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Preparing an Outline

Your outline will provide the basis for organizing your paper. It will help arrange the information for presentation.

Steps for Preparing the Outline:

  1. Sort your note cards according to guide words. The guide words that are broad will become major topics and the more specific ones may be used as subtopics.
  2. Arrange your topics and subtopics into a logical order. You may have to rename topics to fit the outline more clearly.
  3. Write the outline according to form.
  4. Make sure the statements in the outline are grammatically consistent, for example, consistent verb tense. The first word of each entry is capitalized.
  5. Begin major headings with a Roman numeral followed by a period. Each subtopic will begin with a capital letter followed by a period. Each supporting detail or example will begin with an Arabic numeral followed by a period.

SAMPLE OUTLINE
Title

Thesis Statement

I. Main Idea or Topic 1
   A. Subtopic 1
        1. Detail/example
        2. Detail/example
   B. Subtopic 2 
II. Main Idea or Topic 2
   A. Subtopic 1 
        1. Detail/example
        2. Detail/example
   B. Subtopic 2
        1. Detail/example
        2. Detail/example