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How to Write an Outline

This article is a part of the guide:

❶Printout, photocopy, and take notes of relevant information. A hypothesis thesis statement should conclude the opening paragraph.

MLA Recommendations On How to Write an Outline

Introduction
What is a Research Paper?
How to Write a Research Paper?

Read your paper for any content errors. Double check the facts and figures. Arrange and rearrange ideas to follow your outline. Reorganize your outline if necessary, but always keep the purpose of your paper and your readers in mind. Use a free grammar and proof reading checker such as Grammarly. Is my thesis statement concise and clear? Did I follow my outline? Did I miss anything? Are my arguments presented in a logical sequence? Are all sources properly cited to ensure that I am not plagiarizing?

Have I proved my thesis with strong supporting arguments? Have I made my intentions and points clear in the essay? Re-read your paper for grammatical errors.

Use a dictionary or a thesaurus as needed. Do a spell check. Correct all errors that you can spot and improve the overall quality of the paper to the best of your ability. Get someone else to read it over. Sometimes a second pair of eyes can see mistakes that you missed. Did I begin each paragraph with a proper topic sentence? Have I supported my arguments with documented proof or examples? Any run-on or unfinished sentences? Any unnecessary or repetitious words?

Varying lengths of sentences? Does one paragraph or idea flow smoothly into the next? Any spelling or grammatical errors?

Quotes accurate in source, spelling, and punctuation? Are all my citations accurate and in correct format? Did I avoid using contractions? Did I use third person as much as possible? Have I made my points clear and interesting but remained objective? Did I leave a sense of completion for my reader s at the end of the paper? For an excellent source on English composition, check out this classic book by William Strunk, Jr.

Place yourself in the background, Revise and rewrite, Avoid fancy words, Be clear, Do not inject opinion, Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity, … and much more. The Elements of Style was first published in There is also a particular formatting style you must follow.

There are several formatting styles typically used. APA American Psychological Association style is mostly used to cite sources within the field of social sciences. Instead of providing individual recommendations for each publishing format printed, online, e-books etc. You should necessarily ask your instuctor which formatting style is required for your paper and format it accordingly before submitting.

All formal reports or essays should be typewritten and printed, preferably on a good quality printer. Read the assignment sheet again to be sure that you understand fully what is expected of you, and that your essay meets the requirements as specified by your teacher.

Know how your essay will be evaluated. Proofread final paper carefully for spelling, punctuation, missing or duplicated words. Make the effort to ensure that your final paper is clean, tidy, neat, and attractive. Aim to have your final paper ready a day or two before the deadline. This gives you peace of mind and a chance to triple check. Before handing in your assignment for marking, ask yourself: If you feel any difficulties in writing a Research Paper, our writers and editors are always ready to help!

Click Here to contact us. By clicking "Log In", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. Some instructors will insist that you must not combine these two forms. Many others, however, offer one exception to this guideline by allowing the main section headings to be short phrases while the remaining subpoints are written as full sentences.

Most outlines use an alpha-numerical structure. This structure uses a series of letters and numbers to identify and arrange section levels. In sentence outlines, headings and subpoints are almost always written with correct sentence capitalization rules. This is not always the case with topic outlines, though. One school of thought indicates that first level headings should be written in all capital letters while all remaining headings use standard sentence capitalization rules.

Another school of thought suggests that the first level headings should only have the first letter of each word capitalized, rather than the entire word. The remaining headings, again, use standard sentence capitalization rules. Keep matters of length in mind. Your outline should run no longer than one-quarter to one-fifth the total estimated size of your final research paper. For a four to five page paper, you only need a single page outline. For a 15 to 20 page paper, your outline will usually run no longer than four pages.

Familiarize yourself with a one-level outline. A one-level outline only uses major headings and no subheadings.

Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed. It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in. Move onto a two-level outline. Two-level outlines are a little more common for research papers. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings.

In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present. Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under. Progress to a three-level outline.

A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly. You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version.

Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it. Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels.

The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections.

Every heading and subheading should maintain a structure that is parallel to the other headings within its level. Parallelism also refers to parts of speech and tense. If a heading starts with a verb, then the other headings must also start with a verb. Moreover, that verb must also be in the same tense usually present tense.

The information provided by your first major heading should be equal in importance to the information offered in your second major heading. You may include here the reason why you chose that particular topic or simply the significance of your research paper's topic. You may also state what type of approach it is that you'll be using in your paper for the entire discussion of your topic.

Generally, your Introduction should orient your readers to the major points the rest of the paper will be covering, and how. The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Start with a strong argument, followed by a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument as your final point.

The conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments so you can arrive at your final position. Explain and reiterate why you've ended up with the said conclusion.

As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:. Shakespeare Adapted from AResearchGuide. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:.

Research Paper Outline Examples. Retrieved Sep 14, from Explorable. The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4. You can use it freely with some kind of link , and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations with clear attribution.


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Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper.

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What is an outline for a research paper and how to write an outline for a research paper? The primary thing is to provide a clear definition. An academic project outline is an action plan a student prepares not to get lost during the process of writing, and this piece reflects the main points of the text.

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For any research paper, it is essential to understand how to write an outline. In many fields, research papers require an outline, as an integral part of the paper. In many fields, research papers require an outline, as an integral part of the paper. An outline structure depends on the type of academic assignment and format. For example, a 5-paragraph essay requires an outline. MLA Research Paper Outline Basics. MLA is the easiest and most frequently met research paper format, so we should start explaining how to write an outline for a research paper on this example.

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An outline is a “blueprint” or “plan” for your paper. It helps you to organize your thoughts and arguments. A good outline can make conducting . This page lists some of the stages involved in writing a library-based research paper. Although this list suggests that there is a simple, linear process to writing such a paper, the actual process of writing a research paper is often a messy and recursive one, so please use this outline as a flexible guide.