research paper prompts

3 steps to make an argumentative research paper outline


Once you pick your topic, it is time to start writing your outline. You should have created some ideas with free writing or brainstorming by now, and have a thesis prepared. At this point, it is time to create an outline. The outline enables you to categorize your main arguments, to organize your paragraphs into whatever order makes the most sense, and to make sure that every idea you have can be fully developed in your paper. Essentially, the purpose of your outline is to prevent you from getting stuck when you finally start writing the paper.

The outline gives you a map of where your essay will go. With a well-developed outline, you can show what your thesis will be, what your main body paragraph ideas will be, what evidence and support you will offer for each paragraph, and how you close.

Step 1: Gather all of your notes and any research materials you have in support of your topic. You will need to collect these and organize them to make your outline.

Step 2: Find a style for the outline with which you are comfortable. In many outlines, students use roman numbers to indicate the body paragraphs. Next to each Roman numeral, students typically write the central idea for the paragraph and its relation to the thesis. The letters that appear beneath the Roman Numerals are meant to show details that each paragraph will offer in support of the central idea of that paragraph. If some of the details need multiple explanations, then it is dictated by numbers beneath the letters.

Step 3: Make sure your outline accomplishes what it should accomplish for you. The outline should accomplish many things. It should show that your main ideas are grouped in an order that reads well. IT should have a main idea for every paragraph. It should also have supporting evidence. It should organize your entire essay so that you can follow it simply and convert it into a first draft. It is important to remember that the outline takes a bit of time, but doing it well will save you quite a bit of time in the long run.

Once you have your outline, it is time to write the first draft. And in order to start writing, you need to know how to adequately set up your paragraphs and make transitions.

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