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A research paper outline example can show you at a glance how to set up, create and use an outline effectively to save you time in writing an help you write a higher quality paper. Once you've chosen your topic, you need to decide what the scope of your paper will be. Don't make the topic too general or broad, because you can't discuss it in full detail. Too narrow and it will be more difficult to find sufficient research and background sources. A good sample outline will show you how many main points should be included and how much evidence from the literature is needed to back up each one.

  • Reasons for using an outline
    • Helps you group your ideas into logical sequence and see the connections between each
    • Serves as a guide to writing your paper, which saves time and helps you complete the writing in a more efficient manner
    • Ensures your paper has a smooth flow and transitions well from one paragraph to the next
    • Shows you where there may be a lack of evidence or more research required to find the missing evidence you require

    The outline consists of three main parts. They are the introduction, body and conclusion. The outline serves to show you if your investigation is complete. The introduction and conclusion are both summaries of the body of the paper, so it's the best idea to begin by writing the body.

  • The body of the research paper
    • You present all your arguments which you are using to support your paper's theses statement
    • Provide a minimum of three supporting statements for each main idea
    • Organize each main idea into a paragraph of its own
    • Follow the requirements for style and formatting as provided by your teacher
    • Start with a fairly strong argument in the first paragraph, and then build up your credibility by providing increasingly strong arguments with each subsequent paragraph
  • The introduction
  • Use the outline you created to write your introduction. Make sure each main idea is mentioned.

  • The conclusion
  • Use the outline and the body of the paper you wrote to craft a compelling conclusion. Don't add any new material that wasn't already covered in the body of the paper. Your final stand is stated here. Explain why and how you arrived at your final conclusion in this paragraph. This is your last and final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your reader.

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