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Online Guide to Writing and Research

The Research Process

Planning and Writing a Research Paper

Why Outline?

It can be difficult to start from scratch when you begin a draft. An outline is very beneficial in the beginning stage of your writing. Here are a few ways an outline can help: 

  • organize your ideas  

  • present your material in a logical form 

  • show the relationships among your ideas  

  • construct an ordered overview of the topic 

How to Create an Outline

Begin by brainstorming. Write down a few main ideas about the text or assignment and then narrow them down into two or three main points. From these main ideas, you will get a sense of what you are going to write about. This is called a thesis, the central statement or argument of an essay: the purpose of your paper. You will need supporting evidence to uphold your main ideas or argument. Once you have these components, you will be able to create an effective essay.  

For a sample outline, visit this page: Online Guide Sample Outline Chapter Two

Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process.  If you are struggling at all with your research paper, try writing an outline and see if that helps.  

Here is another link to a great resource about outlines: Prewriting and Outlining  


Key Takeaways

  • As you manage your research project, keep the dynamic character of outlining in mind.
  • Outlines can be very beneficial to the overall writing process.

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing