Tables of Contents as Full-Sentence Outlines

Writers of legal or policy briefs often need to summarize their arguments in a single page in order to reach busy, powerful readers. Tables of contents composed of claims are particularly effective ways to achieve this, since readers intrigued by any claim can turn to the section which develops it more fully.

Even if historians do not format their final writings in this way, they may benefit from writing their outlines as a series of claims, reminding themselves of what they need to achieve in each section. (For more on outlining, see The Princeton Guide to Historical Research, chapter 13.)

Here are two examples of such tables of contents—one from law, the other from public policy.