The simplest diagram of an outline looks like this: A sentence outline summarizes each idea in a complete sentence that may become the topic sentence for a paragraph in the rough draft. A reverse outline is an outline made from an existing work. Here is a common format used in constructing a formal outline: Note that subtopics are indented so that all letters or numbers of the same kind appear directly under one another. A software program designed for processing outlines is called an outliner. When completed the integrated outline contains the relevant scholarly sources (author's last name, publication year, page number if quote) for each section in the outline. Garson (2002) distinguishes a 'standard outline', presented as a regular table of contents from a refined tree-like 'hierarchical outline', stating that "such an outline might be appropriate, for instance, when the purpose is taxonomic (placing observed phenomena into an exhaustive set of categories). Ensure that all items have at least two subtopics or none at all. A sentence outline is a tool for composing a document, such as an essay, a paper, a book, or even an encyclopedia. In addition to being used as a composition tool during the drafting process, outlines can also be used as a publishing format. A feature included in many outlines is prefixing. An integrated outline is a composition tool for writing scholastic works, in which the sources, and the writer's notes from the sources, are integrated into the outline for ease of reference during the writing process. Some call the Roman numerals "A-heads" (for "A-level headings"), the upper-case letters, "B-heads", and so on. ", "Two types of outlines are most common: short topic outlines and lengthy sentence outlines.  An outline may be used as a drafting tool of a document, or as a summary of the content of a document or of the knowledge in an entire field. Outlines are also used to summarize talking points for a speech or lecture. They are also used for goal and task management (including personal information management and project management), and for writing books and movie scripts. In other words, as a hand-written work an outline is a writing tool, but on a computer, it is a general purpose format supported by a robust development and display medium capable of handling knowledge from its creation to its end use. The graphical counterpart to outliners are mind mappers. Merriam-Webster's manual for writers and editors (1998, p. 290) recommends that the section headings of an article should when read in isolation, combine to form an outline of the article content. Matter and Energy", "1.1 Atoms", "1.1.1. This eliminates the need to have separate documents, as outlines easily include other outlines just by adding to the tree. If most of your notes can be shaped into topic sentences for paragraphs in the rough draft, you can be relatively sure that your document will be well organized. You can how much time it would take to complete the whole piece and which part would take more time. There are also hand-written outlines (which are highly limited in utility)[according to whom? Some teachers ask students to submit formal outlines with their papers. ", – Gerald J. Alred and Charles T. Brusaw. Outlines are usually in the form of a list divided into headings and subheadings that distinguish main points from supporting points. It is a computer program, or part of one, used for displaying, organizing, and editing hierarchically arranged text in an outline's tree structure. The Outline of Knowledge from the 15th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is an example of this. Each numeral or letter is followed by a period, and each item is capitalized, as in the following sample: Thesis statement: E-mail and internet monitoring, as currently practiced, is an invasion of employees' rights in the workplace. Preparation of an outline is an intermediate step in the process of writing a scholarly research paper, literature review, thesis or dissertation. Outliners may be used in content creation instead of general word processors for capturing, organizing, editing, and displaying knowledge or general textual information. For example, the third sub-sub-item of the fourth sub-item of the second item is item II. – Wilma R. Ebbitt and David R. Ebbitt, "Writer's Guide and Index to English. The outlines described in this article are lists, and come in several varieties. This way the scholar reviews all of the literature before the writing begins. If an organizational level in an outline is to be sub-divided, it shall have at least two subcategories, as advised by major style manuals in current use. The Outline of Knowledge was a project by Mortimer Adler. Wikipedia includes outlines that summarize subjects (for example, see Outline of chess, Outline of Mars, and Outline of knowledge). An outline may be either informal or formal. "Handbook of Technical Writing.". The body. The points or topics are extracted from the work, and are arranged in their order of presentation, by section, in the outline. Outlines are usually in the form of a list divided into headings and subheadings that distinguish main points from supporting points. The conclusion. Outlines are differentiated by style, the inclusion of prefixes, and specialized purpose. This page was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 09:10. A. An integrated outline is a helpful step in the process of organizing and writing a scholarly paper (literature review, research paper, thesis or dissertation). A topic outline consists of short phrases arranged to reflect your primary method of development. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Understanding Organization in Composition and Speech, Best Practices for the Most Effective Use of Paragraphs, 5 Easy Summarizing Strategies for Students, 5 Examples of How to Write a Good Descriptive Paragraph, Thesis: Definition and Examples in Composition, Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia, M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester, B.A., English, State University of New York. The prefix is in the form of Roman numerals for the top level, upper-case letters (in the alphabet of the language being used) for the next level, Arabic numerals for the next level, and then lowercase letters for the next level. Reverse outlining is like reverse engineering a document. 1. a) (1) (a) i) – capital Roman numerals with a period, capital letters with a period, Arabic numerals with a period, italic lowercase letters with a single parenthesis, Arabic numerals with a double parenthesis, italic lowercase letters with a double parenthesis, and italic lowercase Roman numerals with a single parentheses, though the italics are not required). At the same time, you would render a smoother reading experience, and everything would be in some kind of chronological order. Some writers also prefer to insert a blank line between the A-heads and B-heads, while often keeping the B-heads and C-heads together. An outline without prefixes is called a "bare outline". Heffernan, et al., "Writing: A College Handbook.". So, the ninth sub-item (letter-I) of the first item (Roman-I) is item I. I., and only the top level one is item I. – James A.W. Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. There are also hand-written outlines (which are highly limited in utility) , and digitized outlines, such as those contained within an outliner (which are much more useful). One side effect of the use of both Roman numerals and uppercase letters in all of these styles of outlining is that in most alphabets, "I." ", – Gary Goshgarian, "An Argument Rhetoric and Reader. Another alternative scheme repeats all five levels with a single parenthesis for the second five – I) A) 1) a) i) – and then again with a double parenthesis for the third five – (I) (A) (1) (a) (i). Textual information is contained in discrete sections called "nodes", which are arranged according to their topic-subtopic (parent-child) relationships, sort of like the members of a family tree.