Research papers can vary in length, subject matter discipline and in many other ways. In terms of forming an outline, however, they tend to have more similarities than differences. Here are some general steps to help you create your outline.
All research starts with atopic. This can be the most challenging part of the process and many students have proposed topics over and over to supervisors only to have them all shut down. Even if your topics are usually accepted right away, it’s better to put effort in at this stage and avoid the stress of additional work later on.The process of picking the topic itself can be broken down into these steps:
Once you know what topic you intend to pursue you can safely begin to come up with ideas on what direction you intend to approach it from. This can be extremely simple for straightforward topics but very hard for complicated ones so budget your time with these thoughts in mind.
Once you know what your research will be covering in general, you can decide where each part will be included in the actual research paper if you want it to flow well and engage the reader. This is still an outline, however, so remember that all of this is subject to change later on. Don’t get too attached to this format as it will most likely be altered.
Once your ideas have been lined up you may see a few of them that are less in keeping with your research than others. You can put these aside for possible re-entry if they prove themselves later on. More ideas may end up being replaced once you get into the research aspect and come across evidence that may or may not agree with the things you intended to include previously.
Research paper writing requires that you collect large amounts of information and analyze it to draw conclusions. At the outline stage, much of this information may not yet have been sourced or thoroughly reviewed so the paper in its complete form may not resemble the outline as much as you think.