Tips to Make a Research Paper Outline

A Useful Outline for Your Research Paper

Are you familiar with the concept of an outline? An outline refers to a roadmap of your research paper. It helps writers keep the paper on track by providing a systematic procedure for accomplishing particular goals. Ideally, your research paper should have an introduction, research body, and a conclusion.

However, most students rarely make a conscious effort to create an outline for their papers. Some students assume they have enough content to cover in their research paper. Furthermore, they believe that since they are familiar with the topic and the format, writing a research paper will be simple.

Nevertheless, creating an outline for a research paper is not as easy as it sounds. Even if you know your topic and the structure of the paper, you might not have covered all the necessary sections. For starters, you might have ignored some relevant sections that your research indicated were necessary. Also, the different sections of your research paper might not have been closely related. So how do you create an outline for your paper? Here are the steps to adhere to when making your outline for the research paper.

Take Notes

It might sound weird to say that you should record what you know about a topic before writing a paper about it. However, take notes of any new sources of information you uncover while conducting your research. You might want to consolidate these sources into an bibliography at the end of the research paper.

Organize the Notes

What ideas do you have? Do they belong together in a hierarchy? Chances are high that you will have several ideas that contribute to your topic. The trick is to compare these ideas and establish which is most significant. Obviously, you should not assign importance to any idea before you classify it. What should you take into account?

  • Sentence structure
  • word choice
  • word density

Create a Thesis Statement

Once you have the information you need to put into your research paper outline, the next step is to come up with a thesis statement. This should be a single sentence that ties together the main idea of the research paper. It should set the framework from which your paper will revolve.

Research Extensively

Before you start creating your outline for the research paper, you should take the time to read through numerous literature related to your topic. Check out philosophy, religion, history, scientific studies, and more. If you discover that there is a gap in your knowledge, it is best to find out the gaps by conducting in-depth research. After all, it is only through extensive research that you will have enough content to put into your research paper.