Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

“The outline is one of the most valuable tools for writing. In fact, there is no substitute for a good outline. My uncle once told me that a tennis player is never too good to move his feet to get into position to return a volley. The same holds true for writing – a writer is never too good to write an outline.”
Kerry Flannery-Reilly, Princeton University
Before starting to write a research paper outline, you should remember some rules of thumb, which can be applied to any outline, which you will compose:
  1. Be sure all parts of your outline relate to the thesis statement of your paper.
  2. Remember that your outline has to serve to convey your ideas in a logical sequence. There are several strategies to accomplish it successfully:
    - Moving from simple ideas to complex ones;
    - Arguing from your weakest points to the strongest ones;
    - Through chronological development.
  3. Make sure that your headings or divisions contain at least two subheadings or subdivisions.
Proceeding to writing a research paper outline, you can apply the following technique in practice.

A nice piece of advice about writing a well-structured outline was given by Justin M. Cohen, an author of the Guide to Writing College Papers. He offers to apply for research paper writing service with going through your notes and sorting them by topic. If you used index cards, you can put them into little piles of related subjects.

Organize your note cards into the most logical order and use them to construct a working outline. While organizing your notes, look for broader trends and related narrower ideas. These broad trends will serve as divisions in your outline, while narrow ideas can be subdivisions. If you have found out that all your notes fall into a few distinct piles, it can be a nice way to organize your paper.

Once you have determined all divisions and subdivisions for the outline, type them into some form of outline using dashes, bullets, or whatever works for you.


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