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How to Write an Essay Outline

An essential part of the writing process is establishing a clear plan for your creative endeavors. Without a straightforward blueprint of the process, writing will become harder the deeper you go into your argumentation. The main points of interest that we’ll be discussing are shown below.

How to Make an Essay Outline: Content Plan

The Importance of an Outline

The Importance of an Outline

The comparison is the most powerful tool in a writer’s toolkit. With that in mind, imagine yourself building something; business, a house or anything else of that sort. If you were to attempt to hop straight into a competitive market with an idea, you would get eaten alive. If you misplace a brick in your foundation, the house will be at risk of collapsing. Being educated about creating a plan based on an area of expertise is crucial, and that does not exclude essays. Being able to express yourself freely is the most important skill in a democratic and a widely introspective world.

What we’ve concluded so far is that an outline is used for organizing an author’s thoughts. Its other function is to make sure that the sketched arguments have a consistent logical or chronological flow which is important when trying to convey an idea successfully.

Creating the Outline

Now that we know what function the framework performs, it’s time to learn how to make an essay outline. The important thing to remember when writing an essay outline is that the structure of an outline may vary depending on the length or complexity of the subject you are writing about. The simplest way to approach its structure is a 5 paragraph essay. At its most basic, your outline should contain at least ten angles of approach to formulating an argument. The easiest way to address an outline is a 5 paragraph essay structure example. The following is a very simply put essay outline example:


  • Hook statement
  • Background information (relating to the body paragraphs)
  • Thesis statement

Body Paragraphs

  • Topic sentence
  • Argument
  • Evidence (as much as necessary)


  • Significance of main argument (proving / reflecting thesis)
  • Provide closure

This short visualization is the default for most essays. The structure may deviate tremendously depending on the way you want to approach your audience or the type of argumentation you intend to use. Most academic writing is based (at least vaguely) on the previously shown structure. Obviously, you need to be well-versed in the subject to articulate an argument relating to it. That’s why research should be your priority, and the more sources your archive – the easier it will be to compile everything into one coherent product. Research is considered a part of the brainstorming process since you most likely have free reign over what you write about.

Outlining is also imperative in assessment situations, like exams. With a prescribed time limit, you need to be able to put together an orderly and intelligent claim.

Let’s also take a moment to break down the essay outline format to maximize efficiency when trying to retain this information in an actual writing environment. This time, we can utilize a little more of the advanced techniques of writing.

Deeper Understanding of the Outline Format

essay outline format

A more advanced structure of an essay would delve into much more in-depth detail on all accounts. While it is not advised to experiment as you’re learning the fundamental rules, if you feel up to the task – deviations are always welcome. Creative input is the key to self-betterment, especially within the academic context.


The introduction should overview the issue that is under examination, what will be covered and how it will be accomplished. The end of the introductory paragraph should include a complex thesis that encapsulates the essence of your gist. While adding on to the opening paragraph can be useful, with far-reaching topics it can end up too dense. What you could do is make another section describing the issue: the history behind it, the posed challenge behind the issue, society’s impact on it or even the possible solutions for it.


Your body should focus on the found evidence and have reasonable sources. Analyzing literature may be more of a research paper approach since it needs so much information to be synthesized. However, the process may be applied to any evidence. While you may not know exactly the point, you will make with the information that you find, and the thought process should leave you with a focus point.

The writer’s body paragraphs should be the same as their introduction, except far more in-depth. That’s why outlining the introduction is imperative to have a solid rest of the essay. When outlining, stay away from writing down whole sentences. Instead, concentrate on getting your point across in a shorter sentence, or even disjointed ones. It’s much easier to construct an argument, rather than try to fit together sentences that were not meant for each other. Such a strategy will help with the flow of the paper.

You could also have a filler paragraph where you would fit the additional information that you have found but which does not necessarily relate to your subject matter. Alternatively, a summary of the points and their relevance (sort of like a conclusion) could be conducted. Remember to jot down anything you find in your outline; it could extend the reach of your argument and reinforce the points that you want to underline.


A conclusion in an outline for an essay should make sure that you rephrase the thesis statement, body paragraphs and the real world application (or significance). It is mainly a tool to emphasize the points that you have already made so the basic essay outline structure for a conclusion paragraph should not be very extensive. Use it to strengthen your position rather than add new information.

Essay Outline Example

The structure of the paper that you’re writing is very similar to that of any other essay; the only difference is the specifics. Let’s construct the most basic essay outline template for a topic of “how to promote a product”. The following are just jotted down ideas for a piece that would later become an essay.


  • Ever wanted to sell something? / What constitutes a creative/unique product?
  • Marketing as a way to promote a product: background.
  • What goes into a business plan, research process and a successful campaign?


  • Detailed research as a requirement for competition
  • Approaches to research: designing, sampling, analyzing, etc.
  • Requiring a connection to an audience
  • Strategic plan and its strategy to catering to an audience
  • Plausible goals, resource distribution, contingency and the importance of pre-production
  • Delivery as the first step into the public eye
  • Social, emotional and psychological evocation
  • Splitting an audience into two parts: one that you need to get, and the one you still haven’t gotten


  • Restate
  • Distributing attention and resources
  • Applies to daily lives and productivity

Hopefully, this example of how to structure an essay will be helpful when developing your argumentation. An outline does not have to be extensive, but rather very comprehensive. Its primary purpose is to make writing easier above all.

Structure of an Essay

Structure of an Essay quote

Argumentative Essay Structure

Argumentative writing requires extensive use of persuasive language, so the outline that you develop must contain a point of contention.

Read more on How to Write an Argumentative Essay

Persuasive Essay Structure

Like the argumentative paper, a persuasive essay spends all of its time enforcing the proposed thesis, rather than disproving the opposing one. Plan your outline accordingly.

Read more on How to Write a Persuasive Essay

Narrative Essay Structure

A narrative essay tells a story from a specific point of view. A chronological approach may be most effective, and a well-formulated outline can help keep you on track.

Read more on How to Write a Narrative Essay

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

It’s in the title, comparing two subjects and contrasting their specifics needs planning to make a contrast effective. First, isolating the two subjects and then synthesizing the gathered information to make a claim needs deep planning and structure.

Read more on How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Cause and Effect Essay Structure

Understanding the reasoning behind the occurrence of certain events needs a logical (and maybe even a chronological) lineup of statements. A good blueprint will provide you with ease of access to the application of the strategy.

Read more on How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

Informative Essay Structure

Making an argument is not a requirement when writing an informative piece. Rather, you should rely on facts and evidence to showcase something. An outline helps plan out the evidence you want to base your paper on, for example from most relevant to least relevant to pull the reader in.

Read more on How to Write an Informative Essay

Still Confused? Don’t Fret

It’s a tough task to get your essay sorted and planned out, but we may have a solution for your troubles. Our essay writing service offers proofreading services in case you get stuck on a certain phase of writing, or you could buy an essay and using it as a template to create your masterpiece. Our custom essays are provided by our professional writing team and have been providing students like you with the best essays. Check out our reviews and feel free to contact us. Happy writing!

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