Useful Techniques For Composing A Research Paper Outline

One of the most important steps in writing a research paper is creating an outline. Many students feel they can generally write a decent short essay or term paper without having to create an outline. But a research paper is a whole different matter. With so many required components that must fall in a specific order, it’s good to have your notes and discussion points organized for easy reference. Here are techniques you will find useful for composing a great research paper outline.

Break up your outline into three major parts

Despite having more sections than other kinds of writing assignments, a research paper still falls under the same structure of an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. The introduction will contain your thesis statement in addition to the reason or purpose of the study. The body paragraphs will be expanded to include all of the sections that go into a research paper in your specific field which may include methodologies, literature review, results, discussion, etc. Speak with your professor if you are unsure of the sections or get a sample from a published study from an academic journal. Finally, your conclusion will be a summary of all the arguments you have made as well as break down of the major pieces discussed in each of the sections.

Add detail in each part by presenting sub-points

While it’s true that some students can use a slightly sparse or simple outline to get their writing started, when working on a project of this length it’s a good idea to be as detailed as possible. This means breaking down each section into several sub-points. The introduction and the conclusion are simple, but the body paragraphs will make the bulk of the content and should be efficiently organized. For instance, your methodologies may have three or four points you need to express. For clarity, you should separate each point into a separate paragraph and add another level of points to discuss within each.

Ensure the content is organized correctly

As mentioned before, each discipline will have specifically required sections to include in your study. And these should all be ordered correctly in order for your work to meet the minimum requirements. It’s much easier to rearrange content in an outline than it is rearranging large sections of the written document – no matter what the draft – so make sure you arrange content when you develop the outline to save you the time and effort from having to do it later.

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