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How to Write a Research Paper Outline: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

How to Write a Research Paper?

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The vast majority of scientific reports can be broken down into the following constituent parts. Although the title is the shortest page of your report, it is often the most difficult to write. It is important to make clear to a researcher everything that needs saying but without the title being overlong and unwieldy. It does not have to be the first section written because, in many cases, the final title will not occur to you until you have finished writing the report.

Nowadays, most research establishments have a database to search titles by keyword so try to make sure that your title contains these.

This is doubly important if your research is likely to be published on the internet. The authors section should include your name, as the main writer of the report, alongside the name of your supervisor.

In the case of working as part of a team, you should usually include the other members of your group here. The abstract is the most crucial part of the report because anybody searching for your research on a database or in a journal will usually read only the abstract.

Therefore, it must summarize your research, results and conclusions in less than words. Sometimes it is good to think of it as a sample of your research rather than a review ; it should inform the researcher that your article contains the information they need. There are a few ideas on how to write your abstract but the best advice is that you look at some journals relevant to your research and try to format your abstract in a similar way.

This section and is merely a breakdown of sections and subsections by page number. For a short and straightforward paper it may not be necessary to include a contents page. This is not mandatory for a research paper.

This section of your report is where you will document all the painstaking research into the background of your experiment. The main thing to bear in mind, when writing the introduction , is that a scientist who is unfamiliar with your exact subject matter may be reading the article. It is important, therefore, to try and give a quick and condensed history of the research leading to your experiment, with correct citations.

You should also give a little background on why you chose to do this particular experiment and what you expect to find. For this portion of your report you must describe the methods used when performing the experiment. This should include, if relevant, the location and times of sample collection, what equipment was utilized, and the techniques used.

The idea behind the methodology section is that another researcher can exactly replicate your experiments without having to guess what equipment and what techniques should be used. Scientific articles are peer reviewed and this includes the possibility that other researchers may try to replicate your results. There have been many high profile scientific breakthroughs over the years whose results were unable to be repeated; these experiments were disregarded.

For field studies you should give an exact map reference and time as well as including a map in the appendix. If you used complex machinery or computer programs in the course of your experiment, to avoid breaking the flow of your report, you should give only the main information and refer to the exact technical specifications in the appendix. These should be a quick synopsis of the facts, figures and statistical tests used to arrive at your final results.

You should try to avoid cluttering up your report and insert most of your raw data into the appendix. It is far better to stick with including only tables and graphs that show clearly the results. Do not be tempted to insert large numbers of graphs and figures just for the sake of it; each figure and graph should be mentioned, referred to and discussed in the text. Try to avoid putting in tables and graphs showing the same information; select the type that shows your results most clearly.

It is usually preferable to use graphs and relegate the tables to the appendix because it is easier to show trends in graphical format. Figures and graphs should be clear and occupy at least half a page; you are not a magazine editor trying to fit a small graph into an article. All such information must be numbered, as diagrams for graphs and illustrations, and figures for tables; they should be referred to by this number in the body of the report.

Will the professor support your argument or will he have a counterargument? When defining your audience, you will comprehend what type of language is better to use: The overall style and tone of your research paper depend on the audience it is aimed at. There is no research paper without proper and thorough research. You will have to investigate a lot of resources in order to find effective evidence to support your argument.

Firstly, you will have to find general information to support your thesis statement, then you will have to dig deeper. You will have to be aware of any counter arguments and evidence supporting them. This way you will master the topic and comprehend the pitfalls of your thesis statement better.

References are the evidence of each of your arguments and the research you have conducted. You should prioritize them according to the importance and relevance to your thesis statement. Writing a good research paper outline When you are finished with pre-writing activities, created a good research paper topic, you are more than ready to make an effective research paper outline.

Essay Editors that may help. There are three main points that make an impressive Introduction: Depending on the overall volume of your research paper, a hook can be from one to five sentences long. This the part that persuades readers to read the paper. A hook should be interesting and provoking — you need your readers to want to read your research paper. In your pre-writing activities, you had to define the audience for yourself — you had to understand who would be interested in reading your paper.

Here, however, you need to explain to your reader why she or he is your target audience. The Introduction and the whole text, for that matter, should be relatable. Here you state your argument. You make a clear point about what you are going to discuss and why is it important.

Your thesis statement should be clear and simple but never dull. You want the readers to read your paper especially after the research you have conducted and materials you have gone through. Body The Body is the main part of the research paper outline you are writing.

Stuck on Your Research Paper Outline? Check out these research paper example. Conclusion The conclusive part of the research paper has to summarize the arguments so the readers digest the main idea and remember it for a long time. In this short section, you again state your strongest arguments.

There is no need to provide a deep explanation of your ideas or evidence to each of them. Nonetheless, you will have to give a general overview of the arguments you used in the research paper. The remaining headings, again, use standard sentence capitalization rules. Keep matters of length in mind. Your outline should run no longer than one-quarter to one-fifth the total estimated size of your final research paper.

For a four to five page paper, you only need a single page outline. For a 15 to 20 page paper, your outline will usually run no longer than four pages. Familiarize yourself with a one-level outline. A one-level outline only uses major headings and no subheadings.

Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed. It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in.

Move onto a two-level outline. Two-level outlines are a little more common for research papers. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings. In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present. Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under.

Progress to a three-level outline. A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly. You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version. Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it.

Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels. The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections.

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.

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A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline an INTRODUCTION, a BODY, and a CONCLUSION. Make the first outline tentative.

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What is an outline for a research paper and how to write an outline for a research paper? The primary thing is to provide a clear definition. An academic project outline is an action plan a student prepares not to get lost during the process of writing, and this piece reflects the main points of the text.

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In papers where you need to trace the history or chronology of events or issues, it is important to arrange your outline in the same manner, knowing that it's easier to re-arrange things now than when you've almost finished your paper. For a standard research paper of pages, your outline should be no more than four pages in length. It may be helpful as you are developing your outline to also write . The outline structure is approximately the same whether you write a research outline on dreams or some topic distant from this one, like a research outline for PhD application. The structure is identical to the structure of the research paper itself.

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Tutorial to the research paper outline. It helps you through the steps of writing a research paper. Good writing is essential for any article or term paper. How to Write a Research Paper Outline: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide access_time March 29, Writing a research paper outline is a rather challenging but usual part of student’s life.