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How to Write an Outline For a Research Paper: a Practical Guide

Don’t Start Writing an Outline for a Research Paper Without the Proper Tools

Writing an outline is a great way to get the basic organization of your research paper down without having to jump directly from taking notes to writing your paper. This intermediate step is very important, because it helps you to organize your thoughts, and it highlights where you might be missing supporting information. Of course, in order to write useful outlines, you need the proper tools to do so. Some students prefer to use a solution that is desk top based such as Microsoft Office, or One Note. Other students don’t find much benefit in  creating an outline in the traditional sense and would rather use a mind mapping tool. As far aw we are concerned, the best tool for creating an outline is the tool that the student finds easiest to use. However, if the student must turn in a formal outline we recommend the standard desktop tools such as Microsoft Office or Open Office.

Colorful Notes Make Excellent Outlines

Try using different colors, fonts, or other means to make your notes stand out. Maybe use one color for main ideas and another color for supporting ideas. You could also use different colors for notes that will work in your introductory paragraph and those that will work in your conclusion. The more distinct your notes are, the easier it will be for you to create an outline.

Your Outline for a Research Paper Should Start in the Middle

When you begin writing your outline, you are dealing with the basic facts. This is why you should start writing your outline for research paper by focusing on what will appear in the body of your paper. This means that you should start your outline, by determining what will be in the body of your essay. The best way to do this is to identify your main ideas, and the supporting ideas that go along with them. Obviously, these will come from your notes. Then, once the body of your outline has been finished, you can add your introduction and conclusion to the beginning and the end. One benefit of doing it this way is that you will most likely have a very good idea on what your thesis statement is going to be by the time you get around to writing the introduction.

Remember That The Outline That Begins Research Papers Helps You Form a Solid Structure

Your outline is like the framework for a house. Once it is in place, you can start writing your essay directly from that. Basically, your foundation is in place, you just have to keep building. You do this, by turning your outline into sentences and paragraphs, and adding detail to make your writing more interesting and more informative. The end result is an essay that is much more well-written than one that has simply been written without any sort of prewriting. It doesn’t take long to write an outline, and the benefits are clear. So, why not make creating an outline part of any research paper assignment?

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