An outline is a good way to ensure that you know what you will write about before you begin writing. Instructors often require an outline of an essay before you turn in a completed draft, and you can choose from many different types of outlines. With various style guides available, you may be confused as to whether your American Psychological Association-style outline requires a thesis.
Outlines and Theses
For your APA outline, you do not need a thesis, as the APA style guide does not require one, nor does it offer guidelines for formatting the outline itself.
Despite this, your instructor may have specific requirements, and a thesis may be one of them. Check with your instructor concerning specific requirements, as a thesis is typically required for an outline. This is because your paper will contain evidence intended to support what you are arguing, which is your thesis statement. An outline that does not have a thesis statement has no specific context for what you are arguing.
Typically, your outline should include a thesis, supporting information for your thesis and a breakdown of the paper into specific paragraphs.
Dr. Chris Snellgrove is a writing specialist, and a veteran of everything from a book-length dissertation to a newspaper editor's desk. He has produced work for academic, business, creative, and non-profit endeavors.