Creating an Outline
There are several different methods for creating an outline for a paper. An outline allows you to organize your material so as to present a logical sequence or flow of ideas and to provide the strongest support for your thesis statement.

No outline can be created without deciding what the thesis statement will be. The thesis statement is the conclusion to your research and topic in question. Once you have a thesis statement, you can begin your outline.

An outline can sometimes be created by putting the thesis statement in front of you and then brainstorming all the reasons why this statement is true or valid. Remember that you are usually defending, validating or supporting your argument. Simply asking yourself "why is this thesis valid" and then jotting down all the possible reasons the thesis may be defensible can give you a good start on a informal outline.  Once you have completed an informal outline you may easily create an extensive formal outline.

Informal Outline:

State your title, purpose, and thesis statement at the top of your outline.

Title: Advertisement that Kills

Purpose: Informative: to explain the effects of tobacco advertising campaigns

Thesis Statement: Tobacco companies have been deliberately targeting teens with advertising campaigns which are designed to entice them to smoke.

          Brainstorming list: Note the items are not yet in logical order

Revised Brainstorming List in Logical Order

Reason 1 Through research tobacco companies have learned that the earlier a smoker starts the longer he is likely to smoke.
Reason 2 This research alerted tobacco companies that they needed to target younger consumers.
Reason 3 Tobacco companies created some cigarette products to appeal to teens by creating new brands that by name or chemical content of the tobacco would appeal to adolescents.
Reason 4 Tobacco companies created advertising campaigns to appeal to teenagers.
Reason 5 Tobacco companies created advertising characters to appeal to teenagers.
Reason 6 They have offered a lot of promotional freebies that would appeal to teens like T-shirts and jackets to persuade adolescents to smoke.

List the three parts of your essay- introduction, body, and conclusion.

Informal Outline Format:

      1. Introduction
      2. Body
           A. Supportive body
               3. Conclusion

Select those ideas from your brainstorming list and lateral maps that are essential to your thesis; these will form the body of your essay.

After you have begun to get your "why is my thesis is valid" reasons in some sort of logical order, you can then begin to start formalizing your outline.
Formal Outline

When writing a formal outline, follow these rules:

1.    Include the title, a statement of purpose, and the thesis statement in a separate dominant section.
2.    Write in complete sentences unless your meaning is immediately clear from the phrase.
3.    Divide each category into at least two subcategorizes.
4.    Observe the formal outline pattern. Notice how each new level of specificity is given a new designation under the root and central idea (thesis statement)

Start assigning roman numerals to major sections.
After assigning roman numerals to major sections which are the major reasons why your thesis is valid,  you must begin to develop each section as though it were a separate argument paper using the capital letters for the paragraphs in each section and the Arabic numerals to explain what details will  be used in each paragraph.

Tip: When typing an outline using roman numerals, be sure that the periods after the roman numerals line up because the number of spaces to type different roman numeral characters varies.
Formal Outline Format:

           (Introduce the issue or problem in research paper and state the thesis statement.)
               A. Use capital letter headings to explain what points you will cover in your introductory section.

          II. (Use the roman numerals in your research outline to represent the major reasons why--section statement--the thesis is valid.)
                    A. (Use the capital letters in the outline to state what you will do in each paragraph to support the section statements.)




                                                                                      VIII. (Conclusion)
Conclusion: restate section statements
                      show how the section statements prove the thesis is logical.
                      restate the thesis in the conclusion.
                      do not introduce new materials in your conclusion.

Tip: Develop a master outline format file that can be copied for use with each essay. Use the master file as a template, assuring correct outline form while using a word processor to easily revise your outline during the writing process.