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Introduction to Academic Reading and Writing: Outline

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Use an outline to organize and order your ideas, using main and subheadings to indicate the logical relationships between ideas.


  • Place your thesis statement at the top 

  • List your major supporting points. Writing them as complete sentences gives you topic sentences around which you can build your paragraphs in your draft. Label these using Roman numerals (I, II, III, …).  

  • Order your major supporting points in logical order or in order of importance (least to most important is generally suggested) 

  • List supporting ideas for each major point, labeling them in capital letters (A, B, C, …).

  • Continue to sub-divide each supporting idea to fully develop each major supporting point. Use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 ...) and lower-case letters (a, b, c, ...). 

  • Include bibliographic information for research material with each major or supporting idea.  

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