Writing an Outline

Before you can begin your essay, you need an organisational plan (an 'outline'). This gives you 'direction', and makes the process of writing more efficient. An outline can be produced:

  • before you start your research (a 'research' outline)
    • to help you decide your approach to the problem
    • to help focus your reading
  • before you start your writing (a 'writing' outline)
    • to help you organise your ideas/material
    • to give you an overview of your work
    • to speed up the writing process

Whether you are preparing a research outline or a writing outline, you can, and probably will, change it in the process of gathering your data or writing your essay; this is not a problem. Always remember that an outline exists simply to give direction. It is flexible.

These pages tell you how to produce writing outlines.

Start with the title

When you have done that, you are ready to ....

Produced by Bill Guariento and Esther Daborn, University of Glasgow EFL Unit, June 2000. Webpage created by Bill Guariento.