Research Paper Outline
A good starting point, when learning the art of report writing, is to begin with an understanding of how to create a research paper outline. A research paper outline is a detailed sketch showing how the final paper will look in terms of content and layout. Outlines show, in note form, the bulk of the key information and the order in which it will appear in the finished document. So, understanding how to create a research paper outline is a foundation for the student in preparation for writing research papers because it shows them how to organize their data in a clear and structured fashion.
There are different ways to create a research paper outline. But a common theme in any approach is to arrange the outline in an order that develops from general ideas to specific ones. So, the outline starts with profile information about the subject and the thesis, or central assertion, and then provides specific details on each point. The profile, or background, information should appear first in the outline and should be numbered, 1 or I, and titled “Introduction”. So, it’s obvious that the Introduction should be the first section in the outline because it will be the first item in the completed paper.
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Following the Introduction, the next sections will make up the development paragraphs of the outline. This development will become the body text of the paper; it will be the lengthiest and most in-depth part of the paper where the writer will use the opportunity to expand and support their thesis. The amount of paragraphs in the body text will be variable and dependent on the number of main points in the report. So, for instance, if the paper is about climate change, and the thesis is on the steps that governments can take to minimize the dangers of climate change for the environment, then the body text might contain paragraphs on key steps a government could take e.g. a paragraphs on “Provide Homes with better Recycling Facilities”, “Encourage Householders to use Energy more Efficiently”, ”Educate Businesses on Green Issues” and so on.
When learning the concepts of writing a research paper outline, it is often the case that the student will correctly identify the key subject areas of the outline but omit to list the information that will comprise those paragraphs. Therefore, every main paragraph should show the key points that will make up that paragraph and, in doing so, support the thesis statement. So, from the above example, in the “Provide Homes with better Recycling Facilities” paragraph, the writer could elaborate this by describing the types of recycling facilities that could be provided.