Art of Craftsmanship

Academic writing tips and guidelines

How to Find a Sample Essay Outline

1.  Open the search engine for whatever operating system or browser that is being used (i.e., google, bing, yahoo, etc.) and type in the words “sample outline” or “sample essay outline.” 
2.  Your search will usually bring up a list of academic websites, and/or links to articles that will provide you with sample pages of outlines.  It is a good idea to look at more than one of these pages.
3.   After reviewing your options you should have a general idea of what you are looking for and should be able to choose the outline example that is easiest for you to understand.  If you are having trouble finding exactly what you are looking for, try different search engines to compare which ones show results closest to what you want to find.
4.  Begin your search by typing a specific sort of outline sample in your search engine. 

  • Looking for a “sample essay outline” will give you results for the general, most commonly used type of outline for essay. 
  • If you were to type in “thesis outline sample” or “scientific outline sample”, your results would give you links to web pages with examples of outlines based upon the topic or document type specified. 

5.  Keep in mind what style of outlining you are looking for to further narrow your results.

  • You could be searching for the general topic outline or the sentence outline, both of which usually follow the alphanumeric style of organization using letters and numbers (A.,1.)
  • Some outlines use the decimal style of organizing topics using decimal numbers (1.2,1.3). 
  • You could look for an example of a bare outline, in which there are no organization prefixes for your headings, only a general outline list. 

6.  Whether you are looking for a general example or a specific one, don’t just use the first page you come across.

  • To create a good outline of your own, you should have a good outline sample to follow. 

7.  If you happen to find an outline example that matches your subject matter exactly, do not copy that outline word for word.

  • In the event where you might be required to submit your outline, copying a sample outline you found online is plagiarism,  and violates academic copyright standards.

8.  Finally, stay away from outline styles that look confusing to you.  We make outlines to organize things, so creating an outline with a style that doesn’t necessarily make sense to you, would defeat its’ general purpose.