Helpful Advice: How Do I Write an Outline for a Research Paper?
Before you start writing your research paper, it’s a good idea to create an outline to organize and add structure to all of the information you have gathered in your research. Doing so will also let you think about the scope of your paper and what you will need to include in your writing. As you know, the broader your topic the more difficult it will be discuss everything, so creating an outline lets you find just the key points you need to write a focused research paper.
- Drafting for the three major components.
- The Introduction.
- The Body Paragraphs.
- The Conclusion.
Your research paper outline will consist of three main parts: these are the introduction, the body paragraphs and the conclusion. But before you start make sure you ask your instructor whether or not you are supposed to include other parts (e.g., research methods, abstract, etc.).
At the top of your draft outline you will want to put in your thesis statement for your research paper. This may still be a draft version of your final argument, but it will still help keep the rest of your outline and paper focused. You can also add a few short phrases about why you chose this particular topic, what questions you attempted to answer and why you took a particular approach.
Your body paragraphs will contain all of your main arguments in support of your thesis. It’s best to incorporate these into your outlines by drafting your topic sentences and providing a couple of points beneath each that include the pieces of evidence you have collected. Your evidence can be a quote, statistics, summary and more. In a standard 5-paragraph research paper, you would reserve 3 body paragraphs, but of course longer papers will have a lot more body paragraphs.
Some writers prefer not to include a section for their conclusion in the outline, but it can be quite useful to draft a couple of the major points you will want to include in this section. This paragraph is, after all, a sort of summary of all your major arguments that shows their relationship with one another. You can make your task easier by putting these in early before you write your paper so that you can keep checking back to make sure you stay on track.