Formal Outline Format
(From Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference, pages 11-12)

Guidelines
1. Put the thesis at the top.
2. Use parallel grammatical structure.
3. Use sentences unless phrases are clear.
4. Use the conventional system of numbers and letters for the levels of generality.
5. Always use at least two subdivisions for a category.
(If there's an "A," there has to be a "B" -If there's a "I," there has to be a "II")
6. Limit the number of major sections in the outline; if the list of roman numerals grows too long, find some way of clustering the items into a few major categories.
7. Be flexible. Treat your outline as a tentative plan that may need to be adjusted as your drafts evolve.

SAMPLE FORMAT
Thesis: Although various methods for limiting or disposing of nuclear waste have been proposed, each has its drawbacks.

I. Limiting nuclear waste: partitioning and transmutation

A. The process is complex and costly.
B. Radiation exposure to nuclear workers would increase.

II. Antarctic ice sheet disposal

A. Our understanding of ice sheets is too limited.
B. An international treaty prohibits disposal in Antarctica.

III. Outer space disposal

A. The risk of an accident and resulting world\vide disaster is great.
B. The cost is prohibitive.
C. The method would be unpopular at home and abroad.

IV. Seabed disposal

A. Scientists have not yet solved technical difficulties.
B. We do not fully understand the impact of such disposal on the ocean's ecology.

V. Deep underground disposal

A. There is much pressure against the plan from citizens who do not want their states to become nuclear dumps.
B. Geologists disagree about the safest disposal sites.

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