How to Write an Effective Outline for Academic Essay

One technique to structure your essay before you start writing is to use an outline. It involves creating short summaries, phrases, or sentences for each issue you'll discuss in each paragraph so you can see how your argument flows.

Before you start writing the essay, you may be expected to submit an outline as a separate assignment. However, even if it's not a requirement, it's still a good idea to do so as part of your writing process. You can learn how to write an essay outline with the help of this tutorial.

Putting the Content Together

When you're outlining an academic essay, your ideas are usually not fully formed. The next step is to organize your essay ideas into a coherent argument. You should be familiar with your topic and do some preliminary research to identify relevant sources.

Create Categories

Review any facts, quotes, and ideas you have collected throughout your research, and then decide what general point you want to make in the essay. Start organizing your content to support your case and get a broader perspective. You can arrange your ideas into themes when writing about a literary work. If you're writing about a historical period, there are many critical trends or turning moments.

You can divide topics into three body paragraphs or three larger sections with multiple paragraphs addressing each subject, depending on how long the topic is. Carefully review your categories and points as you outline: Are they redundant or irrelevant? Make sure the topic you discuss is relevant to your thesis. Experts from AcademicPaperPros have professional knowledge about writing an effective outline.

Proclamation of Knowledge

When dividing your content into several categories, think about the order in which they should appear. An introduction and conclusion will always come first and last in your essay, but how you structure the body is entirely up to you.
To organize your content, think about the following questions:

  • Does your argument have a clear starting point?
  • Is there a topic that makes it easy to move from one to another?
  • Introduce some issues by first addressing related matters.

Presentation of the Academic Essay Outline

In each paragraph, you will focus on a specific idea related to your general topic or argument, supporting your ideas with various examples or analyses.

You list these topics in your outline as a few short sentences or words. These can be broken down into sub-points when more details are required.
A typical essay outline is shown in the template below.


While writing an introduction, you must;

  1. 1.  Introduce You Topic
  2. 2. Provide Background Information
  3. 3. Provide Thesis statement

Body Section

This is a critical part of your document, and only a proper flow of information will make it work. While creating an outline for the body paragraph, break it down into sections. The first section should always include the background information on the topic, followed by arguments, discussions, research analysis, and other such aspects. Include specific keywords that help you memorize the information just by seeing them.


A conclusion must;

  1. 1.  Summarize the main idea of the topic
  2. 2. Importance of topic
  3. 3. Powerful concluding statement

How to Prepare for Outlining

It is better if you read your written work thoroughly beforehand. You should be familiar with the essay writing style, the number of reasons you can use, and the length of your academic essay.

Answer the Question

Do you intend to enlighten, persuade, or entertain your readers? Why are you writing your academic essay? You will understand what to consider when writing a dissertation, your writing style, and the presentation of your research paper.

Read more: How To Write A Research Paper Intro Paragraph

Define the Target Audience

Yes, your work is graded by the teacher, but who else did you have in mind to review it? Do you send letters to classmates? How much knowledge do they have related to your subject? Are they happy with your conclusion? How do you think they'll respond to your data?
Based on this, you will know which arguments can be significant for your academic essay. Additionally, it will help you choose your study sources and provide support data for your claims. Consider reputable resources such as Oxford Academic or Google Scholar for your dissertation.

Make Your Argument

You can see the topic sentences in your essay outline. A strong thesis will engage readers and provide them with enough information to invest in your work. Once you have prepared the thesis, you can start to organize your essay.
An essay outline is what you need to organize the information and not miss anything while writing. You create papers better and faster when you know how to write an essay outline. You remember all the components of an essay and develop critical thinking, and as a result, you become a better writer.