How do you write an outline for a research paper?

The basics of outlining your research paper have a lot to do with knowing what you want to write about. In this blog you will be shown how to:

  • Decide what you want to write
  • Come up with a general direction to take
  • Put down the main and sub categories
  • Use your framework to test out your paper’s concept

How to conceptualize

The elements that factor in to what you write all depend on the following conditions:

  • Does your topic have enough material to research about?
  • Can you think of four or more points into which you can break up your topic?
  • Will the subject be interesting to readers?
  • Will your research solve a problem?
  • Is your research original in terms of never having been done before?
  • Are you contributing something by taking on this topic?

Make a note of all these questions and their answers. Keep them nearby while you draw up your outline.

How to make a roadmap

Now that you have the prerequisites on a decent topic, you can start deciding on the direction your paper should take. This includes making the following notes:

  • The sections you are breaking your paper up into?
  • The narrowing down of your topic so that it concentrates on a specific element of the subject.
  • Creating sub-points for every large section, and where applicable, even smaller sub-subsections under each one.

Placing your pillars

You can now take all your headings and start placing them into a coherent order. Your research paper must follow the pattern of a logical argument, so make sure you are telling a story with your various sections as well as with all their sub-points.

How to use your outline to write a rough draft

Your outline is now ready to be scrutinized with some testing. Write a rough draft by adding one or two sentences to each sub-section. You can also write a few lines of introduction to each main section. This will give you an idea of what your research paper will turn out like, and whether or not all your points work well together.

Now that you have a framework, and know exactly what it will look like, you can finally refine your paper and write the final product. Use these planning strategies to write all your academic papers and you’ll see a huge improvement in the quality of your work.

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