Helpful Hints for the Outline of Your Research Paper

One of the more challenging school assignments is the research paper. Unlike the usual classroom essays, the paper may require a student to write a thousand words or more and incorporate data to prove the soundness of the argument. So for students who are not fond of reading and writing, this is a serious task indeed.

The process, however, becomes much easier if there is something to follow. This is why many teachers suggest creating an outline before beginning.

If your teacher requires something similar or if you just want to make the research paper process easier, then read on to learn more.

  • Step 1: Pre-reading and note-taking

To create a working outline for your paper, you will first need to read a lot about your topic. So spend ample time reading about the different angles of your topic, taking down detailed notes. You will need all that you have learned for your outline and the writing process.

  • Step 2: Introduction

For your outline, a key portion for your Intro is to consider what facts to include to “hook” your reader’s attention. This might be critical data, an inspiring or even controversial quote, or an intriguing question that the reader would like answered.

Additionally, you may already list down who may be the interested parties in your research (particular companies and institutions). You can also make a quick mention of the scope of your project and the important terms you will need to define. Listing everything in the outline ensures you do not forget anything when you write.

  • Step 3: The Thesis Statement

As an important part of your Intro, the thesis should be clearly stated in your outline. It should also be narrowed down so that your research is not too broad, which will make life harder for you.

  • Step 4: Arguments for the Body

In your outline, you should list the top three arguments for both sides of the issue. Moreover, it is good to include the supporting details so that you do not forget when you are about to write. Again, since this is an outline, you just need to briefly mention what you want to include - there is no need to fully develop everything yet.

But if you are a cautious person, it might also be nice to include two other potential arguments for each position in case something goes wrong with your “top three,” such as the lack of supporting evidence.

  • Step 5: Conclusion

Since the full writing and research has not been completed yet, the Conclusion of your outline should just include your possible “call to action” as well as any other intriguing data or special quote you might want to end your paper well.

If you want a more elaborate paper where elements in the Intro and the Conclusion go together, such as a question posed in the Intro that is answered in the Conclusion, now is the time to write it down and determine whether it will work or not.

Summary

Whether your professor requires it or not, it is wise to outline before writing your paper. It will help you organize your thoughts based on your initial research, and it becomes a great guide to follow when you start to write.

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