How to Develop an Outline for an Essay?


Like anything else, writing an essay should also begin with concrete planning. And for that, it will be important for you to create a structure for it so that you can follow it accordingly.

But, how do you do it?

Well, developing an outline for an essay might require you to do more than one task. But, you should always begin by writing a quick summary of what you’re going to work on.

And, then…

Well, let me elaborate a little more.

Building the Outline of an Essay

Writing an essay, especially a college one, is a tricky affair. 

It has to be done in a structured manner so that you don’t end up straying off the path. And it will also be important for you to keep the facts in check. After all, you wouldn’t want to share something with your college that’s not factually correct or convincing enough.

But, here’s the thing.

Doing all of these will take some time and a lot of patience. So, make sure to start working on the essay at the earliest. This way, it will be easier for you to complete it before the deadline.

Component – 1: Writing the Introduction

The introduction of an essay, depending on the word count, shouldn’t exceed the limit of 150 words. If you are writing a 500-word article, it has to be concluded within 70 words or so.

And what about the writing style?

Well firstly, you should always start the introduction of your essay with a sentence, which can grab your reader’s attention. You may use a striking fact or jot down a question. Yes, you will have to answer the same in the next line. But this will prompt the reader to take their time and go to the following sentence with a sense of anticipation in their heart.

Secondly, the writing style should be professional. However, I’d ask you to avoid using any kind of difficult words. Instead, choose something that’s easy to perceive.

Finally, before you go to the body of the essay, be sure to end the same with an intriguing and mysterious sentence. Don’t sell your article too much on the introduction, though.

That might be detrimental to the quality.

Component – 2: Developing the Body of the Essay

Now, the next thing you have to focus on is the body of the article. You can categorize it in 3 different ways, including the below-mentioned –

  • Firstly, you’ll need to present the idea or context of your essay a bit more elaborately. Make sure to let the reader know everything that there’s to tell about it.
  • The second section should be about what you personally think about the argument. An important thing to do here would be to voice your opinion in your own language.
  • Finally, you have to prove that whatever you are saying is true and factual. You can do it by presenting supporting evidence for each of the arguments you have made.

This section should be at least 75% to 80% of your total word count. Considering the same, your introduction must not be more than 15%. And the conclusion should boast the rest. 

Component – 3: Concluding the Article

Once you’re done with the introduction and the body of the essay, I would ask you to check it again. Read from the beginning till the end and see if you’ve written precisely what you were seeking to jot down. Once you have done it, then you can move to the conclusion.

When writing the conclusion, the first thing that you need to do is restate the thesis again. It’s going to be more elaborate than before – you may make it two or three sentences if needed.

But I would ask you not to go overboard with it. 

After you have done that, you can repeat your thoughts about the entire topic in an insightful manner. Don’t use too many words here, as it’s your conclusion. You have to make it concise and end it in an opinionated manner. Yes, that’s right. You have to end the essay with a proper and effective opinion. It should be something that you have argued about before.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

1: Why is it important to develop an outline for an essay?

A: Developing an outline for an essay helps you organize your thoughts, create a logical structure, and ensure that your essay flows smoothly. It provides a roadmap for your writing and helps you stay focused on your main points.

2 How do I start developing an outline?

A: Begin by identifying your main argument or thesis statement. Then, brainstorm the key points or arguments that support your thesis. Group related ideas together and arrange them in a logical order.

3: What are the essential components of an outline?

A: An outline typically consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each section should have subheadings that represent the main ideas or arguments you plan to discuss.

4: Should I use complete sentences in my outline?

A: It’s not necessary to use complete sentences in your outline. Instead, you can use short phrases or bullet points to convey the main ideas. The outline is a tool for organizing your thoughts, not a formal piece of writing.

5: How detailed should my outline be?

A: The level of detail in your outline depends on your personal preference and the complexity of your essay. Some people prefer a more detailed outline with sub-points, while others prefer a broader outline with main ideas only. Find a balance that works best for you.

6: Can I modify my outline while writing the essay?

A: Yes, it’s common to make adjustments to your outline as you write. Sometimes, new ideas or insights emerge during the writing process, and you may need to reorganize or add sections to your outline to accommodate them.

7: Should I strictly follow my outline?

A: While an outline provides structure, it’s not set in stone. It serves as a guide, but you can deviate from it if needed. As you write, you may discover new perspectives or find that certain sections require more emphasis, so you can adapt your outline accordingly.

8: How can I ensure coherence between the outline and the essay?

A: Before starting your essay, review your outline to ensure that each section aligns with your thesis statement and supports your main argument. As you write, refer back to your outline to stay on track and maintain a cohesive flow in your essay.

9: Is there a specific format for outlining an essay?

A: There is no rigid format for outlining an essay. You can use a hierarchical structure with Roman numerals, letters, and numbers, or you can opt for a more informal structure with bullet points or indents. Choose a format that is clear and convenient for you to follow.

The Bottom Line

So, that will be all for this one. 

I hope that I have helped you in understanding how you may develop the outline of an essay. But if you are still worried about something, make sure to call for an expert. And in that case, IvoryResearch will certainly be able to help you out accordingly.

Good luck!

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Good luck!