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Student Guide: Writing a Research Paper Outline

What is a Research Paper?

❶The arguments you provide in your paper should be based on this cenral idea, that is why it is so important. How can I build a research paper on this argument?

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Writing a good research paper outline
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Research Paper Examples and Samples

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. The same can be said of sentences in subheadings, as well. Your major headings should identify major tasks or ideas. Your subheadings should elaborate on the points addressed in your major headings.

The information in your headings should be general and the subheadings should be more specific. For instance, if you were writing about memorable experiences from your childhood, "Memorable Childhood Experiences" would be the heading and the subheadings might look something like, "Vacation at 8 years old," "Favorite birthday party," and "Family trips to the park. Each major heading should be divided into two or more parts.

In other words, you should have at least two subheadings for every major heading. There is no limit on subheadings, but once you start forming a dozen or so subheadings under a single heading, you might find your outline looking cluttered and messy.

Identify the research problem. As you prepare to write your outline, you need to specifically identify the research problem you are trying to address. This will guide the entire formation of your outline and your paper. From this research problem, you will derive your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the entire purpose or argument of your research paper. This thesis statement will usually be written above the outline itself or within the first "Introduction" heading of the outline.

Your research problem can also help you figure out a title. Identify your main categories. You also need to figure out what main points you plan on covering. All of these main points will be listed in your introduction and listed as part or all of you major headings for the body part of your paper. The main points are details that support or address your research paper.

They should be very general in nature. Take a look at your research topic and determine the best possible order to deliver information. You might end up using a chronological arrangement or a spatial arrangement, but as a general rule, you will go from general ideas to specific ones. Chronological arrangements generally only work if you have a topic that has some chronological history to it. For example, if you were researching the history of modern medicine, it would make sense that your paper and outline follow a chronological order.

If your research topic does not have a history, though, you will probably end up using a spatial structure. For instance, if you are researching the effects of television and video games on the adolescent brain, you probably would not follow the chronology of the research. Instead, you might describe the different contemporary schools of thought on the issue or otherwise follow some other spatial arrangement of ideas.

Establish your major headings. Your first and last headings will be your "Introduction" and "Conclusions" sections, respectively. The other major headings will be represented by the main or major categories of your paper. In these instances, you can usually skip these two sections altogether, but you will need to write your thesis statement separately and above the outline.

Know what to include in your Introduction. Your "Introduction" heading will need to include your thesis, at minimum. You might also want to briefly list your main points and your hook. Note that these elements will usually be listed as subpoints, not as major headings.

Essay Editing Service Essay Revision. Before writing an research paper outline: Select an appropriate topic. Selecting a topic is a crucial factor for a successful research paper. Whether you select a topic yourself or not, it should work to your strengths and not weaknesses. An appropriate topic should be interesting to you and appeal to or provoke readers. 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?

How can I build a research paper on this argument? As soon as you have answers for these questions, you are almost ready to create a good outline for a successful research paper. Of course, most of the time only your professor will read a research paper you have created. However, you need to understand readers of your paper. Will the professor support your argument or will he have a counterargument? When defining your audience, you will comprehend what type of language is better to use: The overall style and tone of your research paper depend on the audience it is aimed at.

There is no research paper without proper and thorough research. You will have to investigate a lot of resources in order to find effective evidence to support your argument.

Firstly, you will have to find general information to support your thesis statement, then you will have to dig deeper. You will have to be aware of any counter arguments and evidence supporting them.

This way you will master the topic and comprehend the pitfalls of your thesis statement better. References are the evidence of each of your arguments and the research you have conducted. You should prioritize them according to the importance and relevance to your thesis statement. Writing a good research paper outline When you are finished with pre-writing activities, created a good research paper topic, you are more than ready to make an effective research paper outline. Essay Editors that may help.

There are three main points that make an impressive Introduction: Depending on the overall volume of your research paper, a hook can be from one to five sentences long. This the part that persuades readers to read the paper. A hook should be interesting and provoking — you need your readers to want to read your research paper. In your pre-writing activities, you had to define the audience for yourself — you had to understand who would be interested in reading your paper.

Here, however, you need to explain to your reader why she or he is your target audience. The Introduction and the whole text, for that matter, should be relatable.

Here you state your argument. You make a clear point about what you are going to discuss and why is it important. Your thesis statement should be clear and simple but never dull. You want the readers to read your paper especially after the research you have conducted and materials you have gone through.

Body The Body is the main part of the research paper outline you are writing. Stuck on Your Research Paper Outline? Check out these research paper example. Conclusion The conclusive part of the research paper has to summarize the arguments so the readers digest the main idea and remember it for a long time.

In this short section, you again state your strongest arguments. There is no need to provide a deep explanation of your ideas or evidence to each of them. Nonetheless, you will have to give a general overview of the arguments you used in the research paper. This is the very end of your research paper and it should provoke your readers.

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Research Paper Outline Examples Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper .

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Tutorial to the research paper outline. It helps you through the steps of writing a research paper. Good writing is essential for any article or term paper.

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The outline structure is approximately the same whether you write a research outline on dreams or some topic distant from this one, like a research outline for PhD application. The structure is identical to the structure of the research paper itself. A research paper outline is a generalized, organized overview of a research topic. Outlines are useful as they help the writer think about a topic in more detail, revealing areas that may require more research. Like most outlines written for academic papers, there are at least three sections: the introduction, body.

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It is impossible to imagine a flawless writing process without mastering an art of developing a powerful research paper outline. This type of college academic assignment requires much more sections than an ordinary high school essay, so follow our guide not to get lost in the writing process. A research paper outline is a helpful point-by-point plan, which makes your research paper writing easier. However, before proceeding to an outline you will have to take some pre-writing steps. They will be helpful in composing the best quality outline and, as a result, a great academic work.