Examples Of Essay Outlines In Apa Format

OUTLINE

What is an outline?

An outline is meant to help you establish a structure for a paper you are going to write. It is a way for you to demonstrate the main argument (thesis), main points (topic sentences), and main pieces of evidence you are going to present in a paper before actually writing the paper.

Additionally, one of the essential purposes of an outline is to clearly convey the connection between the thesis and each of the topic sentences.

Outline Structure

  1. Introduction
    1. Thesis: A statement of position and overview of points of argumentation go here.
  2. Body Paragraph 1: Topic sentence goes here.
    1. Supporting evidence: A paraphrase or quote from one of your sources goes here, along with an in-text citation (to learn how to properly construct in-text citations, please see the following link: https://awc.ashford.edu/cd-in-text-citation-guide.html).
      1. Explanation of the meaning of the supporting evidence.
      2. So what? A direct statement on how the supporting evidence does in fact support the claim made in the topic sentence.
  3. Body Paragraph 2: Topic sentence goes here.
    1. Supporting evidence
      1. Explanation
      2. So what?
    2. Supporting evidence
      1. Explanation
      2. So what?
  4. Body Paragraph 3: Topic sentence goes here.
    1. Supporting evidence
      1. Explanation
      2. So what?

Sample Outline: Argumentative Paper on Obesity and Government Intervention

  1. Introduction
    1. Thesis: An individual’s weight should be a governmental concern because the medical costs associated with weight-related issues cost taxpayer money, retailers of unhealthy food need to be regulated, and children need to have better options for diet and exercise made available to them.
  2. Body Paragraph 1: The medical cost associated with weight-related issues has significantly contributed to individual taxes.
    1. Supporting evidence: “…the costs of obesity arising from individuals’ poor nutritional choices are borne by society as a whole through taxes, lost productivity, and an overburdened healthcare system. In 2008, the medical costs associated with obesity and obesity-related illnesses totaled US $147 billion in the United States” (Franck, Grandi, & Eisenberg, 2013, p. 1951).
      1. Explanation: This quote demonstrates not only the connection between obesity, medical costs, and increased taxes, but also shows the exact dollar number costs from a fairly recent year.
      2. So what? This quote supports the claim that weight-related medical issues contribute to increased taxes for all taxpayers by explaining the connection and demonstrating the high dollar costs to show that this is a current problem affecting a government process (taxation) and therefore could appropriately be addressed by government intervention.
  3. Body Paragraph 2: Another reason that weight should be considered a governmental issue is that the market for unhealthy food in America has overtaken the general food market and the government needs to actively curb the incentives to frequent these establishments.
    1. Supporting Evidence: “[M]eals are increasingly being consumed outside the home, and these meals tend to be higher in fat. A literal fat tax… theoretically would encourage individuals to opt for low-fat or nonfat alternatives” (Franck et al., 2013, p. 1950).
      1. Explanation: This quote alludes to many of the main problems with fast food consumption and explains what a fat tax would attempt to do to curb the consumption of junk food.
      2. So what? Showing that a fat tax would be able to curb overconsumption of obesity-causing fast food demonstrates the need for the government to impose such a thing.
  4. Body Paragraph 3: Finally, the government is responsible for ensuring that children have access to healthy food and exercise while in school.
    1. Supporting Evidence: A connection between Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and a reduction in overall childhood obesity across America has been demonstrated (Tucker, 2013, p. 1).
      1. Explanation: This information shows the effectiveness of government-backed programs, with “Let’s Move!” as the specific example.
      2. So what? Demonstrating the effectiveness of “Let’s Move!” campaign supports the concept of government involvement in school food and exercise initiatives to help curb childhood obesity and provide children with the foundation for establishing healthy habits.

References

Franck, C., Grandi, S., & Eisenberg, M. (2013). Taxing Junk Food to Counter Obesity. American Journal of Public Health. 103.11, DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301279

Tucker, C. (2013). Q&A with first lady Michelle Obama: How the Let’s Move! Campaign is changing the way kids eat, move. Nation’s Health. 43.9. Retrieved from nationshealth.com

The guidelines from the American Psychological Association or APA are used for writing papers and doing assignments in the social sciences. They have guidelines for research papers, from the initial title page to the final works cited page. The APA even provides format examples for outlines to be prepared before the paper is written.

