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An outline is the fundamental blueprint of an article. A precise outline is impeccable while preparing to deliver a speech or write an essay. An outline entails structural organization of thoughts and ideas within a text. Usually, writing an outline practical when the author has gathered all required supporting materials like data, quotes, and ideas. Secondary information can be easy to locate. Maintaining a simple and clear outline is important. There is a plan for every work. An outline is important in organizing the thoughts and argument. Writing research paper is efficient with a good plan. However, it is a waste of time and resources to conduct a research work without a clear and concise plan.

Why making an outline is a challenging task 

Crafting a perfect essay outline is often a challenge. This is because an outline entails all the structures of an essay which may twist on the way. For instance, an outline of a research paper may shift from what is conventionally known to a new dimension. In regards to this, writing an outline may prompt prerequisite knowledge to come up with a strong outline. Secondly, a strong and correct outline requires a collection of relevant information. The process of gathering information is hectic and time consuming. Usually, writing correct outline requires in-depth knowledge and information in specific disciplines. This knowledge can only be obtained through experience or practically visiting the occasion. Indeed, it is reasonably difficult to write a correct outline without an avalanche of experience or prerequisite information.

Main types of an outline

There are two main types of the outline. Macro outline, for instance, is essential to portray the large picture through a series of short phrases. The macro outline is widely employed when writing a series of issues and ideas which can be ordered in any number of ways. In macro outline, every part could consist of few words to convey a basic idea of what the author will intend to undertake without getting into finer details. Macro outlines are easy to peruse through, to obtain the broader picture of the research paper. It helps the speaker to cover all the points without missing certain ideas efficiently. Macro outlines work well in collaboration with clustering. For instance:

The concept

  • Definition 
  • Examples 
  • Purpose 

The other common type of an outline is a micro outline. Micro outlines are longer and detailed than the macro outlines. This type of an outline is preferred when discussing a complex topic in nature. Micro outlines are created using complete sentences rather than short phrases. According to experts at, it is useful to insert important quotation and subsequent analysis onto the micro outline. This practice helps to remind the speaker about vital elements of the research work or essay. 

What is an outline?

An outline arranges and develops vital ideas. The primary purpose of an outline is to help the writer organize and flesh out the primary points. The greatest benefit of an outline is flexibility. The author is free to start from any point and discuss a significant aspect of the essay. The art of writing initial ideas can spawn out new significant ideas to add the outline.

 Basic tips to make a perfect outline

Identify the topic. Writers need to identify a suitable topic. Copying and pasting words from the prompts are discouraged while writing a strong outline. Moreover, the writers should portray creativity and in-depth understanding of the topic.

Figuring out main points. It is prudent to figure out all relevant ideas that the author intends to convey to the audience. The primary points are essential in driving to the main thesis statement. 

Arrange the main points in logical and presentable manner. Listing the key points in a clear and coherent manner is inevitable. However, this points can change later while handling practical activities listed on the outline

Creation of sub-points beneath every major idea. This tip is important as it helps the writer to think hard about every point listed exclusively. Conventionally, every major idea should be supported by at least two sub-points.

Evaluation of outline. This is another important aspect of crafting an outline. Writers need to go through what they have written as an outline. The outline should have a smooth flow of ideas and sensible about the topic of discussion. Every point should be suitably crafted and spawned out. Unnecessary exaggeration in the outline page should be removed.

Example of a perfect outline


Reasons for birth control 

  • Employment demands
  • Cultural and religious beliefs
  • Economic restriction
  • Government policies and regulation
  • Health condition
  • Court directives 

Effect of birth control 

  • Psychological effects 
  • Health effects 
  • Spiritual effects 

Merits of birth control 

  • Good nutritional status 
  • Financial stability 
  • Food security 

Wrapping it up

In a nutshell, a strong outline provides a structure and guidance for writers as they endeavor on the writing process. Precisely, an outline should give a summary of the intended content of the essay or speech. A strong outline should organize the content in a logically sensible and coherent manner. Understanding how to craft a good outline is a vital skill for students to facilitate them handle their academic work.


This article was written by Patrick Rambo, a professional academic writer. It was written to help in understanding of how to craft a good outline for an essay.