How Do You Write an Annotated Outline?

write-annotated-outline Credit: Abdulla Al Muhairi/CC-BY 2.0

To write an annotated outline, pinpoint the main topics of the essay or research report, then create numbered or bullet points of the main topics in the preferred order. Next, select supporting arguments or ideas to support each main point, listing these ideas indented below the main ideas.

  1. Select the main points of the essay

    Determine the primary points, arguments or information that relate to the topic and tie these to the thesis statement. For example, if writing an argumentative essay in favor of abolishing the death penalty, gather research that supports your position and brainstorm arguments supporting why the death penalty is unjust or inhumane.

  2. Create Roman numeral headings

    Take the main points you have chosen and create Roman numerals to indicate the preferred order they will be addressed in the essay. For example, if writing about abolishing the death penalty, list Roman numeral I as an overview of how convicted individuals are killed in line with the policies of the death penalty, Roman numeral II may outline the first supporting argument against the death penalty. The remaining Roman numerals may outline additional supporting arguments, research, the information about the opposing view and a rebuttal to this view, as well as a conclusion.

  3. Write subheadings

    Annotate more information within the outline by adding more information under each Roman numeral heading. For example, scenarios, facts or examples of death penalty sentences can be noted with lettered subheads.