When you begin writing an outline for a research paper, it can be helpful to think of it as a blueprint, or road map for the final work. Where will you take your reader? What intellectual landscapes will be explored? What discussions and arguments do you plan to have along the way?
A good outline will also help you make efficient and effective use of your writing and research time. If you start out with a well-prepared outline and a good plan, time and brain cells will be conserved down the path. Here are some tips to turn out a top quality outline for your next research paper.
Your title may be changed slightly following consultations with your course supervisors and advisers. However, you should have a clear idea of where you plan to take your research and writing and this will be reflected in your preliminary title. You need to include your name and details as author.
What is the area of thought that you plan to explore? What is the position that you will take and defend as you conduct the research and writing necessary to complete the assignment? Put it all together in a concise, precise, thesis statement.
How do you plan to defend the claims that you have made in this work? You will also need to include information detailing the methodology you plan to utilize, as well as the experiments, interviews or research that you will be conducting. If there is any specialized equipment or techniques you plan on making use of, now is the time to let your instructors know.
You no doubt have a good idea of where your inquiries will take you. Predictably, you cannot draw any concrete conclusions until you have conducted the research that needs to be done, reflected on the results you have received and drawn your conclusions. But it is important that you demonstrate that you have a goal in mind.
You should have already looked into what material is available for you to use as you get started on your paper. Be sure to include a list of the sources that you will be using to back up the work you will present in your finished paper. Always check with your course supervisor to make sure that you know which method of citation they prefer!