Online College Courses for Credit

Writing an Outline

Writing an Outline

Author: Nikki Hansen

To review: thesis statements and the writing process.
To introduce: outlines, major points and sub points.

This packet includes an example outline, two videos on what an outline is and how you can write one/why they are beneficial as well as a text portion that defines outlines, major points and sub points.

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Things to Know.

Before you start an outline for a paper, you should be familiar with the writing process, which consists of prewriting, writing, rewriting, editing and a final draft.  You should also be familiar with the thesis statement, which is used in your introduction paragraph to introduce the topic, and which side you take. 

Things you may not already know:

Outline: A rough summary, or draft.  A list of the main/major points broken down into sub-points. 

Major Point(s): The main topics of discussion in your piece of writing. (Example: Blood, Birds and Betrayal in Macbeth)

Sub-point(s): The topics of discussion driving your main topics (Example: The three major appearances of birds in Macbeth occur ____, _____ and _____ and symbolize ____.)

Video: Walking You Through The Outline

This video walks you through the sample outline provided at the bottom of the page. If you have trouble reading along with this version, please follow along below. The exact same template is being used.

What Does and Outline Look Like?



Intro Paragraph

Thesis: The three most important symbols in Macbeth are the blood, birds and line of kings.

- What does the blood symbolize?

- What do the birds symbolize?

- What does the line of kings symbolize?

First Paragraph: Blood

-  Blood is seen three times in the play in scene __, __ and __. 

-  Each time the appearance of blood proves/causes this reaction:  _____

-  Blood is a very important symbol because:

Second Paragraph: Birds

- Birds foreshadow ___ and appear ____ times. 

- Example of birds, cause/effect

- This is a successful symbol because:

Third Paragraph: Line of Kings

- The line of kings is important because ____ and means ____.

- Times when the influence of the line of kings is present _____.

- This is an important symbol because:


- Wrap up points

How to Write an Outline

This video gives an example of an outline, and how you can write your own.