What is an essay outline?

An essay outline provides the framework in which research and writing can be organized and presented in an appropriate fashion. Many students were likely first introduced to the basic essay outline process early on when teachers explained how to use Roman numerals to organize their written work, but college-level work requires a more thoughtful approach. Although it is possible to write an essay from start to finish without an outline, the process is significantly facilitated when students develop an outline from the outset that can guide their efforts.  Moreover, an essay outline helps students remain focused on what is needed to achieve their research goals and avoid wandering off on potentially interesting but irrelevant tangents. There are some valuable resources online that can help students develop an appropriate essay outline, including video presentations and text-based guidance. Finally, to ensure they are on-point, students should ensure that the essay outline conforms to the assignment guidelines and the sections of the outline flow logically.