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MLA and APA Styles for Writing an Essay Outline

MLA and APA Styles for Writing an Essay Outline

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Outlining is a method of arrangement that is utilized by authors of all types of literature. Before beginning the writing process, writers can use the common organizational approach to gather all of their research and ideas in one location. Understanding the basics of a college essay outline might help you organize your thoughts and receive good comments from your professor. Learn how to write an outline by reading this guide.

What Is the Purpose of an Outline?

When it comes to creating academic papers, scholarly articles, helpful guides, novels, and encyclopedias, an essay outline is one of the most used planning strategies. Introduction, Body, and Conclusion are the headers in a typical paper outline. To aid the writing process, each source is sorted by relevancy. When it comes to outlining, there are several different forms to choose from, although MLA and APA are the most used.

The organizational method is the same whether you’re producing an MLA or APA outline, with a few small changes. The key distinction is that APA employs abstracts because one or two phrases per line are required. MLA is more commonly used in social studies, while APA is more commonly used in humanities. Aside from that, the basic outline for any type of academic paper structure remains the same.

What Is an Outline and How Do I Make One?

Five paragraphs is the most frequent length for a college essay. As a result, one easy approach to recall the overall framework of a writing plan is to see it as a five-paragraph essay outline in which students compose an Introduction, Thesis, Body, and Conclusion. Then, within the fundamental form, fit a total of 5 paragraphs. Planning can be done in the same way, however instead of paragraphs, notes are used. The same strategy may be used to write an argumentative essay outline or any other type of paper format in college and beyond.

The Essentials of Outlining

Research and Notes: Before beginning the writing process, it is critical to locate and record reputable sources. To discover reliable references for an academic work, check credible websites as well as academic search engines such as Google Scholar or Oxford Academic.
Prioritize Your Thesis: Because the thesis statement serves as a synopsis of the entire paper, begin with it before moving on to the other sections of the outline. The thesis can assist you in the planning and drafting of your paper.

Make a list of your ideas: In the Thesis and Body sections, put down all of the essential elements from your found sources, assuming you’ve already laid down the fundamental headers of an overview.

All references are included in the body section for cause and effect, AP English examinations, SAT essays, entrance essays, and other formal writing styles. With the exception of reflection and analytical articles, where a citation in the initial paragraph is permissible.

The introduction is usually the first line of the paper in most academic formats. As a result, something interesting must be planned within the outline. As previously stated, certain writing genres, such as a reflection essay or an analytical paper, permit the use of citation as an opening.
Conclusion: In the final paragraph, summarize the entire paper by restating the thesis in the first line and adding suggestions, forecasts, and/or opinions in the following sentences. The last line should summarize the purpose of the paper.

Outline Format in General

Page 1 of 2

Professor’s Name: Class: Student Name: Professor’s Name: Professor’s Name: Professor’s Name: Professor’s Name: Professor (Optional)


The first paragraph.


A brief summary of the entire paper.
Connect the sentence to the first paragraph of the body.

1st Body Paragraph

Justification (Related to the Thesis).
Link the second body paragraph to the previous sentence.

2nd paragraph of the body

Justification (Related to the Thesis).
Connect a sentence to the third paragraph of the body.

3rd Body Paragraph

Justification (Related to the Thesis).
Make a connection between the sentence and the conclusion.


The entire paper is summarized in this document.
A Conclusive Sentence is a sentence that ends with a comma.


Examples of footnotes or bibliography outlines

We understand how tough it can be to tell the difference between an MLA and an APA outline. Both strategies are based on different referencing styles. Abstracts are used in APA outlining, while sentence citations are used in MLA. A title page is not required in an MLA outline. Include it in the outline because the APA referencing style necessitates it. To obtain a better sense, check at the example outline below.

Example of an MLA Outline I.


Stonehenge is a massive centre for ancient history, as stated in the first sentence.
Sentence that connects to the thesis: It is one of the UK’s oldest structures, at 13 feet tall.

Thesis No. 2:

The document outlines the construction of Stonehenge as well as its function.
Stonehenge was created in 3001 BC, according to the first argument/claim.
Second Argument/Claim: Stonehenge is well-known as a religious site.
Third Claim/Argument: Other Stonehenge-like monuments can be found throughout Europe.

1st paragraph of the body:

According to investigations, the circulation ditch around Stonehenge was built about the year 3000BC.
Explanation/Claim: Pagans got together near the end of the stone age and built the first segment of what is now known as stone-henge.
Link Sentence: This raises the issue of faith.

Paragraph 2 of the body:

Most people believed that ancient Britons put the stones for the sole purpose of religious practice during the late Tudor era.
Explanation/Claim: From the late second millennium AD to the present day, the practice of Paganism has been used to explain why stone-henge was created.
Link Sentence: New evidence about the unusual structure emerges.

