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A quick guide on how to write an outline for research paper

The outline is an important component to paper writing. It comes before the actual writing and if it is done properly it will ensure that your writing goes smoothly. Creating an outline takes much longer than most of the other parts of your paper because it creates the foundation for your work.

The outline can be constructed in bullet point form where you only include bulleted notes about your paragraphs and structure and evidence. Or you can create an outline with sentence form that creates full sentences beneath each point and argument. In any case you need to mark where your evidence will be placed and include a citation.

When you are writing a research paper you need to find something that you can argue. This is called your thesis or topic. You might be analyzing a document in which case you need to find images or metaphors that are used regularly by an author. You might look for interpretations for a pattern in science that has not yet been made. Whatever you identify to analyze in your paper you must ensure that the reader comes away with a better understanding of the book or topic. For example: if you are writing about a poem, you want to reader to come away with a better understanding of the poem. If you are researching speeches made by a certain individual in history, you want the readers to come away with better knowledge on that person and their speeches.

Things you can look for and argue when writing a paper:

  • What philosophical ideas the author is opposing or advocating
  • What moral ideas the author is opposing or advocating
  • What ethical ideas the author is opposing or advocating
  • What consequences exist because of accepting a particular argument
  • How the author convinces readers of their side of things.

For example: if you are writing a research paper, you will need to critically analyze the tools and methods that an author uses make their argument, or convince the readers of their results. You will need to check if they appealed to emotions or if they used logic.

Look over areas of a text or a case study that is most often taken for granted by the average reader and see if you can critically evaluate it more. See if you find an argument that is inconsistent with itself, or is inadequate, misleading, or unethical.

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