Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Jul 28, 2016     Views: 509

Outlines are a great way to organize the information in your research papers, presentations, or projects. They help you group related ideas together and come up with a logical order for the material you want to cover in your paper. They organize your research onto a framework, with main ideas at one level, and facts or opinions to support each main idea indented under them.

There are a few formats for outlines, such as alpha-numeric, decimal and full sentence to choose from, but check with your instructor if you will be submitting the outline as part of your work for a course. The links below have a sample of each type.


The Center for Academic Success (CAS) on each campus will always assist you with writing papers. They will give you advice and help with organizing, outlining, and writing assignments.

The last link below is to a Generic or All-purpose Outline document template (based on an MS Word template), if you need help with setting up the structure of your document. Make sure you save the one you are working on as a regular Word Document (not template) with a different file name, then make it as long as you need for the number of main topics in your paper.

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