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How to Create an Essay Outline

Essay writing is a technique that has been taught for so many years to students who join schools. The process of writing your essay requires you to go through certain steps that will ensure the quality of your essay has been guaranteed. An outline is an important part of any essay writing process and this is because of the impact that it has when it comes to determining the flow of your essay. This article highlights information on how you can be able to develop your essay outline and create an excellent piece of writing. Various components of an outline have been clearly outlined for purposes of helping you understand what an outline is.


The introduction is an important part of any outline as it is to your essay because it highlights all the details that will introduce your reader to your essay. It must be short, precise and clear with points on how you plan to write the introduction part of your essay. The following are some of the elements that must be contained in the introduction section of your outline and why they are important.

  • Introductory statements

The introductory statement of your essay must capture the attention of the reader and as a result, you must be able to come up with a unique statement when development your outline. It is a determinant of whether or not the reader will develop interest in what you have written. It is advisable to make sure that they are not general in nature and at the same time highlight or serve as a background to the what you are going to discuss in the entire essay. Lastly, introductory statements must provide you with the platform to the important aspects regarding the kind of subject that you want to involve yourself in.

  • Thesis statement

Every essay or paper that you write should have a central point that it is based on, or even a subject that you are trying to address and as a result, this calls for the need of a thesis statement. Many questions that you are likely to ask yourself is what is a thesis statement and how do you come up with one when writing your essay outline? The argument that you make in your paper should be one that revolves around a certain idea and work to prove the same.

A thesis statement is a sentence that captures your position on a certain idea. It should therefore highlight your idea into one or two sentences depending on what you are writing about. The thesis statement acts as a guide to kind of writing that will be taking place as well as the manner in which points will be structured throughout the essay. Your essay must therefore involve effective understanding of what the thesis statement is and how you are going to make use of it in the process of writing your essay. There is also need to avoid common mistakes that many authors make when writing your essay. A thesis statement is a sentence or two that you seek to prove in your paper and not a hypothesis that you seek to test.

  • Introduce supporting ideas (optional)

Supporting ideas in your introduction are optional as stated but they have a critical role when it comes to helping the reader understand the rest of the essay and approaches that have to be adopted along the way. Supporting sentences are aimed at making sure that you can allude to evidence or other sources to support the kind of claims that you make in your paper. Ideas that are introduced along the way must be related to the essay or what you are writing about and at the same time support the thesis statement depending on the kind of position that you have taken.


The body of your essay must have a number of paragraphs that are supported with evidence from various sources and at the same time working to ensure that the thesis statement is backed up. Many standard essays have between five to six paragraphs in their body section and because of that, it is always advisable to make sure that you write what is supposed to be contained in each paragraph while observing rules of writing. The following are steps to follow when deciding in what to cover in the body of your essay.

  • First supporting idea

This should be the first idea that supports your thesis statement and must act as a topic sentence of your paragraph. It must be clear, straight and to the point since it is what the reader needs to know about your paragraph. It is therefore important that the outline contains a supporting idea that is specific in nature and at the same time one that the reader can understand. The planning stage of your essay writing process must gather enough supporting ideas after coming up with a thesis statement.

  • Transition, topic sentence

This is the sentence that should let the reader know that you are transitioning from one idea to the other. It is a very important sentence and this is because of the impact that it has on the overall essay as well as the manner in which the reader goes through your paper. It must be specific and at the same time provide the reader with information regarding the thesis and evidence that you want to present in the next section of the paragraph.

Like it is indicated, a transition phrase or word serves as a link between the main idea in a paragraph to discussion and evidence that you want to subject your reader to. The manner in which sentences are structured is a great determinant of how successful the structure of your essay is going to be and at the same time helps in bringing out the message in the essay.

  • Discussion, examples, and analysis

This is the most important part of the essay outline because of the impact that it has on the overall credibility of the essay as a whole. The discussion part of the paragraph must work to strengthen the argument being presented in your essay. You must work by ensuring that you come up with examples that are relevant to what you are writing and that the same time provide a detailed analysis of the same.

Examples that you provide must have come from recent resources and at the same time relevant to the thesis statement and the argument that you are presenting the paragraph. You must also cite the source of information that you are utilizing in the essay so as to ensure the credibility of what you might have written.

  • Summary (optional)

The conclusion part of your paragraphs must support the initial idea that was presented at the beginning of any paragraph. This is because it serves as a closing remark for all the discussions that you might have presented in the entire paper. Your essay must be coherent based on the kind of conclusion that you will state in this section of the outline.


The last section of your outline indicates to the reader how you plan to write the conclusion part of your paper and the kind of concluding argument that you are likely to present. It is an important part of your outline because it also gives you a clue or framework under which you will arrive at conclusion after presenting various arguments in the paper.

The conclusion must also include the kind of strategies that were stated in the paper and how the thesis statement was supported along the way. In addition to that, the conclusion part must tell your readers the kind of information that they need to know about the argument that they just read about in paragraphs and at the same time the manner in which it supports the thesis statement that was developed at the start of the writing process.

  • Transition, statement reflecting back on thesis

The best way to write a conclusion ion this case is to make sure that you reflect on the thesis statements and highlight various sentences that support the thesis statement that was being supported throughout your essay. It is important to make sure that you restate these points as means of making sure that everything is clear to the reader.

It acts as a summary when it comes to reading your essay and the reader can pick important points that were discussed in the essay. The main purpose of restating and reflecting on the thesis statement is to echo it and at the same time serve as means of strengthening the argument that the reader has been subjected to throughout the essay. The key points of the essay must be stated at this point as means of understanding the whole outcome.

  • Restate the key points

The key points within the essay must be restated as means of ensuring that everything is properly highlighted and at the same time the reader knows what the essay was all about. This is an exercise that ensures that most points within the essay are clear and at the same time the reader can tell what the main point of discussion was when it comes to reading the conclusion of the essay. The role of restating the main points in the essay is to make sure that every detail has been captured and key points that support the thesis statement of your essay have been properly highlighted. A thesis statement must also be repeated with some few sentences to support it at this point and thus make the outline even more detailed on the part of the reader.

  • Closing remarks (optional)

Most essays are always based on research and evidence that has been gathered from different parts and resources. This is aimed at making sure that the essay captures the what has been discussed and at the same time provokes the reader to look further for more information regarding the topic.

This is also aimed at making sure that the reader is able to do further research regarding the conclusion that was reached at in the essay. The overall goal however is to further the discussion that the reader starts through the essay and at the same time enrich the conversation that is taking place.

Here is an example of an essay outline:

  1. Introduction
    1. General introduction
    2. Specific introduction
    3. Thesis statement
  2. Body
    1. Paragraph 1:
      1. Topic sentence
      2. First Evidence
      3. Second Evidence
      4. Third Evidence
    2. Paragraph 2:
      1. Topic sentence
      2. First Evidence
      3. Second Evidence
      4. Third Evidence
    3. Paragraph 3:
      1. Topic sentence
      2. First Evidence
      3. Second Evidence
      4. Third Evidence
  3. Conclusion
    1. Thesis Restatement
    2. Summary of the key ideas in the essay
    3. Significance/ Implication of the ideas to be discussed on the target audience.
    4. Closing remarks/call to action
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