Never write a paper without an outline! The outline is how you plan your paper’s content. Without an outline, you’re “just winging it” - and that’s no way to write a quality paper.
Why You Need an Outline
Creates a skeleton for your paper.
It provides the structure and support you need during the writing process. While you may be able to pull a paper off without one, having an outline can be the difference between an OK paper and an amazing paper.
Process the information you gathered while doing your research.
Converting all your notes, quotes, and summaries doesn’t happen magically. Your brain (and paper) needs time to really understand how each of these things will fit together in one cohesive argument. Outlines allow you to quickly arrange and rearrange your content before committing to a draft.
Set goals for yourself.
Breaking down big projects like papers into manageable chunks helps you finish them quicker and more efficiently. Taking a paper one step at a time - instead of being overwhelmed by the whole thing - gives you the clarity to write each section as well as possible.
Organizes your ideas into a logical order.
A good argument can fall apart if it isn’t organized properly or doesn’t flow. Crafting quality transitions between your research, between paragraphs, and between arguments is critical for helping your reader navigate through your paper. With an outline, you can tailor what you are currently writing so that it flows perfectly into what is coming next. If you don’t know where you’re headed, then you reader won’t either.
Creating an Outline
The process of creating an outline is easy once you know how. While there are some rules about how your outline should look, it is a powerful tool that can be tweaked for your own writing style. PERRLA even comes with its own Outline tool to help you keep everything formatted perfectly for you and to help you organize all of your research easily.
Here’s an example: it's an outline of the introduction of a research paper on the existence of Bigfoot.