research paper prompts

How to write an outline for a research paper

Every essay and particularly every research paper requires solid preparation beforehand. In fact you can easily mount an argument which says that the more preparation you do before the actual writing, the better and the easier the writing will become. The preparation of how to write a research paper covers a number of areas including the following.

  • choice of topic
  • outline or plan
  • details including word length and format
  • research resources

In discovering how to write an outline for a research paper, you will learn that the choice of your topic for your research paper is of paramount importance. By selecting a topic with which you are already familiar or which you know has abundant research material available, you're making your task easier, much easier. If you don't agree, think of the opposite situation. You don't like the topic and there are few resources available for research. Still feel happy to continue? And to be sure that the choice of topic is one you are looking forward to writing about and which has numerous excellent research resources, talk it over with your lecturer or tutor. That's what the academic staff members are there for; among other things. Don't do it alone. Spend time talking to your supervisor so that you are absolutely rock solid in your choice of topic.

Then we move to the second area of how to write a research paper which is the creation of an outline or plan. This is a vital. Knowing how to write an outline for a research paper is essential. The more time you spend creating your outline and the more detail you include inside the outline, the better your finished research paper will be. You will write with ease. You will know what you are about to write about because all the preparation has enabled you to create evidence and information to fill the detailed paragraphs. What should your outline look like?

This is simple. Think of three large rectangles one on top of the other. The top rectangle is called introduction. The middle rectangle is called the body paragraphs. The lower rectangle is called conclusion. That in a nutshell is your outline. What you now need to do is fill each rectangle with the various relevant pieces of information. In the introduction it will be your opening sentence in your thesis statement. In the middle rectangle it will be the various points, in order of importance, which will be contained in your body paragraphs. And in the lowest rectangle it will be your summary.

Generally speaking, you don't write much of anything in the outline of your lower box because the summary is the last thing you produce. Once you've finished writing the details found in the first two rectangles, you are easily able to write the summary which is your conclusion.

Check the finer points first

You must be sure you know the details, such as how many words you are expected to produce in your research paper and which format you are to follow. Again this is elementary stuff. You must be sure all of these facts before you proceed. That's what the academic staff members are there for.

And finally you want to make yourself a list of research resources. Which books, journals and other media publications are likely to provide you with information relevant to the topic of your research paper?

The format of your research paper

This is an integral and essential component of your research paper. Ask what is required. Get the research paper format right. You will probably find your college and a particular academic will have a preferred format be it APA, MLA or some other format. Learn the requirements and use them to the letter. Once you get the hang of the format rules, it is easy to comply.

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