Last Updated: Apr 01, 2024 Views: 14

What is an Outline?

An outline is a brainstorming method that you can use to organize your writing. It helps you group your paper's main ideas with their supporting points, and put them all in a logical order. Many students find that creating an outline before they write their paper helps keep them on track and makes the writing process a little easier. 

How do I Format an Outline?

Neither APA nor MLA have specific formats for outlines, so please check with your instructor for a preferred format if you are doing an outline for an assignment. There are a few different common kinds of outlines, but a common one is an alphanumeric outline using Roman numerals and letters - see below for an example!

Example Outline - Alphanumeric

Thesis: (Thesis Statement)

  1. One Idea About My Topic
    1. Detail about that idea
    2. Detail about that idea
    3. Detail about that idea
  2. Another Idea About My Topic
    1. Detail about that second idea
    2. Detail about that second idea
    3. Detail about that second idea

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Further Help

Campus Students

To access academic support, visit your Brightspace course and select “Tutoring and Mentoring” from the Academic Support pulldown menu.

Online Students

To access help with citation and more, visit Academic Support via modules in Brightspace:


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