How to Write a Research Paper Outline
Outlines are necessary when a certain author has a lot of ideas in his/her mind. As you may know, sometimes ideas cannot be grasped if one does not reflect enough on them. Thus, it is important to write down everything useful which comes to your mind concerning a given problem. Usually, ideas come in the form of solutions or possible action, and this occurs after a long process of musing on the given issue. Few high-school students keep philosophical diaries (although they are not named like that) in which the former manifest their own understanding of the world, of the people around them, and of a particular topic. In some way, these notes resemble outlines, but not exactly: outlines are construed logically and thoroughly. Their main aim is to organize the ideas of the author and to serve as the basis of his/her essay or another type of paper. Hence, writing a research paper outline seems to be an inevitable part of the process of writing a research paper.
The following six steps will give you some hints if you do not know how to write a research paper outline. In all cases, it is recommended to develop your own approach to writing, including outlines.
Get yourself acquainted with the topic and scope of your research paper. If you are not sure how to write it, find some available literature including sample research papers. Speak with your teacher in order to be more confident during the process of writing. Donít be shy to ask him/her for help in case of any problem.
Read some basic literature concerning your issue. It should include at least five or six titles of academic papers: monographs, books, dissertations, etc. If your teacher has higher expectations, then you need to find more titles (and therefore to refer to them in your research paper).
Formulate your thesis. This will be the basis of your research. The thesis should express your main idea concerning the issue - it could be some theoretical or practical solution. Theoretical solution indicates definition (for example, to define the relation between science and faith), and practical solutions lead to effective action regarding the problem (for instance, how to overcome gender inequality).
Advice: set forth the thesis only when you have collected enough information on the topic, and also reflected on the issue in question. You can modify the formulation of the thesis only prior to the moment you start writing the paper.
Organize the structure of the paper. Divide it into sections (Abstract, Intro, Main part, Conclusion, Bibliography, and so forth). Then explain the contents of each section shortly (what will be included in the Introduction, etc.).
Every section could be divided into sub-sections (this is recommended), but still you should †not go into details here.
Add a bibliography to the outline. These titles will be complemented with others later, but for now you need to have a list of titles in your hand. Format them according as per the required academic standards for formatting, and also format your references accordingly.
Add some quotations. Quotations are important when you write a research paper, so do not forget to include some of them in your outline. It is good to have all quotes you need in front of you, thus you will not waste time to search for them again.
You can also add additional information which may prove useful: place of performing your research, date/s, participants (your team, your supervisor), methodology. If you are going to carry out an experiment, write the particular steps in detail: preparation, realization and analysis of the results.†
Get your original paper!