Intern’s Corner: Utilizing an Outline Tutorial

Example of an outline structure with color coding.This term I am doing an internship at Excelsior University and as luck would have it I report to the online writing lab department. To start off this term, I thought I would try one area of the OWL that would benefit me in my other class I am taking this year, which is a business class. Since I have not done an outline in a while, I thought I would look over the outline assistance tool on the OWL.

When to use an outline

Outlines can be used for just about anything, either for reading a chapter in a text to preparing for a research project.

  • An outline is a great way to start your prewriting, focus and organize your ideas, as well as help you critically think about the topic.
  • Outlines help you improve your reading comprehension by having you break down the ideas into smaller, more specific chunks, and focus on the important details.

Examples of an Outline

The beauty of this template is that it covers a lot of detail in a small space. While on the outline tutorial page, you can find tabs underneath the video presentation which allows you to read through what was presented if you need further help understand how to generate an outline. There is also a handout tab where OWL has provided detailed instructions as to best practice for generating an outline, as well as an example, as I have provided for further understanding. I printed all of these out for future reference. Here is an example of what the outlines look like:

Example of outline for a chapter in a textbook.


*The title is general, but as you go further you get more details.




Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2017). Organizational behavior (2nd ed.). Asheville, NC: Soomo Learning. Available from


Ginger Hamblin is an intern for the Excelsior University Online Writing Lab. She has been a student of Excelsior University for almost two years and is pursuing her Bachelor of Science – Liberal Arts in Professional and Technical Writing. She is a writing enthusiast, painter, wife, and mother of three boys.