Organize Information: Example of an Outline

Teachers and textbooks use outlines to present information in an organized fashion.  This is meant to help you understand which subjects / parts / items are related and how they fit together.  Whether it’s professor-supplied notes or straight lecture, usually a heading of what’s to come is followed by information that fits in that category.  Unfortunately your textbook is going to be much better at presenting an outline than some of your professors.  Sometimes there is a sub-heading with some information that is all related but only applies to one of the items in the original heading.  Outline format can help you but you have to understand it so you can catch it when your professor has jumbled the level of category he or she is using.  Arranging what you are learning, and understanding which items belong under the same heading will help you understand how things are related and which items you have to choose from to answer a question.  Your textbook will use an outline as described at the beginning of the book.  In other words, the textbook usually uses different sizes, fonts and colors to let you know at which level of organization the information you are reading belongs.

Below is an example of an outline and how you can use it to study.

If a professor is talking about tissue types, she might mention types of tissue : Epithelial, Connective, Muscle and Neural.  These are all at the same level of organization.  Each type has subtypes.  The material may be presented to you in outline form, but there is so much information added in between that you may lose sight of the original organization of the material.  Most textbooks also present information in outline format, but again, there is a lot in between, so an outline like the one below is not always readily visible.  Pay attention to the headings in your text book.  They will alter type, font size and color to let you know where you are in the outline.  Make an outline like the one below about topics you struggle with.  Understand how the items you are learning about are related to each other and in which category they belong.  Then you can look at the outline and ask further questions about the material.  As you look at it, give examples of each kind of tissue.  Use outlines you make or from your text to study.

A) Epithelial tissue:

1) Simple

a) squamous

b) cuboidal

c) columnar

2) Stratified

a) squamous

b) cuboidal

c) columnar

B) Connective tissue:

1) Connective Tissue Proper

a) loose connective tissue

i) areolar tissue

ii) adipose tissue

iii) reticular tissue

b) dense connective tissue

i) dense regular connective tissue

– tendons

– ligaments

– aponeurosis

ii) dense irregular connective tissue

– capsule

2) Fluid connective tissue

a) blood

b) lymph

3) Supportive connective tissue

a) cartilage

i) hyaline cartilage

ii) elastic cartilage

iii) fibrocartilage

b) bone

C) Muscle tissue:

1) Skeletal

2) Cardiac

3) Smooth

D) Neural tissue:

1) neurons

2) neuroglia

If your professor asks for an example of fluid connective tissue, you can look at this outline and see you have 2 choices : blood or lymph.  If she asks for an example of cartilage and wants to know what type of tissue cartilage is, you look at cartilage and go one level up to see that it is supportive connective tissue and that an example would be hyaline cartilage.

9 thoughts on “Organize Information: Example of an Outline”

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