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C. Creating an Outline

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❶Depending on the overall volume of your research paper, a hook can be from one to five sentences long. ZA Zoe Astra Apr

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Writing a good research paper outline

For a creative project, you might write down scene ideas or plot points. Write down everything you might include in your outline.

You can always eliminate ideas later! Here are some ways to organize your thoughts: Create a mind map. Write your thoughts on index cards. Develop a thesis or controlling idea for your outline. In most cases, this will be the thesis you use to complete the final product, such as an essay.

For example, you may be writing a paper about policy change. Write an alphanumeric outline for the easy approach.

Although you might not recognize the name, most outlines follow the alphanumeric format. Each level of your outline will be organized using a letter or number. Make a decimal outline to highlight the relationship between ideas.

A decimal outline looks very similar to an alphanumeric outline. However, a decimal outline only uses numbers, and each sublevel is set off with decimals. This allows you to illustrate that each sublevel is a part of a larger argument. Decide if you want to write full sentences or short phrases. Most outlines include short phrases, which are also called topic outlines. However, using full sentences can help you better understand your ideas. You might use full sentences to make it easier to write a final paper, to make a good study guide, or to fulfill the requirements of an assignment.

Group your ideas together. Review your brainstorming, placing related ideas in the same group. You can always eliminate ideas you realize are unnecessary. These groups will become main points, so narrow your groups down until you have your desired number of main points. For an essay or speech, that often means 3, but a creative piece may have more.

Sort your index cards, if you used them to brainstorm. Put cards with related ideas together. For example, you can put them in stacks, or you can line your cards out in rows to make them easier to read. Put each group in order from broad ideas to specific details. Broad ideas are more likely to be your main points, while details are the bits of information you will use to support those ideas. Depending on the purpose of your outline, you may have many subpoints and supporting details.

However, aim to have at least subpoints and supporting details for each main idea. Your subpoints might be that Victor Frankenstein is restored by nature and that his scientific efforts create a monster.

As supporting details, you might include quotes from the book. If you're writing a story or presenting a historical argument, a chronological order makes sense. For an essay or speech, pick the subtopic with the most supporting materials, and lead with this argument.

From there, order your major subtopics so each one naturally flows into the next. Outline your introduction as the first main point for a speech or essay. You can use either phrases or full sentences, depending on which you chose to use.

Some people prefer to write out their introduction, which is also okay. Here are the points you need in your introduction: The outline headings are your main points. These ideas should be drawn directly from your thesis or controlling idea. Frankenstein champions emotion over reason Full sentence outline: In Frankenstein , Mary Shelley champions the use of emotion over reason.

Write at least 2 subpoints for each main idea. These are the ideas that further explain your main point. In an essay, they might be your reasons for making your argument. In a creative work, they might be parts of your plot point. For example, a novel may have many subpoints. Similarly, a study guide will likely have several subpoints, as well. Add at least 2 supporting details for each subpoint. They might include direct quotes, statistics, facts, or examples. For a creative work, you might include essential details you must include in that scene, such as an internal conflict in your main character.

Similar to subpoints, you may have more supporting details, depending on your purpose. A novel or study guide will likely have more supporting details. Include more layers of your outline, if necessary. Most basic outlines will include 3 layers, but you may need more.

If this is the case, you can continue creating sublevels using the formatting structure you chose, either alphanumeric or decimal. For example, you might need more layers to provide more details.

In the Frankenstein example above, you might include a 4th layer to write out your commentary about the quotes you used to support your point. Your subpoints might include the following: Write a concluding statement. Your outline should relate back to your thesis or main idea, address the purpose you set out to achieve and reflect your audience. Revise your outline if ideas are missing or not fleshed out. In some cases, you may need to add more information, such as additional supporting details.

The revision process allows you to do that. You might also want to rewrite sentences or phrases to make your ideas clearer. Check for typos, grammatical errors, and formatting flaws. This will ensure you get full credit for your work. While you edit your outline, refer back to your assignment sheet or rubric to make sure you've completely fulfilled the assignment. If not, go back and correct the areas that are lacking. Add layers if necessary.

If you need to add additional sub-layers, use lowercase Roman numerals i, ii, iii, iv, etc. In most cases, three or four layers will be enough. Try to combine points first before you add a fifth. You might also include additional layers for a long creative work or a detailed study guide. It's best to start with a strong thesis statement that includes your reasons.

Then, dedicate each body paragraph to one of your claims, as well as the evidence that supports it. Make sure you break down your evidence in your body paragraphs. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 2. Yes, having an outline will help you familiarize yourself with the process of something.

