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The number 1 outline: alphanumeric

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By MARC ROGER DICKNER in the group :: MAIS Blog :: October 19, 2019 - 5:01pm

I personally prefer the alphanumeric outline as compared to the full-sentence or decimal outlines. What I like about the alphanumeric outline is it’s simplistic concise, to the point system. Although full-sentence would be beneficial in just copying and pasting your pre-created sentence ideas into your paper, I do not enjoy having to re-modify them as I have already spent some time in creating them in the first place. It would be like fixing something just to fix it again later. The decimal outline seems very closely related to the alphanumeric outline however from what I can tell, the alphanumeric outline allows for more flexibility in writing longer notes rather than one-three words and having subcategories of words. By experimenting with all three outlines, I quickly realized that I much preferred the alphanumeric outline as it allowed my thoughts and citations to have good flow or coherence.  

No word of a lie, my first attempt to my critical review paper was very difficult to follow. In my mind, my outline had great points and a solid sequence or order to elaborate on them through my paper. What I did not realize, as I came to write my ideas down in full sentences, my points needed to be re-organized to provide better coherence. As Swales & Feak has reiterated in their book on how it is important to understand the organization of a sentence in relation to a paragraph. Such that, each paragraph, like a paper in its entirety, has a beginning (intro), body and conclusion.  The conclusion must provide some evidence or thoughts as to what is to come next in the following sentence or paragraph. The intro works off the previous sentence and continues to elaborate the thought in greater detail with its body. The cycle is repeated until you have several paragraphs to form your paper. The way that I attempted to organize my paper was to first introduce Fernsten & Reda’s article, highlighting what I understood and their thesis and then concluding my intro with my thesis:  

Admittedly, Fernsten and Reda’s article is very compelling and well received by most educators regarding the use of reflective practices as an essential learning tool; the methodology to which supports their claims lacks validity and reliability to generalize how their reflective practice model would support “all disciplines, at a range of skill-levels” (Fernsten & Reda 180 ).” (Dickner) 

I questioned whether I should have ended it there or add another sentence to give the reader some insight as to where I was going with my paper so I added: 

“Before jumping to conclusions regarding their methodology of experimentation, it is important to understand a brief history as to how the development of this negative writer’s self-identity was experienced by pre-1980 students as a means to base their thesis and how effective the reflective practice is in learning really is.” (Dickner)  

After highlighting F & R’s work and background, I developed my critic with supportive facts from both personal experience and scholarly papers. Overall, I feel confident in my coherence but know very well that I can improve in this area to elevate the quality of my paper. 


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