Most people dread the thought of writing an essay, and find it very challenging just getting started. And writing a good essay is definitely not an easy task. But there are smart ways to approach this challenge by creating an effective essay outline first.
By writing an essay outline, you can split the work up into smaller steps, which are easier to deal with. As a result, the whole essay writing becomes less stressful.
A good essay outline will provide structure to an essay even before youíve written the first word, and will guide you on what to write for each section.
If youíre wondering how to write an essay outline, here are 5 progressive steps in a strategy that will help you to get it right:
And now you know how to write an outline for an essay! You can now start writing the content for each part. Itís often best to start with the body of the essay, since this will develop your main point. Then write an introduction, followed by a conclusion, and finally put it all together.
- Develop your topic: your topic may already have been given to you. But you still have to decide how you will approach the idea, and what is your opinion or interpretation of it.
In addition, there may be several sub-topics connected to the main subject. It helps to sketch a diagram, in which you write the main idea in the middle, and then draw several sub-topics branching off from the main one.
Decide if you want to address all of the sub-topics, or only some of them, and how they relate to each other. Often it helps to narrow down your focus, so you can go into more detail.
- Define your purpose: what do you want to achieve with the essay? For example, do you want to balance all perspectives, or do you want to convince the reader of the one particular point of view?
Once you have defined your purpose, that determines what background information you need to research. Make sure to pick a purpose you are interested in, since this will really help to motivate you.
- Develop your thesis statement: your thesis statement is a short summary of your view on the topic. Basically, itís a one-sentence summary of your whole essay, and states the message that you want to convey.
Itís best to pick a thesis statement that you can support with facts from your research. In fact, this is what you will do in actual essay writing .
Also, itís a great idea to be very specific with your thesis statement. So, narrow down your focus, instead of generalizing, or being vague.
- Consider your audience: think about who will be reading your work. Try to understand what they are likely to look for in your essay, and how they will feel about your topic.
If you think your thesis statement might be controversial for them, try to approach it carefully, and be prepared to back up your claims with solid facts.
Ideally, you should try to write something that creates value for your audience. In other words, when they finish reading your essay, theyíll feel they have learned something interesting.
- Write the outline: choose an outline structure with headings and subheadings. This can be populated with whole sentences, or just short phrases or keywords, arranged in bulleted or numbered lists.
You can give greater emphasis to different parts of the outline by making them bold, or increasing the font size.
Write down your main ideas in the outline, and subdivide the outline into introduction, body, and conclusion. The body part can be further subdivided into sub-topics, each with its own heading.