Though not always necessary, outlines can help guide you in your writing. How? They act like a map of where you’ve been and where you need to go. An outline provides a skeleton upon which you can hang the meat of your essay. Consider it this way: without the skeleton, the paper won’t hold up but will be like a slug slithering on the ground. Which would you prefer your essay to be? A slug—or a roaring lion? We’re guessing you’d prefer your essay to be a roaring lion! That’s why we’re showing you how to create a descriptive essay outline.
What You Need
So what do you need to know to construct a solid descriptive essay outline? [See below for the basic outline of a 5 paragraph descriptive essay.] Not all essays need be five paragraphs—some can be longer. We’ll use the 5 paragraph outline because it gives an idea of how to lay out a successful paper. Following the outline, we’ll show you how to use the outline and apply it in your writing process.
A good way to prepare an outline is to create an idea map. An idea map starts with a central idea. Say you want to describe your favorite restaurant. In the center of your idea map, draw a circle and write the main purpose of your descriptive essay—describing your experience at a restaurant. Off of this main idea should branch multiple supporting ideas—such as what you see when you enter the restaurant, what you hear, where you sit, what you order, how it tastes, etc. Purdue OWL gives some brainstorming tips on how to create an idea map like the one below. Their example has GOALS as the main idea. Branching off of the main idea are the objectives the individual would like to achieve, and branching off of those objectives are the methods for how they can be met.
How the Idea Map Translates into an Outline
Once the idea map is created, you can easily proceed to constructing your own descriptive essay outline. The main idea in the center will be your thesis and will be stated in your opening paragraph. The supporting ideas will be your body paragraphs, each idea having a paragraph and each paragraph containing the supporting statements (the methods for how the individual goals will be met). Then all that is left is a concluding paragraph that summarizes the paper. Let’s look at how an idea map might be created for a descriptive essay about visiting your favorite restaurant.
An idea map need not look as neat as this one: you can sketch it out quickly on a loose leaf sheet of paper. The purpose is just to see your options in print. You can sketch down as many as come to you and just select the three or four best ones that you feel will really help you deliver the greatest details of your experience. Let’s look at the idea map above.
You can see that the main idea of the paper will be to describe going to a restaurant called Baba’s for lunch. The idea map shows that several points can be described in this essay: what’s on the menu, what the environment is like (music, people), and what you end up ordering. This is just an idea map—so it doesn’t have to be full of details. Those are what you will put into your paper when you write it. This is just to help you get started on structuring your outline, which we can now examine below. Let’s take a look!
Format & Example
I. Introduction: Opening Paragraph
A. Provide a Hook
1. It should grab the audience and hold their attention
2. It should also introduce the topic or be relevant to the subject you will describe
B. Give some Background
C. Close with a Thesis Statement
1. This should let the reader know what it is you will do in the paper
2. It should also tell them how you will do it
A. First Paragraph
1. The first body paragraph should introduce the first topic that you will describe—for example, if the subject of your essay is a restaurant, the first paragraph can be about what you see and hear when you walk in.
2. The paragraph should have a topic sentence that lets the reader know what you plan on describing in that paragraph.
3. The following sentences should all be related to the topic and should support it in some way with various descriptions.
i. Remember—if a sentence does not relate in some way to the main topic of the paragraph, cut it out.
ii. The paragraph should be at minimum three sentences long.
B. Second Paragraph
1. The second body paragraph should follow in the same manner as the first.
2. It should begin with a transition word or phrase, so that the reader can easily move from the first body paragraph to the second. You can find a good list of transition phrases here.
3. Because it is a new paragraph, it should cover a new topic—a different aspect of the subject you are describing. If we are using the example of the restaurant, you can describe the options available to you on the menu in this paragraph.
C. Third Paragraph
1. The third body paragraph will cover the last aspect of the subject that you want to describe.
2. Use another transition word or phrase to begin the paragraph and to introduce your topic sentence.
III. Conclusion: Closing Paragraph
A. Restate the main purpose of your essay.
B. Reiterate the main points of the paper.
C. Provide a closing statement that summarizes what you have described—in this case, your overall feelings towards the restaurant.
