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Writing papers in college requires you to come up with sophisticated, complex, and sometimes very creative ways of structuring your ideas. Taking the time to draft an outline can help you determine if your ideas connect to each other, what order of ideas works best, where gaps in your thinking may exist, or whether you have sufficient evidence to support each of your points. Research your topic, find reliable sources, and come up with a working thesis.
The sentence outline is also useful because sentences themselves have many of the details in them needed to build a paper and it allows you to include those details in the sentences instead of having to create an outline of short phrases that goes on page after page.
A strong outline details each topic and subtopic in your paper, organizing these points so that they build your argument toward an evidence-based conclusion.
Writing an outline will also help you focus on the task at hand and avoid unnecessary tangents, logical fallacies, and underdeveloped paragraphs.
If you discover that it's difficult to create an outline from what you have written, then you likely need to revise your paper.
Many students miss this step, diminishing its overall impact.
Use our research paper outline guide to learn how to outline a research paper. University of North Carolina; Reverse Outlines: A Writer's Technique for Examining Organization. A good way to check your progress is to use what you have written to recreate the outline. Indiana University; Writing: Considering Structure and Organization. How do you know whether to change the paper to fit the outline, or, that you need to reconsider the outline so that it fits the paper?There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Whether you’re in a history, literature, or science class, you’ll probably have to write a research paper at some point.It may seem daunting when you’re just starting out, but staying organized and budgeting your time can make the process a breeze.Be sure to leave plenty of time to make revisions, as editing is essential if you want to hand in your best work!Tip: Some people prefer to write the introduction first and use it to structure the rest of the paper.As soon as your paper is ready, you should proofread and edit the outline.An outline for a research paper is as important as the paper itself. If the resulting outline says what you want it to say and it is in an order that is easy to follow, then the organization of your paper has been successful. This is an effective strategy for assessing the organization of your paper.