certain unique viewpoint about the issue or topic. Create a claim about the topic and use different sources and information to prove it.

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

A  literary analysis essay  is written to analyze and examine a novel, book, play, or any other piece of literature. The writer analyzes the different devices such as the ideas, characters, plot, theme, tone, etc., to deliver his message.

Definition Essay Outline

A  definition essay  requires students to pick a particular concept, term, or idea and define it in their own words and according to their understanding.

Descriptive Essay Outline

A  descriptive essay  is a type of essay written to describe a person, place, object, or event. The writer must describe the topic so that the reader can visualize it using their five senses.

Evaluation Essay Outline

Problem Solution Essay Outline

In a problem-solution essay, you are given a problem as a topic and you have to suggest multiple solutions on it.

Scholarship Essay Outline

A  scholarship essay  is required at the time of admission when you are applying for a scholarship. Scholarship essays must be written in a way that should stand alone to help you get a scholarship.

Reflective Essay Outline

A reflective essay  is written to express your own thoughts and point of view regarding a specific topic.

Getting started on your essay? Give this comprehensive essay writing guide a read to make sure you write an effective essay!

With this complete guide, now you understand how to create an outline for your essay successfully. However, if you still can’t write an effective essay, then the best option is to consult a professional academic writing service.

Essay writing is a dull and boring task for some people. So why not get some help instead of wasting your time and effort?  5StarEssays.com is here to help you. All your  do my essay for me  requests are managed by professional essay writers.

Place your order now, and our team of expert academic writers will help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the three types of outlines.

Here are the three types of essay outline;

  • Working outline
  • Speaking outline
  • Full-sentence outline

All three types are different from each other and are used for different purposes.

What does a full-sentence outline look like?

A full sentence outline contains full sentences at each level of the essay’s outline. It is similar to an alphanumeric outline and it is a commonly used essay outline.

What is a traditional outline format?

A traditional essay outline begins with writing down all the important points in one place and listing them down and adding sub-topics to them. Besides, it will also include evidence and proof that you will use to back your arguments.

What is the benefit of using a traditional outline format and an informal outline format?

A traditional outline format helps the students in listing down all the important details in one palace while an informal outline will help you coming up with new ideas and highlighting important points

Nova A.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

Was This Blog Helpful?

Keep reading.

  • How to Write an Essay - A Complete Guide with Examples

Essay Outline

  • The Art of Effective Writing: Thesis Statements Examples and Tips

Essay Outline

  • Writing a 500 Word Essay - Easy Guide

Essay Outline

  • What is a Topic Sentence - An Easy Guide with Writing Steps & Examples

Essay Outline

  • 220 Best Transition Words for Essays

Essay Outline

  • Essay Format: Detailed Writing Tips & Examples

Essay Outline

  • How to Write a Conclusion - Examples & Tips

Essay Outline

  • Essay Topics: 100+ Best Essay Topics for your Guidance

Essay Outline

  • How to Title an Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide for Effective Titles

Essay Outline

  • How to Write a Perfect 1000 Word Essay

Essay Outline

  • How To Make An Essay Longer - Easy Guide For Beginners

Essay Outline

  • Learn How to Start an Essay Effectively with Easy Guidelines

Essay Outline

  • Types of Sentences With Examples

Essay Outline

  • Hook Examples: How to Start Your Essay Effectively

Essay Outline

  • Essay Writing Tips - Essential Do’s and Don’ts to Craft Better Essays

Essay Outline

  • How To Write A Thesis Statement - A Step by Step Guide

Essay Outline

  • Art Topics - 200+ Brilliant Ideas to Begin With

Essay Outline

  • Writing Conventions and Tips for College Students

Essay Outline

People Also Read

  • dissertation writing
  • dissertation vs thesis
  • rhetorical precis writing
  • illustration essay writing
  • writing book report

Burdened With Assignments?

