Standard Outline for a Research Paper – Guide

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There is a reason that outlines can be lifesavers. They provide an essay writer with a sketch to follow when he writes his essay. It is infinitely better than writing a paper by starting it right away. Before you formulate an outline, the content and ideas in your head are little more than chaotic assemblies of random information. It is your job to convert this into meaningful content that has something clear and concrete to offer.

Why you Need an Outline…

No matter how much you have studied, you cannot help but be side-tracked from the subject matter and form the thesis statement itself. Also, it is nearly impossible to ensure the quality that comes with logically connecting every sentence to the one that precedes and follows it. The sentences, ideas, and paragraphs have to build upon each other and this cannot be achieved if you do a fantastic literature review and start writing right away.

After all, there is more to an essay than just dumping information in a heap for the reader to decipher. This can effectively put an end to any willingness to go through your essay. The last thing you want is all that you study going to waste as far as this essay is concerned.

If you are convinced of the importance of preparing an outline or you just have to write one because it has been assigned by your professor, now is the time to know how to get the most helpful outline written.

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Study Voraciously…

Reading and studying is important. The first stage regarding any essay or outline is the literature review and reading of the required material. Read as your life depends on it (less drastically, your essay). Don’t just read, read with a purpose. Note down the important points that your essay will revolve around and formulate a thesis statement. Note down all the ideas that you can use for a detailed discussion.

Mind Maps can be Just What you Need at this Point…

When you are done with exhaustive reading (the kind of reading that you exhaust, not the one that exhausts you), it is important to sit down and draw a mind map. Allocate four to five points to each of your paragraphs. Every paragraph has to be based on one idea and that idea has to be explained by one topic sentence and about three other supporting sentences. Each paragraph has to end in a transition sentence that paves the way for the next paragraph.

Organize and narrow down all the ideas in such a way. Remember that the introductory paragraph has to have a thesis statement while the conclusion has to restate it and add a twist to the idea. Your mind map can provide structure to your thoughts. It will be like an outline of your outline!

Just Write…

The last thing is to follow the mind map and note all the points down. Once you have written your outline, make sure that you cite the information that you may have paraphrased. Quote from any texts that need to be quoted from and cite accordingly. Read your outline once again. If you can practically see your paper coming together, you have to yourself the perfect outline.

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