How to write guide: outline of a research paper

The outline of a research paper will help you streamline your thoughts and get your evidence together before you actually write. Devote a good amount of time to your outline, and the time spent actually writing your paper will be reduced immensely. If you are unsure of what to include in your outline, here is the basic format that you can follow.

    I. The Introduction

    A. The introduction will start with some kind of attention grabber, and eventually lead into your thesis.

    B. Your thesis is the main point of the research paper that you are going to try to prove or argue.

    II. The Body Paragraph

    A. The topic sentence is the first sentence of your body paragraph, and it will directly relate to your thesis statement that you wrote in the introduction. Each topic sentence should cover a different idea.

    B. The evidence of the paragraph is what is going to back up your topic sentence. Make sure that each piece of evidence, whether it is a quote or statistic, relates only to that paragraph. This will ensure that your paper is easy to read and does not jump around.

    C. The transitional statement is the last sentence of a body paragraph. It wraps up the paragraph you just wrote, and leads you into the next one. Sometimes these are tricky to write, so you can fill these in last if you need to.

    III. The Conclusion

    A. The conclusion will be a summary of all of the topic sentences that you have used. Don’t just copy them, but make them into a flowing paragraph that sums up your essay. Don’t ever start your concluding paragraph with “in conclusion…” If it is well-written, your readers will know it is you summary.

    B. The last sentence of your research paper should lead the audience to consider the topic and how it relates to them. This sentence can also be tricky, but again, you can always come back to it when you write your paper.

If you noticed how this article was written, it shows you how your outline should look. Major paragraphs will start with a number, and the points or sentences underneath will start with a letter (some people prefer it the other way around but that is your call). This will help you keep your paragraphs organized. Once you complete your outline, you are well on your way to just changing your points into sentences and completing the written draft of your research paper.