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How to Write an Outline for a Paper

It is impossible to cope with a broad research paper and thesis paper if you do not prepare a detailed outline, which will help you organize your thoughts in the proper order. The main role of an outline is to help you present your ideas in the logical way. Naturally, many students find outline writing difficult, because this section has its own standards and requirements of writing. You will get to know how to prepare an outline for academic paper if you look through these simple guidelines.

  • Step One: Plan Your Outline. If you want to complete a high-quality outline, you should know about its structure and manner of writing. Every outline contains the most important sections of your research paper. You will need to insert your introduction, the main body, conclusion, bibliography and appendices if you want to hand in a logical and well-formatted outline. The main body of the outline consists of several chapters devoted to the problem under analysis. Every chapter can be divided into several subtopics and subcategories. For example, a chapter can consist of three of four subsections, which observe it from different angles. Most often, an average academic paper consists of three or four major chapters, which consist of numerous minor subsections. When you plan your outline, you ought to get to know about the standards and norms of writing, because every professor requires his own format of writing (APA, MLA or Turabian). Ask him about these delicate issues in advance in order to avoid problems and misunderstanding.
  • Step Two: Choose the Topic and Define the Main Goal. You cannot prepare a good outline if you do not work out your topic. Therefore, you should choose the right topic, which is interesting for you. You ought to define the most important and interesting points related with the issue in order to gather the best supporting materials. Moreover, you need to define the major goal of your research. It will influence the development of your paper and the structure of your outline. Bear in mind that the structure of the outline depends on the topic and your research approach. If you write about a broad issue, you will have to build a detailed and broad outline. Every main chapter will be improved with numerous subtopics, which explain it from different sides. When you research a narrow topic, you do not have to make a long outline. You can invent several main chapters, which will consist of two or three related subtopics.
  • Step Three: Choose the Type of Your Outline. It is possible to choose two major styles of outline writing. You can write the chapters of your outline using short phrases or complete sentences. You ought to use the latter type if you have a broad topic, which consists of numerous specific elements.
  • Step Four: Writing the Outline. Bear in mind that you ought to present the main chapters of your outline in the proper chronological order. Start with the introduction and start thinking about the main parts. Then, you should invent at least two subsections for every main chapter in order to broaden your research. It is smart to choose the most persuasive and solid arguments for the role of a subtopic. When you write a broad research paper, you will have to work out much information. It is possible that you will broaden your subsections with the additional sub-points. Consequently, you will prepare the outline, which consists of several layers. Obviously, it is hard to work with these layers but it makes your paper look solidly.

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