Before you begin writing a paper, especially an academic paper, it is a good idea to create an outline. An outline will help you gather your research and thoughts and to organize the information in a logical and sequential manner. Outlines are also useful in revealing whether you have enough information to back up your topic or points in the paper. They allow you to see how everything fits together.
- State the main idea for your paper. This will help you organize it and give it a title.
- Write down the main categories or subtopics under your main idea. For example, a paper on the benefits of sports for children might include types of sports available, effects on character, and research on the health benefits of sports participation. Highlight the key points in your introduction.
- Notate the introduction and the key points in your outline. Notate the introduction with the Roman numeral number I. Identify each point with a capital letter beginning with A, and each subcategory with a number, beginning with 1.
- Explain the first point that you would like to cover. For the example above, list the types of sports that children can become involved in. Describe whether the activity is a team sport such as baseball or an individual sport such as gymnastics. Include information that you would like to research.
- List the remaining points in a similar manner to complete your outline. The last section should be the conclusion and include a summary of your key points.