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. Each main heading within the body portion of your outline will be labeled by a short phrase or sentence addressing a main category of your research paper.
As with the actual paper itself, this portion of your outline will hold all the significant content. Arrange the Conclusions section. This section will not contain much information, but you still need to provide at least two subpoints under the main heading.
Restate and rephrase your thesis. If you drew any additional conclusions based on your research, list them here. This will usually be your final point within the outline. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Already answered Not a question Bad question Other.
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Basically, your outline will constitute three main sections: the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. But to make sure your paper is complete, consult your instructor for specific parts they wants to be included in your research paper. Sample outlines for research papers will follow.
Outlining your first draft by listing each paragraph's topic sentence can be an easy way to ensure that each of your paragraphs is serving a specific purpose in your paper. You may find opportunities to combine or eliminate potential paragraphs when outlining—first drafts often contain repetitive ideas or sections that stall, rather than advance, the paper's .
Creating Outlines by Kathleen Lietzau (printable version here) What is an Outline? An outline is a way of formally arranging and developing ideas. Though structured, there is a great amount of flexibility in making an outline. It can be made either before there is a single word on the paper or after a draft or two. 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 format of having an introduction, body, and conclusion.
A 10 page research paper outline shouldn’t contain any unnecessary details that will distract you from the main point. Ten page paper outline: Steps to writing it Writing an outline for an outline for an page research paper is not easier than doing the same for a page paper.