The Basic Structure of a Table

Lesson Details:
July 10, 2020


I: Introduction

II: Body

A: The basic structure of a table

III: Conclusion

In this case, the outline is not very different from a traditional outline for an article. It shows the same level of detail, and it is easy to follow. In this case, the outline covers the aspects that you would expect in a traditional outline: an introduction, a main section, and a conclusion. The points in each section flow naturally into each other. This is because the outline is built around the topic (and not around rigid sections).

To take another example:

I: Introduction

II: Body - I: HTML

A: The tag

B: The tag

C: The tag


- II: CSS

A: The body (background) color (color)

B: Fonts (font)

C: Content container (div)


- III: JavaScript

A: Colors change (document.getElementById)


III: Conclusion

In this outline, we see that we have one large section called “Body,” and then we have subsections within that section. Each subsection represents one concept or subject. We can see there are three main sections here: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Within each of those sections, we have subsections. This outlines puts more emphasis on topics than on sections. If you were to implement this outline in an actual article, you would probably not start with an introduction paragraph, but rather with a summary of your three main concepts. Then you would dive right into the first concept. You could perhaps make the argument that this is not an outline at all, but in fact a design pattern for an article. And in fact, it is. But it is still an outline because you can clearly see the outline when you look at it.

The difference between the two examples above is that in the latter case, the information has been divided into subsections that are related to each other. This allows you to create a clear path through the information that makes sense to people reading it. This allows you to connect related information together in a logical way. This also allows you to create a natural flow for your writing. This is ideal if you are writing for an audience who will read your work, since most people will be able to follow along without getting lost or confused about what you are saying. This is how you want to organize your topic when you are writing for anyone other than yourself.


Outline Structure


Before we continue, let's pause for just a second to think about what has happened so far. We have decided what our topic is, and we have created an outline for that topic. We are ready to write now, but there is one more thing we must do before we begin writing our article. We need to think about how we want to organize our outline. Here are some of the most common organizational structures for outlines:


Chronological


This approach will show your arguments in chronological order. It works best for articles on scientific discoveries or scientific experiments or scientific studies of any kind where time is an important factor in the argument. It also works well for historical events like wars or famous battles. An example of an article on history might be something like this: “The American Revolution was fought primarily on land, unlike the Vietnam War, which was fought primarily on water.”


Causal


This approach shows cause and effect relationships between different elements of your topic. Causal organization is used particularly well in science articles, especially when discussing processes or reactions or generalizations of some kind. A science article might look something like this: “As metals react with oxygen, they get harder until there is no more oxygen left in the air for them to react with.”


Problem/Solution


This approach puts forth problems and solutions to those problems in chronological order. It works well for articles describing problems and offering solutions to them. It would be used primarily in political or social sciences articles. An example might be an argument that says “the current system of free trade agreements has been problematic for developing countries because they have been unable to compete with large companies from industrialized nations who use their economies of scale advantage to manipulate currency values and thus gain an unfair market advantage over smaller companies who have less capital to begin with and therefore cannot afford to manipulate currency values as much as larger companies.”


Comparative/Contrast


This approach compares and contrasts two different things in a logical sequence. It works well for articles comparing two different things, such as two objects or ideas or people or animals or anything else that can be compared logically. An example might be an argument saying “Romeo and Juliet was better than West Side Story because it had better dialogue and a more logical plot.” Another example might be an argument saying “Romeo and Juliet was better than West Side Story because it was written during Shakespeare's greatest period of creativity while West Side Story was written after his death by a committee of three screenwriters who were trying to recapture Shakespeare's style without knowing what made Shakespeare's style unique and great in the first place.”


List


This approach presents information as a list of facts or ideas presented one-by-one in an ordered sequence. It works well for articles about lists themselves or statistics or facts that you want to present as facts rather than as part of some other type of organizational structure such as chronological or comparative/contrast or problem/solution or any other structure we may discuss later on in this book. An example might be an argument saying “My top five favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, and Catcher in the Rye because they were all written by authors who knew how to use symbolism effectively and they all had morally ambiguous characters which made them more interesting than books written by authors who didn't know how to use symbolism effectively and knew nothing about moral ambiguity which made their books boring and predictable.” Another example might be an argument saying “My top five favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, and Catcher in the Rye because they were all written by authors who knew how to use symbolism effectively and they all had morally ambiguous characters which made them more interesting than books written by authors who didn't know how to use symbolism effectively and knew nothing about moral ambiguity which made their books boring and predictable.”


Examples


This is probably one of the most common organizational structures for outlines because it shows examples one-by-one in an ordered sequence. It works well for any type of article where you are giving examples of something you are trying to prove or describe. For example, if you wanted to write an article about why you love macaroni and cheese so much, you could say something like “Macaroni and cheese is my favorite food because it is delicious, nutritious, convenient, inexpensive, filling, easily available, fun to eat, tasty with hot dogs, goes well with broccoli, melts well when heated up under a lamp shade on a rainy day…” You can see how this approach helps make your argument clear to readers by making it easier for them to understand why they should agree with you about your topic instead of disagreeing with you about your topic.


Parallelism


This approach arranges multiple ideas into parallel structures that share similar features or patterns with each other in some way even though they are still presented one-by-one in an ordered sequence. It works well with any type of article where you want to emphasize similarities between different ideas so that your reader can more clearly understand how those different ideas fit together logically even though they are separate ideas presented one-by-one over time rather than all at once all at once as part of some other type of organized structure such as chronology or comparison/contrast or problem/solution or some other form of organization that does not emphasize parallelism as clearly as parallelism does. For example, if you wanted to argue that De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising was better than Dr. Dre's The Chronic because it was more innovative than Dr. Dre's album even though it came out earlier than Dr. Dre's album did (which seems contradictory), you could say something like this: “Dr. Dre's debut solo album The Chronic was released in 1992 after he had already established himself as one of hip hop's premier producers working with groups like NWA; but Dr. Dre's album was not as innovative as De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising even though it came out first

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