Bottom Slider

Advertisement

  • Homework Services: Essay Topics Generator

© 2024 - All rights reserved

2000+ SATISFIED STUDENTS

95% Satisfaction RATE

30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE

95% Success RATE

linkedin

Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us

© 2024 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.

LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • LOG IN Processing...

SIGN UP TO YOUR ACCOUNT

  • Your phone no.
  • Password Password must be minimum 8 characters.
  • Confirm Password
  •    I have read Privacy Policy and agree to the Terms and Conditions .
  • SIGN UP Processing...

FORGOT PASSWORD

  • SEND PASSWORD

Illustration

  • Essay Guides
  • Basics of Essay Writing
  • Essay Outline: How to Write It & Templates for Different Types
  • Speech Topics
  • Essay Topics
  • Other Essays
  • Main Academic Essays
  • Research Paper Topics
  • Basics of Research Paper Writing
  • Miscellaneous
  • Chicago/ Turabian
  • Data & Statistics
  • Methodology
  • Admission Writing Tips
  • Admission Advice
  • Other Guides
  • Student Life
  • Studying Tips
  • Understanding Plagiarism
  • Academic Writing Tips
  • Basics of Dissertation & Thesis Writing

Illustration

  • Research Paper Guides
  • Formatting Guides
  • Basics of Research Process
  • Admission Guides
  • Dissertation & Thesis Guides

Essay Outline: How to Write It & Templates for Different Types

Essay outline

Table of contents

Illustration

Use our free Readability checker

An essay outline is a plan  that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas before you begin writing your essay. A well-constructed outline can help you ensure that your essay is structured logically and includes all of the necessary information.

Today, we will learn everything about essay outlines. Academic writing is challenging enough. So we would really want to ease the overall process and ensure that you’re prepared to write the best essay possible. Are you confused about how to structure your paper? Do you not understand the difference between different types of articles? The answers to all of those questions and even more points will be covered here. So stick around and get all the information you can possibly need!

What Is an Outline for an Essay?

What is an essay outline? It is a good question, and we are excited to answer it. In simple terms, it is how your essay will be structured and what things it might feature. You can include the following items in your structure:

  • Your general topic
  • Thesis statement
  • A number of paragraphs
  • Topic and concluding sentences for each paragraph
  • Resources or evidence used in your body paragraphs.

Trust us, following this list and ideas will save you a lot of time and help you in crafting a very good article.

Why Do You Need an Outline of an Essay?

Outline for an essay is crucial for several reasons. So here’s a quick list of why you’re writing and why research requires a good  essay structure example . It helps you:  

  • Develop a logical and well-thought-out piece.
  • Convince your readers that you’re making a valid point.
  • Save some time.
  • Don’t get lost in all the evidence and ideas you have for your paper.
  • Consider purchasing a college essay for sale in case this is too difficult.

Basic Outline for an Essay: Template

For starters, we wanted to give you an essay outline template. It is an effective way to make sure you have all the required points of a good article. By keeping everything organized, you will get our highest mark and develop a believable  argument . But, of course, here is the template and enumeration of all the sections you need:  

  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary or so-called synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

How to Write an Essay Outline

How to write an outline for an essay? That's a $1 million question that we will answer today. You should understand from the very beginning that writing or mapping out your structure will take some time. But don't let this fact discourage you because it will be worth it in the end. However, we have also prepared several tips for you in order to ease the process even more:

  • Research a topic before you actually start writing.
  • Consider a type of article you're writing and pick an appropriate structure.
  • Start outlining from the very beginning.
  • Write down your thesis and make sure it is bulletproof.
  • Provide some evidence you will use to support your argument.

Essay Outline Template

Our outline for the essay template will differ depending on the type of essay you will be writing. Interestingly enough, there are many types of academic essays you can consider. You can write an argumentative, persuasive one or a common narrative, or even an expository essay. As a result, choosing a relevant outline and structure will help you to distinguish our mentioned types and nail the one you’ve picked. Professional essay writers at StudyCrumb might help you with that.  

