How To Write An Argumentative Essay Outline: 5 Golden Rules When you are tasked with writing an argumentative essay an outline can be a wonderful way for you to organize your thoughts and the research. The first step in writing outline is to plan. When you are writing your outline you need to know what your topic is. Whether you are writing informative piece, or something that is research-based, you need to make sure that you have a general focus known as your thesis. This will help you to keep all of your thoughts on track. At this moment it is perfectly acceptable for you to have a broad topic rather than a completely narrow down thesis statement. If you just starting out you can look at French life during the second world war without having to narrow your topic straight away to the attitudes of the French people toward the resistance fighters during the second world war You can make your outline follow the structure of important events or the structure of a novel. You have to determine the bigger purpose for your piece. You need to know what the end goal of your topic will be so you can better structure your paper in a logical fashion. You need to go beyond summarizing and make sure that you have ample research to support each idea that you were going to present in the body of your paper. Having outlined will make sure that you can literally see which paragraphs have sufficient supporting evidence in which paragraph do not. Those which lacks supporting evidence may need to be expounded upon. You might see that one body paragraph has significantly more evidence compared to others. You might see that one side of your argument has a great deal of support but the other side does not. It is for this reason and many others that you are to write an outline ahead of time. Now you have to pick which outline you want to use. Topic outlines are often short and use general phrases. These are very flexible. But you might prefer having a coherent outline with complete sentences which address all of the complexities involved in your paper in detail. Figure out which structure you want and which flexibility you want. There's really no difference between the two save for the fact that a complete outline will contain sentences that you can literally copy and paste into your final paper.