MTM Writing Clinic
MLK 252 
Phone: 713-313-7981
Email: owl@tsu.edu


Writing Process

Outlines are organizational tools that allow you to develop your paper. Outlines can be created before you begin writing, or to summary your own or another’s completed writing project. More commonly referred to as reverse outlining, this process can be useful in ensuring that you’ve met all the requirements of your assignment, or as a first step in summarizing another writer’s arguments. Before we look at three different levels of outlining, keep the following in mind:

      • Outlines are organized by headings. Major headings usually use roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) while subheadings use upper case letters (A, B, C), then Arabic numerals (1,2,3,4) followed by lower case letters (a, b, c).
      • Major headings should be general while subheadings should be specific.
      • Headings of the same type should have equal weight.

For our purposes, outlines have 3 different levels which you may use to varying degrees. Often it is useful to start with a very rudimentary level one outline which you will update as your research progresses, until you have a level 3 outline.

 

Level One

In a level one outline, you will set out the framework of your paper without any specifics on how your topics will support your thesis. However, it does provide some structure in that it narrows your key areas of research into major categories.

I. Introduction

II. Topic

III. Topic

IV. Topic

V. Conclusion

Level Two

Building on the level one outline, a level two outline illustrates the claims you will make to support your topic, and ultimately, your thesis statement. It should also include a working thesis (link).

I. Introduction

A. Working thesis

II. Topic

A. Claim

B. Claim

III. Topic

A. Claim

B. Claim

IV. Topic

A. Claim

B. Claim

V. Conclusion

Level Three

Building further, a level three outline will include the evidence that will support your claims.

I. Introduction

A. Working thesis

II. Topic

A. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

B. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

C. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

III. Topic

A. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

B. Claim

1.Evidence

2.Evidence

3.Evidence

C. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

IV. Topic

A. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

B. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

C. Claim

1. Evidence

2. Evidence

3. Evidence

V. Conclusion