Introduction to Outlining
Students who don’t understand the benefits of outlining are inclined to skip the prewriting process, thinking it will save them time. Yet for most, this backfires. Students get mid-way through their essays and wonder, “What else do I have to say?” or “What was my main point?” and “Why doesn’t my essay make sense?”
Outlining answers these questions before students invest time in writing a complete essay. Dennis G. Jerz, an associate professor of English at Steton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, makes a great comparison of two students who begin writing with and without outlines in his blog post titled, “Outlines: How They Can Improve Your Writing.” He says that outlines can help students write “better work, in less time.” He argues that there’s little to lose by creating an outline. You can jump around with ideas, make multiple attempts, backtrack and explore the essay without investing too much time in a finished product.