When it comes time to do a research paper outline, you may often ask yourself why you must go through with it. Some students prefer making an outline after the whole work is ready. But instructors insist on doing an outline before you start writing a research paper. And, they have reasons for that demand. In this article, we’ll tell you why you should write an outline before writing your work. Furthermore, we will provide you with a simple scheme for how to do your outline.
You Should Do an Outline for These Reasons
- You know the next step. From time to time, you may stop writing as you do not know what to write about next. You doubt whether you should include any particular piece of information. Doing an outline will prevent you from wasting your time. You will know exactly what you need to reveal next, and you will follow your plan.
- You avoid nimieties. While writing a research paper, sometimes you find out that some phenomena are closely related to each other. So, you can use one notion or theory or whatever plenty of times. In some cases, it is prudent to repeat the same information. But if you include this data in several paragraphs, you should instead do a separate paragraph for that information. For example, notion ‘A’ affects ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’. And you put ‘A’ in each of the paragraphs ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’. If you wrote an outline beforehand, you would rather do a separate paragraph ‘A’, where you include the information for how ‘A’ affects ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’.
- You remain consistent. A research paper is an extensive work. You will get such an enormous amount of facts that you can get confused with them. And doing an outline helps you to give information step by step without missing anything.
Levels of a Research Paper Outline
- Write headings. On this level, write only general titles. For example, you are doing a research for the evolution of some term. At this level, your headings could be the defined periods of time (for example, 1500-1585, 1585-1650 and so on and so forth).
- Use Roman numerals: I, II, III etc.
This level of outline simplifies doing other ones, but it shouldn’t be used as a final research paper outline.
- Write subheadings. At this step, you should be more concrete. The main points that you are going to include can be subheadings. For example, you already have periods of time, and now you should write significant events or discoveries of this period.
- Use Latin capital letters: A, B, C, etc.
You can do a research paper outline with two levels as the final outline. But you decide this on your own according to the lengths of your research.
- Write sentences or phrases. Perhaps each of your sections consists of several paragraphs. You should write a phase or a sentence that fits the whole paragraph. For example, you have periods of time on the first level, and events on the second level. One paragraph can include the reasons for those events, and the other paragraph, the consequences.
- Use standard numbers: 1, 2, 3, etc.
The more detailed your outline is, the easier it will be to write your paper. However, take into account that you shouldn’t write a three-level outline for research that consists only of five pages. It is more reasonable to do such an outline for research that contains 15 or 20 pages.
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