How to Write an Outline for Research Paper

Outline for a Research Paper
Outlines for research papers are made by the two main approaches: the sentence outline and the topic outline. The article examines these ways to creating outlines and presents some tips on how to make them better. 

The first approach to composing an outline is the sentence outline. The name pretty much says it everything. It is written in complete sentences. It is mostly used when research paper intends to examine some complex issues and reveal them as much as possible. Many students like to use the sentence outline because the sentences they compose already contain a lot of useful information which can be used for writing. For example, if such structure has a point described in four or five sentences it can give the writer the outline for that point. The information that is needed can be found and the writing process starts in no time. Here is a sample sentence of the sentence outline element. You can later compare it with the example of the other approach below. 

  • Failure of the efforts by activists and beginning of a new era in war with large oil giants in 2003. 
The second approach to writing an outline of research paper is the topic outline. It means that the structure of your work is described in short phrases. Writers that tend to use this approach have to examine different issues in the paper and arrange them differently. Short phrases create more complex structure that allows studying more information than in the first approach we described. Here is the sample sentence of this approach: 

  • Anti-oil companies campaign in 2003. 
Important thing to remember when writing an outline is to clearly identify the main problem. It is the focal point of your work so make sure you present it as clearly as you can. Next, the main categories of your thesis should be identified appropriately. These categories will be analyzed by you in the body of your paper so decide which ones are worth studying. Moreover categories in the paper can be developed into several subsections in order to thoroughly research them. Remember that the introduction of your research paper should focus on clear identification of your thesis and its categories, and the rest of the work should be aimed at the description of these elements. You may want to use chronological order in presenting your content where necessary. For example, if you are writing a history research paper and need to study the sequence of events or trace a story. 

There is no clear indication which approach of composing an outline should be used for particular papers. However, it is better to stick to one of the approaches for one outline. You should also keep in mind that standard research paper usually contains 15 – 20 pages, so make sure your outline gives you enough room for writing this amount of pages. Writing professionals recommend creating outline that has four pages in length for standard research papers.