Persuasive Essay Outline

We will start with how to write a  persuasive essay outline  and the similar one is an  argumentative essay outline . You can find the structure itself down below. But we wanted to remind you of several things. Students often forget to cite their sources. So it is rather a good idea to include not only the evidence but citations and sources when outlining.  

  • Catchy hook to engage your reader
  • Background information  on your topic
  • Thesis statement (mention all points that will be discussed in body paragraphs)
  • Paragraph 1 with supporting evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Paragraph 2 with evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Paragraph 3 with evidence proving your point (+Topic Sentence)
  • Rephrase a thesis statement
  • Conclude all points leaving a final impression

Narrative Essay Outline

We also know how to write a narrative essay outline . This type of article tries to tell a story, and that is why it is called narrative. Our best stories will have a rising action, climax, and a falling action. But to time everything perfectly and make sure your readers are at the address of the receipt, outlining is your best friend. Besides, not to forget the information you wanted to include, our structure below will help you write a very good narrative article.

  • Scene setting
  • Mentioning your purpose of writing
  • Rising action
  • Climax (some epic event)
  • Falling action (conflict resolution)
  • Moral of your story or possible lessons

Expository Essay Outline

An expository essay outline is very close to our previous options. It includes the same points. So you also start with an introduction, follow with three body paragraphs and finalize everything with a conclusion. Trust us: the process of writing will be much easier with such structure. Hence, our key for a good essay is right here:  

  • Topic background
  • Topic sentence
  • Supporting explanation
  • Supporting example that backs up your topic sentence and explanation
  • Summarizing or concluding statement
  • Rephrase your thesis
  • Summarize and connect your key points
  • Leave a final impression with recommendations

Informative Essay Outline

Outline for an informative essay follows an already well-known structure. Don’t forget that your body paragraphs should have lots of details and relevant information. Each claim must be supported. Therefore, every article has a specific order that cannot be broken. If you don’t follow the structure, your argument may not be as strong as the ones following the given order.

  • Topic background (general information)
  • Supporting pieces of evidence
  • Transition and concluding statement
  • Leave a final impression with recommendations or future developments

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Compare and contrast essay outline  will definitely be useful. A lot of colleges and schools like this type of essay because this is a good practice of analytical skills. It is natural because you have a lot of information and evidence. Besides, you're comparing different items, and tracking them might be a challenge for everyone. Out of all essays, this one, above all, needs a good structure. So make sure you understand the difference between your subjects, include evidence, and focus on your thesis statement:  

  • Topic sentence 1
  • Subject 1: Detail 1
  • Subject 2: Detail 1

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

Your rhetorical analysis essay outline is our last one, so we hope you’re happy. Just like you always do, include evidence to support your argument and do research before the actual writing. In our rhetorical analysis, you have to highlight the strategies and approaches the author used in their text. Therefore, the good idea is to use quotations from the text.

  • General information
  • Used rhetorical strategies
  • How well the strategy works in this example? Provide quotes from the text
  • Reasons behind picking these approaches and not any other

Outline Example for Essay

So far, we have told you about the stages you should follow to make up a plan for your future essay. It is more convenient to have an outline essay example in front. This will help to create an effective plan and then compile a really good writing piece based on it. The main thing is to include as much information as possible into your plan; our outline template for essay will help you with this task. Don't forget to  buy essay now if you're still not sure whether you'll be doing this task. 

Example of essay outline

Final Thoughts on Writing an Essay Outline

Awesome job because now you know  how to quickly write an essay outline. A quick reminder before we wrap this up. You create an outline or write down the structure to keep track of all the information. Don’t forget that different types of academic papers and articles require their respective structures. So save this guide in order not to lose them.  

Illustration

You can always rely on our essay writing service. Backed by unrivalled experience, our writer will be happy to provide you with the fantastic result in a timely manner.  

