How To Format A Outline For Essay

Outline Format
for a Five-Paragraph Essay (or piece of writing)
Christine Bauer-Ramazani 

NOTE:  Outline points are usually in phrase form, e.g.  Adj + N + Prep + N (= Noun Phrase) or parallel verb phrases.  The following numbering system is standard and should be followed for outline assignments.

____________________________________________
Title of Essay

  I.  Introduction

          A.       Background information (interesting facts, statistics, rhetorical questions)

1.  _________________________________

     2.  _________________________________

B.  Thesis Statement: (Write the sentence in full. Include Topic, Controlling Idea, 3 Aspects/Focal Points.)

________________________________________________
________________________________________________
________________________________________________.

II.    ________________________________________ 
                              (Main idea/aspect # 1)

          A.    ___________________________________ 
                              (Supporting idea #1)

          1.   ________________________________
                    (Example/detail)

          2.     ________________________________
                    (Example/detail)

             B.    ___________________________________
                                      (Supporting idea #2)

          1. ________________________________
                    (Example/detail)

          2. ________________________________
                    (Example/detail)

 

III.  ______________________________________
                                (Main idea/aspect # 2)

              A.    _________________________________
                                (Supporting idea #1)

                      1.     ______________________________
                                (Example/detail)

                      2.     ______________________________
                                (Example/detail)

              B.    ________________________________
                                (Supporting idea #2)

  1.     ______________________________
           (Example/detail)

  2.     _____________________________
            (Example/detail)
 

IV. ___________________________________
                               (Main idea/aspect # 3)

          A.    _________________________________
                               (Supporting idea #1)

                       1.     ______________________________
                               (Example/detail)

                       2.     ______________________________
                               (Example/detail)

           B.    _________________________________
                               (Supporting idea #2)

                       1.     ______________________________
                               (Example/detail)

                       2.     ______________________________
                               (Example/detail)
 

 V.    Conclusion

A.    ______________________________________________________
(Restatement of the thesis/summary of aspects)

B.  ___________________________________
  (Outlook for the future/Recommendations)

© 2006  Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Saint Michael's College. Last updated: November 10, 2017

Major points are the building blocks of your paper. Major points build on each other, moving the paper forward and toward its conclusion. Each major point should be a clear claim that relates to the central argument of your paper.

Sample Major Point: Employment and physical health may be a good first major point for this sample paper.  Here, a student might discuss how dropping out of high school often leads to fewer employment opportunities, and those employment opportunities that are available tend to be correlated with poor work environments and low pay.

Minor points are subtopics within your major points. Minor points develop the nuances of your major points but may not be significant enough to warrant extended attention on their own. These may come in the form of statistics, examples from your sources, or supporting ideas.

Sample Minor Point: A sample minor point of the previous major point (employment and physical health) might address worker injury or the frequent lack of health insurance benefits offered by low-paying employers.

The rest of the body of your paper will be made up of more major and minor points. Each major point should advance the paper's central argument, often building on the previous points, until you have provided enough evidence and analysis to justify your paper's conclusion.

More Major and Minor Points: In this paper, more major points might include mental health of high school dropouts, healthcare access for dropouts, and correlation between mental and physical health. Minor topics could include specific work environments, job satisfaction in various fields, and correlation between depression and chronic illness.

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