Now that we have our outline, let’s take a look at what we’ve constructed. So far this is set up to be a five-paragraph descriptive essay with an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph, and three body paragraphs giving supporting details. How do we take this outline and turn it into an essay? Easy. Follow it point by point and step by step.
Applying the Outline
First, begin to write your introduction. You already know your subject—going to a restaurant named Baba’s for lunch. All you need is a “hook” to get your reader interested. Think of how commercials hook viewers by using a snappy one-liner: you could write something like, “If you’re ever hungry and in the neighborhood of Oakley, there’s no better place to eat than Baba’s Indian Restaurant. Their aromatically-inviting, authentic Indian cuisine makes my mouth water just thinking about it.” This is a good example of a hook because it identifies the subject and uses vivid language to express several senses—taste, touch, smell, sight. Now all you need to do is follow this up with a statement of what you will do in your essay and how you will do it—something like: “In this essay, I will describe my experience going to Baba’s for lunch by showing what it’s like when you first enter the restaurant, what there is to eat, and what I always get to satisfy my hungry belly.”
With your introductory paragraph complete, you can move to the body. Here you just designate one paragraph to describing three aspects of going to Baba’s. In the first body paragraph, you will describe what you see and hear and smell when you enter into the restaurant. You finish this first paragraph up with a description of where you sit.
Your second body paragraph will tell about the options you have to choose from for lunch. You can describe the meals and what they taste like to give your reader a deeper sense of the experience. Finish this paragraph with a statement of what you settle upon for lunch.
Your third body paragraph will describe your food and how well you enjoy it. This paragraph can be used to really drive home the point that Baba’s is a savory place for dining. Use a lot of descriptive words that evoke each of the five senses.
To close out your essay, write your final paragraph—a conclusion that covers the main point of your essay and offers a summary of your experience. Come up with a creative way to send off your reader so that Baba’s is all they can think about. The more effective you are in convincing your reader that Baba’s is where they should eat next, the more your essay will be successful.
Once you’re finished, you can always go back and revise your essay. Give it a read-over and see what you can do to make it even more powerful and evocative. Be sure to use language that shows rather than tells—i.e., don’t just list information about the restaurant but express it in vivid terms that bring the place to life.
In conclusion, a descriptive essay outline is easy to draft and helps you focus your essay. You can use it as a way to gather your thoughts and guide you through the process of writing. The best way to get started is to create a quick and easy idea map. Draw the main points that you will focus on in your essay from this map and use it to develop your outline. Then all you have to do is follow your outline step by step!
Now that you have the outline figured out, make sure you check out our descriptive essay example to see the actual structure of the paper.
Latest APA Format (6th edition)
Latest MLA Format (8th edition)
Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and all that comes under thy observation in life.”
Every person faces various life situations when it is important to acquire information from a primary source to answer specific questions. Grab an observation essay example to see how experts arrange such information. Fact, observation, and inference are three words students should memorize. Writing a good observation essay makes a movie director out of the writer: he/she is focused on describing a particular experience using five senses:
Do you want your essay to make an imprint in the reader’s memory/leave an unforgettable impression? Buy custom academic papers online from one of the best writing companies in the US!
CATCH YOUR BEST GRADE
Observation Essay Example of Outline
Read our unique guideline to have an observation essay example of outline!
You should face the problem discussed in your paper at least once in your life. To create a powerful observation essay, the author has to be a topic guru: describe what you survived or what inspires you.
Example: you decide to cover the topic of how safe it is to fly on a plane. It is not enough to take statistics and say it is the safest type of transport in the world without being the passenger. A good writer must share personal experience in order to support this claim. Attend a new restaurant before writing a review. Watch the latest movie before criticizing it in your work.
The planned experience involves taking notes, so carry a blank sheet of paper or mobile phone everywhere to write a part of what you wish to share. Leave the details for your first observation essay draft. Describe the entire process: from entering the restaurant and making an order to accepting the bill from the waiter. Conclude your impressions in the paper’s draft. Select several criteria to put a specific grade: quality of service, a variety of food, the location of the table, etc.
Each time your personal opinion changes (e.g., you order a different dish), write down these modifications. Put the events in a chronological order not to get confused. Ask your friends about the same restaurant to have a fuller picture before concluding.
