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Helpful Tips For Constructing A Research Paper Outline


An outline is a system used to organize your research paper. It helps you connect your thoughts to each other, order them in a logical way, and select the evidence to support each of your points effectively. This document will help you see the overall picture and complete your assignment faster. To construct a decent outline, follow the hints below.

How to Make an Outline for a Research Paper

  1. Specify your topic.
  2. Your work should be focused on the main argument. Summing up your key ideas in one sentence will help you identify the topic properly.

  3. Decide what points you’ll cover in your paper.
  4. It’s a good idea to brainstorm and write down all the arguments that you want to discuss in your writing. Then, select from three to five core ideas to introduce them in the first section of your work.

  5. Identify the first category.
  6. Choosing the first point to cover is hard. For example, if your research focuses on a complicated concept, you may explain it and provide its background, which is a good place to begin.

  7. Think of subcategories.
  8. You need to create points that support and develop your main idea. Typically, you need to come up with three-four subcategories, depending on the amount of information that you’re going to provide on your topic.

  9. Format the outline.
  10. Usually, you’re asked to format this document using a particular style guide, so check the instructions provided by your professor to number every category and subcategory correctly. Remember to use only two of each lettered or numbered category.

  11. Use a template if any.
  12. You’ll save your time if you follow a template given by your instructor. You may also get a sample document in the school’s writing center.

What Kind of an Outline to Compose

In academic writing, there are two kinds of outlines. The most popular one is a topic outline which consists of short phrases. Students use it when they’re writing about various issues that are hard to arrange in a paper. This kind of a document is fast to compose and easier to revise and make the necessary changes.

The sentence outline is written in full sentences. It’s useful when your work focuses on a complex issue with many details to cover. This kind of a paper allows you to describe all the necessary details in the sentences. So, selecting an outline type depends on your research topic and a number of elements that you’re going to add to your assignment.