A good outline is necessary before beginning to write a research paper. Few writers can finish a good research paper without an outline. The best outline format for research a paper begins with a strong thesis statement, then goes on to support that statement in logical order. The thesis statement tells the reader what the paper is going to be about, in one sentence. A good thesis statement gives a strong opinion about a specific topic, and often, opens a debate.
After completing the research for the paper, begin writing the outline. The thesis statement always comes first, as part one of the outline format for a research paper. Next comes the body of the outline, where the argument, analysis or explanation is developed. The thesis has made a strong statement, and now is the time to deliver a further explanation for the statement. Lay out the evidence, reasons or data to support the statement, item by item, in logical order. Every item that is added to the outline must relate back to the thesis, and support it. Each major part of the argument must be marked with a Roman numeral, with the supporting points shown beneath. The supporting points must be marked with a number or letter as well. Remember that everything in the outline format for a research paper must support the thesis. Opposing views may be included, but if they are, they must be strongly refuted.
Go through your research notes to gather the basic elements of the outline. You may find that some of your research notes do not apply to your topic after all. If so, do not include them in the outline. You may also find that your thesis changes slightly as you assemble your notes. This is natural, and you can go back later to adjust the thesis statement to reflect the growth of your ideas.
The outline format for a research paper always includes an introduction, which includes the thesis, a body, where the main points are laid out in logical order, and a conclusion. In the outline format for a research paper, the conclusion repeats the statement given in the thesis, with expanded supporting reasons. Once you have a thorough outline completed, you are ready to begin writing. Use it as a guide for delivering the best research paper you can possibly write.
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