Do not forget to obtain rights reserved once you’re done so that no one steals your words.
Write an Outline
To have a proper, logical paper structure, it is important to come up with an outline. Every time you get stuck, have a look at your observation essay plan to arrange the thoughts. You may change your final draft, but you must stick to the prepared outline. If your teacher requires, make a separate page with a detailed outline.
Do not hesitate to contact professional writing services in case you have problems with writing an outline or any other page.
Try to provide the reading audience with the unique opportunity to familiarize them with the described event/experience. Write your thesis statement first. It will be the essay’s fundament; create a sound hook sentence to catch your reader’s eyes. Share some background information to let the readers know why you have chosen the specific observation essay topics. Example: you discuss the political elections campaign; tell several words about the candidates and the general mood of the event.
An observational essay has a body like any other type of academic assignment: research paper, article review, book report, etc. Teachers recommend developing a three-paragraph body with three powerful, supporting arguments. Arrange the notes according to your paper’s outline; add more details. Remember:
“Often it is tiny fragments which either make a picture convincing or incidental."
Prevent your last paragraph from being wordy. Write a summary of the main points (arguments), restate your thesis sentence, and finish your paper with a call-to-action or another technique applied to leave powerful impressions. You may end with a rhetorical action, for example. Do not forget about the paper’s last page! The last page of an observation essay must contain a full bibliography list (list of references) to stress the author respects works with all rights reserved.
Proofread & Edit!
Want someone to check your final essay page by page? Place an order with the experienced online writing service, which serves college students around the English-speaking world!
Once you are done with your observation essay, do not hurry to submit your paper - there are several factors to check on every page:
- Spelling & Punctuation
Check whether the paper’s formatting corresponds to the instructor’s requirements; scan the final draft to see if it is 100% unique.
GET ORIGINAL TOPIC IDEAS
15 Most Effective Observation Essay Topics
Impressive vocabulary & organization skills are two other features a student needs to write a good observation essay. The main goal is not to deliver a certain message, but share valuable experience with your audience. It is important to choose the topic carefully. Discover free, useful observation essay examples to grab several great ideas for your personal paper.
Here is the list of observation essay topics to choose from:
- Thoughts on body piercing and tattoo
- Is tolerance important?
- Which video game may result in death?
- Significance of freedom and independence
- Meaning of money in modern world
- Sports develop leadership
- How I met my favorite movie star
- Is it dangerous to fly on the planes?
- Which book is worth reading at any age?
- New restaurant next-door
- The perfect birthday/wedding gift
- How must the word “honesty” be defined in dictionaries?
- Music as a great healing therapy
- How I personally became successful after writing the first page of my short story
- The qualities of true leaders based on people I met in my life
Type the title of the essay you like in Google search field to find a good observation essay example to use in your work.
Get Several Good Observation Essay Writing Tips
- Stay concise on the personal impression. Remember: the main goal of your personal paper is to ensure the reader’s experience will be enriched with your impressions.
- Get a notebook or mobile phone writing app to jot down every detail regarding your personal experience. A written word is more powerful than the one said before.
- Do not overload your observation essay with too many words; try to avoid wordiness by ignoring transitional & introductory words (try to limit their usage). Structure your thesis statement clearly by selecting only the most important words on the chosen topic.
- Apply several examples related to your topic by describing several situations you faced during the entire life in details. It helps the readers to get a wider picture as well as share your personal experience.
- An observation essay has a lot of common features with the descriptive narrative; play with five human senses. Make sure every page of your paper makes the reader taste, hear, smell, see, and even touch your topic.
- No matter what place or subject you describe, try to remain objective in order to make the readers trust you.
- Do not forget to insert quotes from the reliable primary sources. Mention all works with rights reserved on the last page called Bibliography.
Remember: it is necessary to share lessons learned in order to highlight the importance of your selected topic. You can find excellent observation essay examples online. If you feel your observation essay lacks something, or you want a professional writer to proofread & edit your paper, feel free to order online academic assistance from one of the most credible companies.
Enrich your outlook by getting involved in something completely new. Share your personal experience in your own words!
In need of professional academic backing? – Look no further!