Why Make An Outline?
While an outline is a great way to streamline writing your draft, its main purpose is really to help you find an ideal structure for the paper before you start begin writing. Unless you’ve been specifically instructed to organize the material a certain way, there are tons of options for organizing any paper — not all of them equal in their effectiveness at conveying the message.
Because of this, you have to apply yourself just as much when creating an outline as you do when writing the draft. You’re not just collecting the main points of discussion and laying them out, after all. Instead, you’re also testing how they flow in sequence.
What should you aim for in your organization? The same things you aim for when writing an effective and informative paper. You want a structure where the different points are logically arranged, such that each one’s introduction doesn’t feel out of place. You want one that strengthens the main argument by constant progress, rather than diluting or stalling it. You want a structure that will make sense to the reader, so that they can follow the continuity of your discussion without ever being lost.
Make sure your main thesis dictates how the outline is arranged. Your paper should be organized in order to best serve the thesis. From the outline, you can also begin eliminating and adding various elements, depending on how well they flow with the rest of the paper.