22.6. Writing an Outline

While you are creating the outlines, you may find writing about one topic is a lot easier than writing about another. You may not even need to complete outlines for all of them. Once you have generally analyzed each potential topic, ask yourself: Which one seems most fascinating AND accessible to write and present about?

After deciding on a topic, you already have an outline to work off of! Ask more questions such as:

What are the long-term impacts of the innovation?
Example: Migration toward automated and smarter cars.

What are the long-term impacts of your innovation?

Short-term impacts?
Example: A growing number of buyers are no longer willing to consider cars without wi-fi connectivity.

What are the short-term impacts of your innovation?

Beneficial effects?
Example: Connected cars integrate seamlessly with advancing mobile technology and the internet of things trend.

What are the beneficial effects of your innovation?

Harmful effects?
Example: People are worried about data privacy.

What are the harmful effects of your innovation?


Creating an outline provides a thorough and efficient method for deciding and developing your topic. Here is an example:

  1. Google Search:

    “Computing Innovations”

  2. Resources/Links:
    1. Top 30 Innovations: https://compsci.lafayette.edu/homepage/top-30-innovations/

  3. Top Three Topics
    1. ATMs

    2. Email

    3. The Internet

  4. Outline 1: ATMs
    1. Purpose: Allows you to access your bank account and withdraw money miles away from your bank.

    2. Tech: Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks; support video, voice, and data traffic in one transmission

    3. … (At this point I would probably choose a different topic that is easier to understand and write about.)

Here are a few more possible topic examples from the University of Berkeley’s Beauty and Joy of Computing “Lecture Slides on Social Implications of Computing”.

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