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Student Guide: Writing a Research Paper Outline

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❶All of these main points will be listed in your introduction and listed as part or all of you major headings for the body part of your paper. In other words, you should have at least two subheadings for every major heading.

Writing a good research paper outline

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A research paper outline, however, will also have a hypothesis or thesis as part of the introduction. Whether the main idea is called a thesis or hypothesis depends on the discipline. For scientific research papers the term hypothesis is often used.

For non-scientific papers, like liberal arts research papers, the main idea of the paper is often called the thesis. The introduction of the research paper outline needs to have a thesis or hypothesis that illustrates the claim the paper is trying to prove.

Following the introduction the points needed to prove the thesis are provided. These ideas may be given in sentence or phrase format, depending on what the professor requires. The more formal method is to use a sentence format, which, according to the Purdue University Writing Lab, is often used for essays. When using the alphanumeric outline format, the introduction will start with a Roman numeral one: Next, capital letters A,B,C and so on are written below the thesis. These letters are subheadings that provide more detail about the ideas presented in the thesis.

For a research paper, several paragraphs are most likely required to thoroughly discuss the topic and help prove the thesis.

Using the alphanumeric format mentioned above requires that a Roman numeral be used for the general title of the first body paragraph. Capital letters are required for the subheadings under the title. Then Arabic numerals are used for subheadings revealing more detailed information on the topic.

Subheadings under this are illustrated by lower case letters. The following section illustrates how a body paragraph may look. Note that in this example, each level of the outline should be indented. The Roman numeral "II" would be on the left margin, and "A" and "B" would both be indented one tab, for example.

Overview of the Works of Classical Composers A. It does not have to be the first section written because, in many cases, the final title will not occur to you until you have finished writing the report.

Nowadays, most research establishments have a database to search titles by keyword so try to make sure that your title contains these. This is doubly important if your research is likely to be published on the internet. The authors section should include your name, as the main writer of the report, alongside the name of your supervisor. In the case of working as part of a team, you should usually include the other members of your group here. The abstract is the most crucial part of the report because anybody searching for your research on a database or in a journal will usually read only the abstract.

Therefore, it must summarize your research, results and conclusions in less than words. Sometimes it is good to think of it as a sample of your research rather than a review ; it should inform the researcher that your article contains the information they need.

There are a few ideas on how to write your abstract but the best advice is that you look at some journals relevant to your research and try to format your abstract in a similar way. This section and is merely a breakdown of sections and subsections by page number. For a short and straightforward paper it may not be necessary to include a contents page. This is not mandatory for a research paper. This section of your report is where you will document all the painstaking research into the background of your experiment.

The main thing to bear in mind, when writing the introduction , is that a scientist who is unfamiliar with your exact subject matter may be reading the article. It is important, therefore, to try and give a quick and condensed history of the research leading to your experiment, with correct citations. You should also give a little background on why you chose to do this particular experiment and what you expect to find.

For this portion of your report you must describe the methods used when performing the experiment. This should include, if relevant, the location and times of sample collection, what equipment was utilized, and the techniques used. The idea behind the methodology section is that another researcher can exactly replicate your experiments without having to guess what equipment and what techniques should be used.

Scientific articles are peer reviewed and this includes the possibility that other researchers may try to replicate your results. There have been many high profile scientific breakthroughs over the years whose results were unable to be repeated; these experiments were disregarded.

For field studies you should give an exact map reference and time as well as including a map in the appendix.

If you used complex machinery or computer programs in the course of your experiment, to avoid breaking the flow of your report, you should give only the main information and refer to the exact technical specifications in the appendix.

These should be a quick synopsis of the facts, figures and statistical tests used to arrive at your final results. You should try to avoid cluttering up your report and insert most of your raw data into the appendix.

It is far better to stick with including only tables and graphs that show clearly the results. Do not be tempted to insert large numbers of graphs and figures just for the sake of it; each figure and graph should be mentioned, referred to and discussed in the text. Try to avoid putting in tables and graphs showing the same information; select the type that shows your results most clearly. It is usually preferable to use graphs and relegate the tables to the appendix because it is easier to show trends in graphical format.

Figures and graphs should be clear and occupy at least half a page; you are not a magazine editor trying to fit a small graph into an article. All such information must be numbered, as diagrams for graphs and illustrations, and figures for tables; they should be referred to by this number in the body of the report. You do not need to put the full breakdown of the calculations used for your statistical tests; most scientists hate statistics and are only interested in whether your results were significant or not.

Relegate the calculations to the appendix. The results section of your report should be neutral and you should avoid discussing your results or how they differed from or compared with what was expected. Once you are done with the draft, present the draft of an outline for a paper to the teacher to get feedback at the initial stage of work. How to write a thesis outline for a research paper using MLA? It is applied to the assignments written for the English Composition, History, Literature, and some other humanitarian classes.

The primary MLA research paper outline is the draft. No need to include plenty of details when working on a draft but put the things in the correct order not to get lost in the middle of the writing process. An outline helps to determine the way a student will build other important sections such as Literature Review. Will it appear in chronological or alphabetical sequence? Have a look at the offered example of an outline for a research paper after observing the details.

Experts recommend titling the essay after the report is done. Check the possible alternative titles on the web — modern scientists have established various possible ideas in separate databases.

Try to come up with the original name for your project. Make the reader believe the given paper contains the useful information on the relevant problem and matters for the development of science. Add a contents page if the prompt tells to do it. Painstake the study into the background of the experiment.

Put yourself in the shoes of the potential reader and think about why this person would be interested in reading about a particular problem from cover to cover. Share the history of the study based on other related studies conducted before. Explain the reasons for choosing the specific topic examples and doing a particular experiment; include the things you were expecting to find during the process.

A hypothesis thesis statement should conclude the opening paragraph. To sum up, the introduction must have:. It makes sense this section talks about the methods tools, equipment, approaches, and other sources the scientists used to experiment. The research papers are peer-reviewed; other people may want to join the experiment.

Scientists often mix these 2 sections.

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Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper.

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Tutorial to the research paper outline. It helps you through the steps of writing a research paper. Good writing is essential for any article or term paper.

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Aug 23,  · How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper. Writing an outline for a research paper can seem like a time consuming task, and you may not understand the value of it if you have never written one before. Outlines can help you structure 77%(62). For a standard research paper of pages, your outline should be no more than four pages in length. It may be helpful as you are developing your outline to also write down a tentative list of references. Four Main Components for Effective Outlines. The Writing Lab and The OWL.

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The Basic Outline of a Paper The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper If a research paper, use strong evidence from sources—paraphrases, summaries, and quotations that support the main points III. Conclusion. It is impossible to imagine a flawless writing process without mastering an art of developing a powerful research paper outline. This type of college academic assignment requires much more sections than an ordinary high school essay, so follow our guide not to get lost in the writing process.