Brainstorming: Outlining

It’s pretty safe to say that you have heard of, and used the outlining brainstorming technique. Unlike many other methods, outlining isn’t limited to brainstorming. It can be used for note-taking, shopping lists, to-do lists, and any other use you may desire. Outlining provides a structured way to develop, record and organize your ideas.

The term outline has been around for around 350 years, but it’s fair to say that people have been using it for a lot longer, and for a good reason. An outline presents all the major details of an idea, in a hierarchical manner. These can be moved around, and placed in any sort of order the writer desires. It is a workflow that many are used to, as it uses a linear process.

The uses of an outline are as varied as the leaves in a tree. From a brainstorming standpoint, a student might use one for planning essays, forming a hierarchy of information, organizing that information using a range of methods, such as chronologically and alphabetically. The outlining tool is best used when connecting ideas and forming associative relationships between notes isn’t necessary.

Outlines have a few advantages over the competitions. They are generally more organized and structured than others, because of the linear relationships between ideas. They can also be as simple, or as detailed as you require. And the beauty of outlining, you don’t really need to know what they are, as they are so embroiled in society’s mindset.

Normally, I’d give you some offline tools, but I’ve found that these hardly match the features of products found on the internet. They also have the advantage of being available wherever there is an internet connection. I personally use WorkFlowy, but there are plenty of other options.

  • CheckVist
  • KnowCase
  • LooseStitch
  • Thinklinkr
  • WorkFlowy

You could also use your choice of note-taking software/ text editor/ paper and pen.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments. Don’t be shy!


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About Katie Walker

Hey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.

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  1. Brainstorming: Charts and Diagrams « Awesome Study - February 7, 2011

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