FAQ About Outline for Essay

1. what is the topic outline.

An essay topic outline is a process of arranging your ideas. This structure can show you the higher key or gradation of your main points. Therefore, you have your main point or argument and several sub-points. It is up to you to arrange them in order of importance and highlight the most crucial ones.

2. How long is an outline for an essay?

An outline for the essay doesn’t really have a fixed length. In many cases, you’ll be the only one who sees the structure. But if your research paper is around 15 or 20 pages, then your structure should be no longer than several pages. Normally, one or two pages are quite enough to include everything you need.

3. What are the disadvantages of outlining methods?

Outlining method for essays definitely has some disadvantages. So here’s a quick list for you to remember:

  • It takes time to write down and organize your structure.
  • It requires more thought and accuracy than common outlining.
  • It is challenging to find a format that will show all your details, including the relationships between your variables and points.

4. How do you capitalize an outline?

An essay outline also has its own format. In case you’re using a topic outline, you should capitalize only the first letter of the word that opens your heading. Of course, proper nouns are also capitalized. Finally, we don’t use complete sentences, so end punctuation is unnecessary.

Daniel_Howard_1_1_2da08f03b5.jpg

Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

Illustration

You may also like

thumbnail@2x.png

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips. Scribbr. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/argumentative-essay/

Is this article helpful?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Other students also liked, how to write a thesis statement | 4 steps & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, how to write an expository essay, what is your plagiarism score.

IMAGES

  1. How to Outline an Essay

    essay outline introduction

  2. 003 Essay Example Opening Paragraph Outline With Introduction Andy

    essay outline introduction

  3. 5 Paragraph essay outline

    essay outline introduction

  4. How to start an essay introduction example. Learn How to Start an Essay

    essay outline introduction

  5. FREE 7+ Academic Essay Samples in MS Word

    essay outline introduction

  6. Essay Outline : How to create good essay outlines

    essay outline introduction

VIDEO

  1. WRITING AN ESSAY

  2. GUIDE TO WRITING AN ESSAY📝

  3. Argumentative essay writing

  4. Essay Writing

  5. How to Start English Essay from Scratch (Part 02)

  6. How to Write an Essay

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph, giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

  2. How to Write an Essay Outline in 4 Steps

    The first section of your essay is called the introduction. As this name implies, this is where you introduce the topics you'll be covering in your essay. It's also where you state your thesis, the definitive sentence where you make your argument clear. Your essay's introduction should be concise and quickly hook the reader. Body sections

  3. Awesome Guide on How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Be brief; it's recommended that your introduction make up no more than 8 to 9 percent of the entire text (for example, 200 words for a 2500 words essay). Construct a strong thesis statement. Create some intrigue. Make sure there is a clear and smooth transition from your introduction to the body of your piece.

  4. How to Write an Introduction, With Examples

    An introduction for an essay or research paper is the first paragraph, which explains the topic and prepares the reader for the rest of the work. Because it's responsible for both the reader's first impression and setting the stage for the rest of the work, the introduction paragraph is arguably the most important paragraph in the work.

  5. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Introduction Start your argumentative essay outline by stating your point of view and/or present your persuasive argument. Thesis: Competitive swimming is a great alternative to other youth sports. Body Paragraph 1 Introduce your primary persuasive argument and provide supporting details in your argumentative essay outline.

  6. How to Outline an Essay: Basic Essay Outline Template

    1. Introduction: The introductory paragraph of your essay should outline the topic, provide background information necessary to understand your argument, outline the evidence you will present and include your thesis statement. Your thesis should be a concise summary of the main point of your essay. 2.

  7. How to Write an Outline for an Essay

    Almost all forms of writing can benefit from an outline. An academic essay usually follows the classic 5 paragraph format of essay writing, so that's a good way to start structuring your outline. This means you'll have an introduction section, 3 body paragraph sections, and a conclusion section. An outline is just for you, so don't worry ...