Understanding the APA Outline Format

When you look at the basic APA outline format example in this article, you will see that Roman numerals are used for the main headings in your outline, and capital letters are used for the sub-headings. Inside the sub-headings you use Arab numerals and lower case letters, in that order followed by Arab numerals in parenthesis.

The full sentence outline is set up the same way, but with full sentences on each level of the outline.

A less common form is the decimal outline, and your professor will tell you which kind of outline to use.

The best way to gain an understanding of the APA outline format is to look at examples. Following are three APA outline format examples. To save space in the examples, only the first section of the outline will show the proper spacing.

The College Application Process (Basic APA format)

I. Choose Desired Colleges

     A. Visit and evaluate college campuses

     B. Visit and evaluate college websites

          1. look for interesting classes

          2. note important statistics

               a. student/faculty ratio

               b. retention rate

II. Prepare Application

     A. Write Personal Statement

          1. Choose interesting topic

               a. describe an influential person in your life

                    (1) favorite high school teacher

                    (2) grandparent

          2. Include important personal details

               a. volunteer work

               b. participation in varsity sports

     B. Revise personal statement

III. Compile resume

     A. List relevant coursework

     B. List work experience

     C. List volunteer experience

          1. tutor at foreign language summer camp

          2. counselor for suicide prevention hotline  

Full Sentence Outline Format

I. Man-made pollution is the primary cause of global warming.

     A. Greenhouse gas emissions are widely identified by the scientific

         community to be harmful.

          1. The burning of coal and fossil fuels are the primary releasers of

              hazardous greenhouse gases.  

(Full sentence outlines are often accompanied with an APA reference list on a separate page. Quotes within the outline must also utilize APA in-text citations.)  

Decimal Outline Format

1.0 Choose Desired College

     1.1 Visit and evaluate college campuses

     1.2 Visit and evaluate college websites

          1.2.1 Look for interesting classes

          1.2.2 Note important statistics

Tips on Creating an Outline

A well-written outline is a valuable tool in presenting a well-written research paper. The outline is the first step in creating the structure for what will be said in the paper as well as how it will be said.

Here are a few tips:

  • Use parallelism - Parallelism refers to the structure between headings and sub-headings. The structure needs to remain consistent throughout all the headings and sub-headings. For example, this means if you start each heading with a verb, then all your headings and subheadings should start with a verb.
Example: "Choose Desired Colleges" and "Prepare Application" "Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs. However, it is preferable in an outline to use the present tense of the verb.
Example: "Visit and evaluate college campuses" and "Visit and evaluate college websites"
Example: "1. Note important statistics" and "2. Look for interesting classes"
  • Use coordination - Coordination is important between headings. In other words, all the headings should have the same amount of significance or importance. The rule applies to sub-headings as well, but their information will be less significant than the headings.
Example:
I. Choose Desired Colleges
   A. Visit and evaluate college campuses
   B. Visit and evaluate college websites
      1. look for interesting classes
      2. note important statistics
(College campuses and college websites are equally important.)  
  • Use subordination - Subordination is the relationship between the headings and the sub-headings.  Information in headings is general in nature, and the information contained in the sub-headings should be more specific, and so on to the other levels.
Example:
A. Describe an influential person in your life
     1. Favorite high school teacher
     2. Grandparent
(The category of influential people in your life is general, and a favorite teacher and grandparent are specific.)  
  • Use division - Division should be accomplished in this manner. Each heading needs to have at least two parts. It can have more, but if you have too many, then you may need to put in another heading or sub-heading or combine some of the divisions. 
Example:
A. Compile resume
     1. List relevant coursework
     2. List work experience
     3. List volunteer experience
(The heading "Compile resume" is divided into 3 parts.)

An outline is usually required when writing a paper for a college course. Be sure and ask your professor for the required format for your particular course.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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APA Outline Format Examples

By YourDictionary

The guidelines from the American Psychological Association or APA are used for writing papers and doing assignments in the social sciences. They have guidelines for research papers, from the initial title page to the final works cited page. The APA even provides format examples for outlines to be prepared before the paper is written.
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