Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Why Create an Outline?
It is helpful to create an Outline for the following reasons:
1) Organize your thoughts/ideas better
2) Understand information flow - logical ordering of information
3) Shows relationships between ideas
4) Ensures that you include everything - helps to keep track of a large amount of information
5) For creative writing - organize plot threads and keep track of character traits
6) For oral presentations - helps you speak more effectively
OWL at Purdue Online Writing Lab
Purdue Owl - Developing an Outline
- Place your thesis statement at the beginning
- Review all the ideas/points that you have found
- Group related ideas together
- List the major points that support your thesis and discard anything that is irrelevant.
- Label them in Roman Numerals (I, II, III, etc.)
- List supporting ideas or arguments for each major point.
- Label them in capital letters (A, B, C, etc.)
- If necessary, continue to sub-divide each supporting idea until your outline is fully developed.
- Label them 1, 2, 3, etc., and then a, b, c, etc.
Research Paper Outline - Example