An outline is:
	-	A logical, general description
	-	A schematic summary
	-	An organizational pattern
	-	A visual and conceptual design of your writing

An outline reflects logical thinking and correct classification.


Generally	- Aids you in the process of writing

Particularly	- Helps organize your ideas
		- Presents your material in a logical form
		- Shows the relationship of ideas in your writing
		- Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
		- Defines boundaries and groups


Before you begin:
	-	Determine the *purpose* of your paper.
	-	Determine the *thesis* of your paper.
	-	Determine the *audience* you are writing for.

	Brainstorm - List all the ideas you want to include in this writing.
	Organize - Group ideas together that are related to each other.
	Order - Divide this material into groups arranging from the
	 general to the specific, or from abstract to concrete.
	Label - Create main and subtopic headings and write coordinate
 levels in parallel form.


An outline has a balanced structure which uses the principles of:
	-	Parallelism
	-	Coordination
	-	Subordination
	-	Division

Whenever possible, in writing an outline, *coordinate heads* should be expressed in parallel form. That is, nouns should be made parallel with nouns,
verb forms with verb forms, adjectives with adjectives, and so on. (Example: Nouns - computers, programs, users; Verbs - to compute, to program, to use;
Adjectives - home computers, new programs, experienced users.) Although parallel structure is desired, logical and clear writing should not be
sacrificed simply to maintain parallelism. (For example, there are times when nouns and gerunds used at the same level of an outline are acceptable.)
Reasonableness and flexibility of form is preferred to rigidity.

In outlining, those items which are of equal significance have comparable numeral or letter designations; an A is equal a B, a 1 to a 2,
an a to a b, etc. Coordinates should be seen as "having the same value." Coordination is a principle that enables the writer to maintain a coherent
and consistent document.

Correct coordination - 
	 A. Word processing programs
 B. Data base programs
 C. Spreadsheet programs

Incorrect coordination - A. Word processing programs
 B. Wordstar
 C. Thinktank
 Explanation: Wordstar is a type of word processing program and should be treated as a subdivision. Thinktank is a type of organizational program.
One way to correct coordination would be:
 A. Types of programs
 1. Wordstar

 2. Thinktank
 B. Evaluation of programs
 1. Wordstar
 2. Thinktank

In order to indicate relevance, that is levels of significance, an outline uses major and minor headings. Thus in ordering ideas you should organize material from general to specific or from abstract to concrete - the more general or abstract the concept, the higher the level or rank in
the outline. This principle allows your material to be ordered in terms of logic and requires a clear articulation of the relationship between component parts used in the outline. Subdivisions of a major division should always have the same relationship to the whole.

Correct subordination -
 A. Word processing programs
 1. Applewriter
 2. Wordstar
 B. Thought processors
 1. Thinktank
 2. THOR
Faulty subordination -
 A. Word processing programs
 1. Applewriter
 2. Useful
 3. Obsolete

There is an A without a B. Also 1, 2, 3 are not equal; Applewriter is a type of word processing program, and useful and obsolete are qualities. One way to correct this faulty
subordination is:

 A. Applewriter
 1. Positive features
 2. Negative features
 B. Wordstar
 1. Positive features
 2. Negative features

To divide you always need at least *two* parts. Therefore, there can never be an A without a B, a 1 without a 2, an a without a b, etc. Usually there is more than one way to divide parts. However, when dividing use only one basis of division at each rank and make the basis of division as
sharp as possible.

Example 1:
A. Microcomputer hardware
 1. Types
 2. Cost
 3. Maintenance
B. Microcomputer software

Example 2:
A. Computers
 1. Mainframe
 2. Micro
 a. Floppy Disk
 b. Hard disk
B. Computer Uses
 1. Institutional
 2. Personal


The most important rule for outlining form is to be consistent!


A TOPIC outline uses words or phrases for all entries; it uses no punctuation after entries:
Advantages - presents a brief overview of work; is generally easier and faster to write than a sentence outline.
A SENTENCE outline uses complete sentences for all entries; it uses correct punctuation:
Advantages - presents a more detailed overview of work, including possible topic sentences; is easier and faster for writing the final paper.

An outline may use Roman Numerals/Letters or Decimal form.

Roman Numeral Decimal

I. 1.0
 A. 1.1
 B. 1.2
 1. 1.2.1
 2. 1.2.2

II. 2.0
 A. 2.1
 B. 2.2
 C. 2.3


Purpose: To show how programs written for microcomputers relate to the process of writing.

Thesis: Microcomputer programs can have a positive effect on students' writing if both the potentials and limitations of the programs are understood.

Audience: Current college and university students.

 Microcomputer Programs and the Process of Writing

I. Major Steps in the Writing Process

 A. Organizing

 B. Writing the first draft

 C. Evaluating

 D. Revising

II. Writing Programs for the Microcomputer

 A. Types of Programs and Their Relationship to the Writing Process

 1. Thought

 a. Use in organizing

 b. Use in revising

 2. Word Processors

 a. Use in writing the first draft

 b. Use in revising

 3. Analytical programs: grammar, style, spell

 a. Use in evaluating

 b. Use in revising

 B. Positive and Negative Aspects of Computer Writing Programs

 1. Positive features

 a. Less time spent on repetitive or mechanical writing tasks

 b. Greater flexibility and versatility in writing process

 c. Increased revision strategies

 d. Specific learning possibilities

 2. Negative features

 a. The increased time spent on learning software programs and


 b. The availability of hardware and software

 c. The unrealistic expectations of users

 1) A cure-all for writing problems

 2) A way to avoid learning correct grammar/syntax/spelling

 3) A method to reduce time spent on writing proficiently

 4) A simple process to learn and execute

 C. Future Possibilities of Computer Programs for Writing

 1. Rapid change

 2. Improved programs

 3. Increased use and availability

 4. More realistic assessment of value - critical work

Washburn University Writing Center
This handout originated from the Purdue University Writing Lab. Modified by Roy Sheldon 13 Aug 1994.