  8. How to Write an Outline for an Essay (Examples and Template)

    An essay outline acts like a map or blueprint, guiding writers in organizing their work. It's similar to a table of contents in research papers and dissertations. Many students actually make outlines without realizing it, which is why learning to write one is straightforward.

  9. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    The introduction to an academic essay will generally present an analytical question or problem and then offer an answer to that question (the thesis). ... While you may have learned to outline a paper before writing a draft, this step is often difficult because our ideas develop as we write. In some cases, it can be more helpful to ...

  10. PDF Essay Outline Template

    When writing an academic essay, an outline can help you structure and plan your arguments and ideas, while creating a guide for how to organize your paragraphs. Almost all essays can follow the same basic structure with variations based on the number of paragraphs or specific requirements.

  11. How to Write an Essay Outline: MLA and APA Styles

    The everyday paper outline contains the headings: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Every source is organized by relevance to strengthen the writing process. There are various formats when it comes to outlining, but the main formats required for a college essay outline is MLA and APA.

  12. How to Write an Essay Outline

    Why it's worth writing an outline. How to outline a paper. Step 1: gather your relevant materials. Step 2: create your thesis. Step 3: find examples. Step 4: analyze your examples. Step 5: arrange your examples. An example.

  13. How to Write an Essay Outline

    The introduction This is the section where you'll introduce readers to your topic and describe why you're writing about it. It needs to be relevant and attention-grabbing. When writing a college research paper outline, be sure to mention the topic and the thesis statement in your introduction.

  14. How to Write an Introduction Paragraph in 3 Steps

    As a reader's first impression of your essay, the intro paragraph should introduce the topic of your paper. Your introduction will also state any claims, questions, or issues that your paper will focus on. This is commonly known as your paper's thesis.

  15. The Beginner's Guide to Writing an Essay

    The essay writing process consists of three main stages: Preparation: Decide on your topic, do your research, and create an essay outline. Writing: Set out your argument in the introduction, develop it with evidence in the main body, and wrap it up with a conclusion. Revision: Check your essay on the content, organization, grammar, spelling ...

  16. How to Write an Outline in 5 Steps, with Examples

    An outline is an organizational tool you use to keep track of all the topics and points you plan to include in a piece of writing. Knowing how to make an outline is a great advantage when you're doing any kind of writing, from research papers to creative writing.

  17. How to Create an Essay Outline

    An essay outline is a short plan of your essay where you list down all the ideas you need to cover in your essay. Planning your ideas and arguments before you start essay writing will help you to ensure that you cover all the important points. An essay outline typically includes:

  18. How to Write an Essay Outline

    By: Nova A. 13 min read Reviewed By: Melisa C. Published on: Jan 15, 2019 To write an effective essay, you need to create a clear and well-organized essay outline. An essay outline will shape the essay's entire content and determine how successful the essay will be.

  19. PDF The Basic Five Paragraph Essay: Format and Outline Worksheet

    There is an Outline worksheet on the back of this page to help you start planning the content, order and organization of your essay. Paragraph 1: Introduction -- If possible, open with an attention-getting device to interest the reader (perhaps a quote or question). Introduce the topic of your essay in general, and present some context for this ...

  20. How to Create an Essay Outline: Template & Examples

    An outline for the essay doesn't really have a fixed length. In many cases, you'll be the only one who sees the structure. But if your research paper is around 15 or 20 pages, then your structure should be no longer than several pages. Normally, one or two pages are quite enough to include everything you need. 3.

  21. How to Form an Argumentative Essay Outline

    Matt Ellis Updated on January 21, 2024 Students An argumentative essay is a piece of writing that uses logical evidence and empirical data to convince readers of a particular position on a topic. Because of its reliance on structure and planning, the first step in writing one is often drafting a solid argumentative essay outline.

  22. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

    Make a claim. Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim. Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim) Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives. The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays.