The tentative outline should be written while the student is doing research, and it should include sections for each key item that will be discussed in the paper, with ideas on each item placed below. As students perform more research, they should fill in details to remind themselves what they have already found out and what needs to be researched further.
A tentative outline may use Roman numerals for each main topic of research and then use capital letters for subtopics. Under each subtopic, the student may write down main points of discussion that will be covered in the paper. For example, if a student were writing an essay about the cons of something, the student may use Roman numeral sections to focus on groups of cons, use capital letters for specific cons under each group and then use Imperial numerals for supporting facts for each specific con.