It is your guide for your experiment, whatever kind is it. Having an outline is like planning. Not Helpful 17 Helpful How do I write an outline quickly when I am under time pressure during exams? Begin with reading the exam question quickly but thoroughly. As you read, jot down the major points that occur to you immediately.

Then address the outline, setting a time limit of 2 to 5 minutes to prepare it, filling in additional elements that didn't occur to you initially. Don't allow anything you can't think of to hold you up, it can be added as you go - the outline is just a quick, rough skeleton of one when it's created within an exam. Not Helpful 23 Helpful You could plan out your characters and plot as well as different parts, like setting.

If you have a theme or moral add that too. It may be hard to write a lot, but take it slow and practice. Not Helpful 15 Helpful The outline is meant to be done as the first step of your paper, outline, etc. It gets your ideas down on paper, gets your mind-wheels turning, without having to deal with all of the fancy and tedious details that come with putting your ideas into complete sentences.

It helps to pour out your mind, organize your research, and structure your final vision before you do the actual writing. It also helps to "road-map" your writing when you get to that step. Not Helpful 11 Helpful Think about whatever you want to write about that happened in your life, and then make an outline in either chronological order or in order of what you think is important, based on your own writing ability.

Not Helpful 16 Helpful Make sure you follow the instructions exactly. Have a thesis statement, and make sure the body supports the thesis. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings. In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present. Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under. Progress to a three-level outline.

A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly.

You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version. Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it. Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels.

The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections. Every heading and subheading should maintain a structure that is parallel to the other headings within its level.

Parallelism also refers to parts of speech and tense. If a heading starts with a verb, then the other headings must also start with a verb. Moreover, that verb must also be in the same tense usually present tense.

The information provided by your first major heading should be equal in importance to the information offered in your second major heading. The same can be said of sentences in subheadings, as well. Your major headings should identify major tasks or ideas. Your subheadings should elaborate on the points addressed in your major headings.

The information in your headings should be general and the subheadings should be more specific. For instance, if you were writing about memorable experiences from your childhood, "Memorable Childhood Experiences" would be the heading and the subheadings might look something like, "Vacation at 8 years old," "Favorite birthday party," and "Family trips to the park. Each major heading should be divided into two or more parts. In other words, you should have at least two subheadings for every major heading.

There is no limit on subheadings, but once you start forming a dozen or so subheadings under a single heading, you might find your outline looking cluttered and messy. Identify the research problem. As you prepare to write your outline, you need to specifically identify the research problem you are trying to address. This will guide the entire formation of your outline and your paper.

From this research problem, you will derive your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the entire purpose or argument of your research paper. This thesis statement will usually be written above the outline itself or within the first "Introduction" heading of the outline. Your research problem can also help you figure out a title. Identify your main categories. You also need to figure out what main points you plan on covering. All 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.

The main points are details that support or address your research paper. They should be very general in nature. Take a look at your research topic and determine the best possible order to deliver information. You might end up using a chronological arrangement or a spatial arrangement, but as a general rule, you will go from general ideas to specific ones.

Chronological arrangements generally only work if you have a topic that has some chronological history to it. For example, if you were researching the history of modern medicine, it would make sense that your paper and outline follow a chronological order. If your research topic does not have a history, though, you will probably end up using a spatial structure. For instance, if you are researching the effects of television and video games on the adolescent brain, you probably would not follow the chronology of the research.

Instead, you might describe the different contemporary schools of thought on the issue or otherwise follow some other spatial arrangement of ideas. Establish your major headings. Your first and last headings will be your "Introduction" and "Conclusions" sections, respectively. The other major headings will be represented by the main or major categories of your paper. In these instances, you can usually skip these two sections altogether, but you will need to write your thesis statement separately and above the outline.

Know what to include in your Introduction. Your "Introduction" heading will need to include your thesis, at minimum. You might also want to briefly list your main points and your hook. Note that these elements will usually be listed as subpoints, not as major headings. The major heading for the section will be "Introduction.

Understand what the body of your outline will consist of.

Introduction

Main Topics

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The following outline is for a page paper discussing the link between educational attainment and health. Review the other sections of this page for more detailed information about each component of this outline!

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Research Paper Outline Examples Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper .

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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 needs to be, it should still follow the . Jul 07,  · How to Write an Outline Five Parts: Sample Outlines Planning Your Outline Structuring Your Outline Organizing Your Ideas Finalizing Your Outline Community Q&A An outline is a great way to organize ideas and information for a speech, an essay, a 77%(12).

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An outline is a “blueprint” or “plan” for your paper. It helps you to organize your thoughts and arguments. A good outline can make conducting research and then writing the paper very efficient. Sample Outlines for Essays and Research Papers Sample outlines for narrative, expository, and other essay types. These clear, simple, and useful outlines provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to organize and outline your ideas before writing an essay.