V. Paragraph 3 of the body:

Stonehenge-like stones first appeared around 1100 BC.
Explanation/Claim: Migrants are thought to have built the building.
Sentence with a link:

Sixth and final point:

Summary of the Paper: In general, ancient stones have piqued people’s interest in science and assumptions throughout history.
Finally, no one knows for sure how they were constructed.

References: VII.

“Stonehenge’s History” is a book about the history of Stonehenge. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/history/
“What Was the Purpose of Stonehenge?”
“7 Ancient Megaliths You’ve Never Seen: Stonehenge Isn’t Alone.”

Example of an APA Outline
Title Page in APA Format

The Risks of Using Cell Phones is a book about the dangers of using cell phones.
Jake Smith is the student’s name.
Dr. Stephen Miller is the professor’s name.
(Optional) Class: Class of 2019


Introduction Sentence: Mobile phones have had a disastrous impact on our daily lives.
Sentence that connects to the thesis: The usage of mobile technology in everyday life has gotten out of hand.


The report discusses the common hazards and negative consequences of cell phone usage on humans. The ordeal can be life-threatening or just lacking in terms of social interaction.
The first point is that excessive cell phone use is harmful to one’s health.
Second Argument: The use of cell phones has a negative impact on human contact.
Third, texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving.

Health Risks Associated with Cell Phones (paragraph 1)

“Radiofrequency (RF) radiation is used by mobile phones to communicate with base stations. When RF radiation is strong enough, it has a “thermal” effect, meaning it elevates body temperature. Low amounts of RF radiation emitted by mobile phones have been linked to health issues such as migraines and brain tumors.” (“Your health and mobile phones”)

Explanation/Claim: After a lengthy period of use, phone radiation contains carcinogenic components. To put it another way, long-term cell phone use can put a person at risk for terminal illness or worse. Because cell phones have only been around for a short time, there is currently a dearth of evidence to back up this assertion.

Which takes us to the topic of how cell phones are ruining human interaction.

Body Paragraph 2: How Cell Phones Are Ruining Human Communication

Evidence/Reference: “Sherry Turkle claims that using a cell phone in a social setting degrades the quality of human discourse. According to Turkle, it causes people to be less open and honest in discussion. It also makes people less empathic, she claims. She gives a school of youngsters as an example, claiming that the students “do not appear to be able to understand or empathize with one another.” (“Cell Phones and Human Interaction,” for example.)

Explanation/Claim: Human communication has become obsolete as a result of the widespread use of mobile phones. Due to their addiction to cell phones, families go out to restaurants, cafes, and parks without engaging with one another. Due to the lack of engagement that may have occurred during this time period, humans now exhibit considerably less empathy than they had 15 years ago. This is particularly evident in schoolchildren who were born into this lifestyle.
Apart from that, using a cell phone while driving poses a serious hazard to one’s life.

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Using a Cell Phone While Driving (paragraph 3)

“Motorists who use their mobile phone to send text messages (…) the research found, with steering control by texters 91 percent worse than that of drivers dedicating their whole concentration to the road,” according to the evidence/reference. (“Drink-driving is more risky than texting while driving.”)
Explanation/Claim: Using a mobile device while driving a car has a greater impact than drinking and driving. More people have died as a result of texting while driving than have died as a result of drinking and driving.

Sentence that connects to the conclusion: Humans have become entirely reliant on mobile phones, to the point that they are causing risky driving, health hazards, and a lack of social interaction.


Restate the thesis in a summary of the entire paper.
Conclusive Sentence: The continued excessive use of mobile phones is becoming a huge threat to humanity in every way.


“Your Health and Cell Phones”
“Human Interaction and Cell Phones.”
“Texting While Driving Is More Dangerous Than Drinking and Driving,” according to the study.





Regardless of writing style, the basic essay format provides assistance to any author in a variety of ways. By having all of the thoughts and references on a writing plan, folks writing their everyday college paper or dissertation can greatly benefit from knowing the overall plan of an essay. A persuasive essay outline, for example, does not differ from a research paper outline. By streamlining the entire writing process, knowing the fundamental outline format can make composing academic papers much easier.

Statement of the Thesis

Another trick is to avoid using any tricks at all. Simply begin with your most important point. You won’t be able to say much in a few sentences, and you won’t have to. You can, however, outline what you’ll say in your essay and why it’s significant.

Example Hook: “I am convinced that our individual contributions are the most significant factor in preventing pollution in nature, and I would like to share my experience with you.”

Despite the fact that this tutorial is not brief, we are confident that it will assist you in writing short and effective hooks for your essays. Try it, and you’ll be able to appreciate this approach in no time.

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