This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD. Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015.

how to write an academic paper outline

It should give a clear direction from the beginning to the end. If appropriate, controlling ideas organize the main points of your outline in chronological order.

Video: How to structure an outline

The length of your paper will determine the level of detail you should pursue in your supporting content. When you have honed the results of your brainstorming down to a suitable number of subtopics, you can arrange them in the order you feel would be most effective in arguing your thesis statement. Outlining your first draft by listing each paragraph’s topic sentence can be an easy way to ensure how long is an average essay that each of your paragraphs is serving a specific purpose in your paper. When writing a research paper for a teacher or professor, it is important to step back and think about why they asked you to write this essay in the first place. More than likely, they are giving you an opportunity to learn something. Learning often involves trial-and-error, making mistakes, and asking lots of questions.

how to write an academic paper outline

A strong outline details each topic and subtopic in your paper, organizing these points so that they build your argument toward an evidence-based conclusion. Writing an outline will also help you focused on the task at hand and avoid unnecessary tangents, logical fallacies, and underdeveloped paragraphs. Remember that the main purpose of the research paper is to show your abilities define a narrative essay to work by yourself and demonstrate the range of your knowledge on various topics. Creating a good outline is essential in further composing of your research paper. Make sure to take notes when conducting research, do not be afraid to ask for assistance, and read additional resources. Experts recommend painstaking the entire research into the investigation’s background.

Revising the Final Draft

As to choosing the best essay topicsfor your research paper, we have professional writers, who offer personalized help or even essay writing service if you need it. The fourth level of organization contains the most detailed information such as quotes, references, observations or specific data needed to support the main idea. It is not typical to have further levels of organization because the information contained here is the most specific. Your thesis statement will likely evolve as you write your term paper. This is very common in argumentative or analytical essays, where you will continue to think about your material as you write, and you may reach conclusions you didn’t expect.

  1. This type of outline is sometimes used in the final term paper as well, to identify headings and subheadings in a longer work.
  2. It is common in high school to write 3-prong thesis statements, which include three main points, each of which will have its own body paragraph.
  3. After you have the main point, create points under it that provide support for the main point.
  4. As you write, you will likely discover gaps in your argument that require further research, but you won’t have a good idea about what you want to say until you do some preliminary research.
  5. You can now decide how to organize these paragraphs in the first level of your outline.
  6. Connect with a professional writer within minutes by placing your first order.
  7. Your introduction provides context to your readers to prepare them for your paper’s argument or purpose.

If you are writing the outline for yourself, you may choose any combination you prefer. Writing an outline can take place at any time during the writing process. Consider whether you’re sharing your outline with other team members or whether you’re writing it solo. Likewise, consider the length and amount of topics. The decimal format can help organize long papers, but feel free to stick with alphanumeric if it makes you comfortable.

Need Help with Creating an Outline?

The next step is to fill in supporting ideas for each of your main ideas. Give any necessary explanations, descriptions, evidence, or examples to convince the reader that you are making a good point. To outline a term paper, first outline your introduction by writing your thesis statement and adding a few bullet points of what you’ll say to kick off your paper.

how to write an academic paper outline

Creating an outline based on the principles outlined above can help you to put your ideas in a logical order, so your paper will have a stronger, more effective argument. After selecting a topic, take some time to figure out what kind of argument you want to support. You need to understand why it is important to you and why it might be important to others. Ask yourself – what is the aim of my thesis statement? Can it provoke a meaningful discussion that might change the world? As soon as you have answers for these questions, you are almost ready to create a good outline for a successful research paper.

Writing a Research Paper

It helps share data and knowledge with the scientific community to advance research in a specific field of study. Publications are also critical for getting university promotions, securing collaborations, and obtaining funding for your research. Now that you know why it’s important to get published, let’s start with pointers on writing a research paper outline, the first step in the manuscript writing process. The main difference between outlining a reading and outlining your own paper is the source of the ideas. When you outline something someone else wrote, you are trying to represent their ideas and structure. When outlining your own paper, you will need to focus on your own ideas and how best to organize them.

The amount of detail in a research paper outline varies depending on the writer’s style, the assignment requirements, and the complexity of the topic. The main purpose of a research paper outline is to structure the topics, data, and all other inclusions in the paper so you stay organized and don’t forget anything. Minor points are subtopics within your major points. Minor points develop the nuances of your major points but may not be significant enough to warrant extended attention on their own.

Structure and Writing Style

“Very helpful, because I don’t know how to write a term paper, and when I read this outline, I already have an idea. Consider adding clearer transitions and topic sentences to help make stronger connections between your paragraphs. If you’re having trouble summarizing the main idea, it could be a sign that your paragraph is wandering. Consider splitting your paragraph into two paragraphs so that you can devote one to each idea. Each subtopic should be related to the main goal or idea of the paragraph. Avoid using facts or statements that don’t give an idea of what the rest of your paragraph will argue. A good topic sentence will be informative, directional, and interesting.

Then, outline the body of your essay by writing a topic sentence for each paragraph you want to include. You should also add subpoints to each paragraph section that definition of reflective essay include what evidence you’ll be presenting in the paragraph. Finally, outline your conclusion by writing the main points you’d like to use to wrap up your paper.

Writing Center

There is time to perfect your research paper as you edit. This step is pretty flexible; different people will research for a paper in different ending an essay with a question ways. However, it’s important to stay focused and move pretty quickly. After all, you still have to write your research paper.

Use quotation marks and mention the source of the quote. You will also need to include more information about the quote on a Works Cited or References page. If you paraphrase, that is, you don’t use the exact words, but do use someone’s idea, it’s still important to give credit.

How to Write a Structured Outline for a Research Paper

That doesn’t mean it’s controversial or particularly opinionated, but it does mean that someone could disagree. So you have all of this information, now what to do with it? Like research, different people have different preferences here.

What is a formal outline format?

It consists of brief phrases or single words (not sentences) that are numbered or lettered to show the order and relative importance of the ideas. While topic outlines often seem precise and formal, they should be treated as part of the writing process.

These may come in the form of statistics, examples from your sources, or supporting ideas. After the initial introduction, background on your topic often follows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *