An outline is a great way to organize your thoughts for an essay or paper assignment. It can be used for almost any type of writing, including creative assignments, lab reports, science projects and essays.

Here are some steps on how to create an outline.

1) Come up with a good thesis statement – this is basically the topic of the paper that you will expand upon in your paragraphs. You should state it near the beginning of your document. For example, if you are writing about abortion, one possible thesis statement would be “Abortion should not only be allowed in cases where rape has occurred.” The thesis statement basically tells readers what to expect from your writing.

2) Type out five main points that are related to your topic but do not talk specifically about it. For example, if your topic is abortion, here are five things you could include in this section:

  • What makes a woman want to have an abortion?
  • How easy/difficult is it to get an abortion?
  • Complications that may arise from abortions
  • What measures can be taken to prevent unplanned pregnancies?
  • Ways to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions (i.e., sex education)

3) Create at least three subpoints for each main point. These usually should go underneath each main point with either underlines or asterisks indicating they are subpoints. For example, if your first main point is “What makes a woman want to have an abortion?” you could make three subpoints underneath it:

  • Women might not even know they are pregnant.
  • Financial reasons that a pregnant woman may consider an abortion.
  • A change in life plans may cause a woman to seek out abortions.

4) Use each of these points and subpoints for the body of your paper, expanding on them with several examples from the book or article. You should add more information about each topic as you write, listing them in order from least important to most important so that readers can follow along easily without being confused. For example, your introduction might have something like this: Abortions should not only be allowed in cases where rape has occurred.

What makes a woman want to have an abortion?

The financial costs and health risks that come with parenthood and childrearing could be enough for a woman to seek out abortions. A change in life plans may cause a woman to seek out abortions if she is looking into different careers or attending college. Women might not even know they are pregnant, such as when using contraception such as the birth control pill or condoms (which can fail).

5) Conclude your essay by writing a sentence summarizing why you believe what you wrote about in your paper. For example: In conclusion, it is evident that abortions should not be allowed in cases of rape because the women have not chosen to have sex since their bodies are not ready to care for a child.

6) Edit your essay, then proofread it again when you are finished. You can use this template when writing an outline for any type of paper assignment, such as a book review or lab report. It is always better if you can begin with more than five points and subpoints to work from – the more information you include in your paper, the better!