Outlining to Think

The sources introduced on this page will help you to see how different people in different places and times have outlined to check their understanding, clarify their thought, and to remember. To learn “how to” using the Outline feature in MS Word, you might follow my Outlining Checklist.

Managing complexity.

  1. In this notebook by Leonardo Da Vinci, we see how he has managed his analysis of an exceedingly complex thing by breaking it apart into pieces.
  2. In this diagram of careful thinking from Head First Data Analysis, they authors position breaking a thing apart after problem definition — so we know what we are looking for — and before analysis — so we might know what we are talking about before we try to do something about it
  3. In this diagram of research questions as you will find in Chapters 3-5 of The Craft of Research, sub-heads in an outline as here might offer a template that we can then go on to fill, reminding us that proper research questions have both practical and theoretical dimensions, and that our audience expect us to address the question of “so what?”.
  4. In my recommended outline structure for BizApps, I would put conversations, communications, your explaining to your classmates and writing down what you said and what happened, into the middle, Heading 4, and then position these conversations with sub-heads, Headings 2-3, so we know the larger concepts or issues and in what sequence we do well to engage them above, and below we stick supporting details, like quotations, illustrations, and citations, in Headings 5+

A note on revision

How I transformed a list from an unordered many into an ordered few, and why

This morning, I started off with the following list, a bunch of illustrations I have collected over years, and until this morning they appeared on this page exactly like this:

This is an unordered list, where one finds bullet points, and it is appropriate to be unordered about it when I’ve basically thrown them into a pile. We all do this when we list things to buy in the food store, or when Johnny Cash wants to make sure he does not kiss anyone other than June. When we pile up newspapers or bills and for through them from most recent, down, we call that a stack”, as we do when we put the oldest fruits on top (or, on the dance floor “save the best for last”). Above, I’ve used numbers to create an ordered list, because instead of lecturing from a pile of materials I am here making a short tutorial that, in four steps, will bring you to the point of understanding of what I mean by “outlining to think.”

How might you now best proceed?

Each of us has to find her own way.

Lecturing is great for offering perspective, starting points, reviewing materials, making sure everyone is on the same page, and I can even walk you through a page as I did in our first lesson by walking your through the manipulation of headers in MS word and the structure of argument in the McAfee text.

But I will not always be around, and you want to be able to figure this stuff out on your own, and especially, as you would lead a company or team within it into a future that cannot be known, so the Big Lesson here is learning how to learn.

Each of us has to find her own way, because we all hear, see, and think with the same 8 (or 17 or 36 intellectual elements), outlined nicely in this discussion of Audience: some people really need first to see examples, while others are impatient with all this storytelling and want to understand concepts., etc.

So here you do well to consider what might be the best way for you, and follow it

  • It might well be that you want to look at McAfee before MS Word, or vice versa, or call up a partner as misery loves company
  • So far, I’ve written up the assignment for these first four weeks twice, in my posts for 5.10.21 and 12.10.21, and each of the elements there you will find in the pages at the top of our bizapps class page or on my homepage.
  • For learning Outlining in MS Word, you might go directly to my Outlining Checklist, where you will find links to the videos I started to show you in class and all sorts of other info and advice, or you might follow me this morning, below, as I try to make sense of the MS Word Support pages.

Grokking MS Word Support

Support pages typically reflect a firm’s business model and corporate culture, which may be user friendly, or not, and let me suggest that this illustration in this case accurately suggests both and that you’ll need to attack this website by searching for specific information, beginning with the keyword “outline”.

  • “Microsoft Word support” will lead you to a video that assumes you need help with spelling, which I find unhelpful and patronising when the problem here is figuring out how they are organised so I might find my way.
    • NONE of the links on that page, will lead to a link for outlining (I’ve just now clicked all of them), none, when in fact MS WORD has always had a tree structure as its underlying design, every document you will ever make in business be hierarchically organised.
    • The irony is, that above their links is a search box, “How can we help you?”, which means if you really want to search you might better use the most powerful search engine — which of course belongs to their competitor Google.

See for yourself by comparing your results when you type “outlining explained” in MS Word Support and Google Search