Creating a research paper outline is essential because it can simplify the writing process. No matter the length or difficulty of your research paper, research paper outlines help organize the ideas you present.
However, it can take some time to develop this skill throughout your schooling process or while in your career. To help with the process, you need some tips on developing the structure of a research paper.
This article will explain the process of writing a research paper outline to help you structure well-written essays. These tips contain some pre-writing steps that’ll help compile a quality outline and, as a result, excellent academic work.
What is a research paper outline?
A research paper outline is a guide written by the writer to lay out the writing process and avoid errors while developing the paper. It is often referred to as an action plan that states the primary ideas of the research. After the writer has decided on a topic, it is vital to spend time outlining its structure.
Writing a research paper outline can be difficult for a regular student. As a result, many often skip the process and go straight into writing the research paper. This can lead to time-consuming errors and improper writing structure. So, if you want to write a research paper, it is advisable to create an outline first.
A research paper needs to emulate your stance on a topic and convince its readers that it is the right one. Without a good outline, you’ll struggle with expressing your ideas.
Importance of a research paper outline
A research paper outline is handy throughout the writing process. It offers a solid structure to follow and how to organize the information to be included in the paper.
An outline can make the writing process more efficient by:
- Organizing your main points
- Helping you develop a good flow of information and connect ideas
- Helping you remember your content
- Give your professor an idea of how your paper will turn out.
Think of them as visual aids that support writers in organizing papers. For example, outlines often hold the principal points of each paragraph, supporting sentences, quotes, and thesis and topic sentences.
Many high school research papers and some in college are usually five paragraphs long. Anything longer is typically a variation of the original five-paragraph length.
Hence, familiarity with the five-paragraph paper format is vital to improving your outline structuring. That said, let’s discuss an effective way to organize outline information.
What is an effective way of organizing information in an outline for a research paper?
To effectively organize information when writing the outline of a research paper, you need to:
- Choose the subject of the paper
- Pen down the ideas you plan to write on
- Give unique labels to each section of the outline
- Organize your thoughts into sub-groups
- Write the ideas in the order of importance
- Create proper headings and subheadings
- Format the outline
The structure of a research paper outline
Here’s a quick structure of a research paper example:
- State the audience
- Thesis statement
- An argument to support the thesis – Paragraph I
- An argument to support the thesis – Paragraph II
- An argument to support the thesis – Paragraph III
- Summary of arguments
- Call to action
Tips in writing a research paper outline
Writing requires some steps that are easy to follow. You’d have to have enough information on your paper before you begin. Here are some helpful research paper writing tips.
- Take note of the kind of essay you’ll be writing
Research essays can be argumentative or descriptive in high school and early college. Also, they are mostly five paragraphs in length.
- Choose your topic
Most times, a topic will be given to you by an instructor. If you’re allowed to choose one yourself, make sure it is interesting to read and understandable to write. Gather your references and make sure you complete any necessary research.
- Organize your outline
You can structure your outline using a complete sentence or alpha-numeric outline. Full-sentence outlines offer more details than alpha-numeric ones.
- Craft an introductory sentence or a hook
This is as important as your thesis statement. The introductory sentence should generate interest while introducing your topic.
- Develop an arguable thesis and craft a paragraph to support its points
Your thesis is the final sentence in the introduction, and it often contains the points for your paper. After you’ve created an arguable thesis, start each paragraph with a topic sentence addressing the points in the thesis.
- Use the five-paragraph essay mindset
Regardless of the length of your paper, there. Essential sections include an introduction, body paragraphs directly addressing the thesis, and a conclusion.
- Start the concluding paragraph with the paper’s thesis
To begin the conclusion paragraph, restate the introductory thesis. Then, use at least two sentences that summarize your essay.
- Conclude with a declaration
End your conclusion with declarative points or refer to future research. Consider using a paper outline template if you go through all these and still experience some difficulties.
Writing outlines for a paper can be tricky if you don’t have all the information. Learn to be diligent in research, and ensure you have a setup before writing your outline. Then, after writing one, follow it judiciously to generate a well-structured and impressive research paper.