How To Write An Outline For A Research Paper

Every day, students partake in a writing assignment. But given that sometimes such tasks are more complicated than one may expect, it is important to dig deeper and learn every aspect of academic writing. In this post, we focus on research papers. For a college beginner, you should note that high school research papers only serve as launch pads to more advance forms of research writing.

If you always did write a five-paragraph essay at high school, things are a little different in college. However, the definition and purpose of research writing remain the same. At advanced levels of academic, students are expected to embark on independent inquiry, to generate new knowledge or filling gaps in existing studies. The scope of research paper writing also widens as one progress to higher levels of academia.

Writing a winning outline

You will be required to, first of all, craft a paper outline. An outline is a guiding format students use to craft winning academic papers. Also taking note your outline with varies depending on the topic. Take a look at the following tips and learn how to craft an outline for a research paper.

Introduction: Hook, audience, claim and abstract

Most research papers are divided into three main parts namely introduction, body and conclusion. There could be subsections but if you have a strong grasp of the three, everything else becomes a breeze. Now, in writing your outline, the introduction is the first part. Let’s divide it into three subparts namely hook audience and claim.

To break it down, especially to a college rookie looking to write their first college research paper, a hook grabs the attention of readers. It can be a sentence that highlights the significance of your study or a brief overview of an existing problem. While some studies are limiting, a hook of five sentences is still recommended, especially if thought-provoking and relevant. You should also identify your audience in the introductory paragraph (who are you addressing or to which people will your study be useful?). Lastly, state your claim or reference for argument, ostensibly, what you intend to achieve. The abstract is a brief summary of your paper.

Body-, Literature review, findings, Argument and supporting details

The next section in a research outline is the body. However, given that a research paper is a product of systematic data/information collection, you should clearly state your points in a coherent and cohesive manner. The literature review is the main section of the body text. It summarizes your secondary data/information. You should ensure to reference relevant sections in the literature review.

Conclusion, recommendations and appendix

On your outline, also state the terms conclusion, recommendations and appendix. Remember that a research paper outline is a skeleton of your write-up. While you can write brief points to guide your write-up, it should be very brief. The conclusion summarizes your study in a few statements. Give your recommendations regarding research, especially areas that need improvement. Finally, the appendix lists your references-sources of information, data, images and more.