Distinguish Between Topic Outline and Sentence Outline
Under the headings, further ideas are marked with a letter. Ideas beneath the letter are marked with a number, and sub-ideas of those ideas are marked with a lower-case letter. Most outlines move from the general to the specific in each section. The outline should begin with an introduction that lays out the general ideas of the paper and includes a thesis, and then move on to points that support the overarching thesis. Each section should also move from the general to the specific. The heading of each section of the outline should be a general idea in support of the thesis. Under that main idea is supporting information—specific evidence about your subject that bolsters the idea.
You are probably already familiar with this structure. Look at a syllabus from one of your courses. It is probably the equivalent of a topic outline, with topics listed for each unit, and readings and assignments under each. After each heading in a topic outline for an essay, a maximum of several words is used to identify the topic or idea that will be discussed under the given heading. In a sentence outline, the thesis and topic sentence of each supporting paragraph are fully written out. The sentence outline forces part of the essay to be written out in sentences before the first draft.