Form of a Sentence Outline

Abstract: The abstract contains a few, carefully written sentences summarizing the major points in the paper. Numbered sentences summarize the major point of each paragraph in the paper.

  1. Each sentence must be a sentence -- that is, it has a subject ("each sentence"), a verb ("must be"), and a complement ("a sentence").
  2. The sentence should be as specific as possible so that the main points/features of the paragraph are clear.
  3. Each sentence is the "topic sentence" of the paragraph and usually appears as the first sentence of the paragraph.
  4. If one numbered item contains two sentences, make sure you are not squeezing two paragraphs into one. For a paper of n double-spaced pages, there should be 2 n to 3 n paragraphs.
  5. The sentences organize coherent arguments toward paper's conclusions.
  6. An introductory paragraph sets the paper in context; in this paragraph the topic sentence can be at the end.
  7. Generally, the next paragraph presents the principal results or conclusions to be defended in the text of the paper.
  8. The final paragraph deftly summarizes results in the paper.
  9. At the end list the most important references you will use. These references can be cited at relevant sentences in the outline.