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Author: Julia Stuart
Why Outline is Important?
Imagine thread tangles. While reading a long chapter, passage or a research paper, a lot of ideas pop in the head and they are all tangled. Any experienced tailor would use beeswax to pull the thread through and protect the thread from twists and knots. The abundance of thoughts that occurs by the end of a chapter also needs some kind of beeswax.
An outline is magic beeswax we need so badly to untangle the thoughts. It’s a plan that helps sort out the information for any type of text. Usually, college students have to deal with a research paper outline. Here are some handy tips to maximize the process of learning and write an outline of your dream.
Before proceeding directly to an outline, there’s some work that needs to be done first.
Step 1: Search related resources
Information – is a canvas for a thread of your thoughts to create a picture on a paper. The more resources you use the more your paper gets saturated.
• Search your topic in the list of recommended literature to your course.
• Go through the Internet. There is a range of open data basis for research articles and journals. Check out some related research on your topic. It may not necessarily state the same but, if one sentence catches your glance, you are able to find more information about its source in the list of references and pursue your research.
• Don’t get too deep into the subject. If you can write a monograph on your subject, it’s totally great. But it’s not the case right now, save it for later. All you need is enough information to cover the topic and make it engaging to read.
• Too profound research may waste the time for writing. Try to stick to the path and spend time wisely.
Step 2: Define Your Objective
By this point, you’ve gathered enough information. Does it have a point? Well, it definitely should have one.
• Ask yourself: what I am going for in this paper? What is my objective? The reader should take something useful form your work. So, decide on the idea your reader will figure out by the end of the paper.
• Put your objective in one sentence. For example, this article aims to teach the readers how to write an outline by the end.
• Keep this target point written out in front of you. Thus, you won’t get off track and use needless information in the paper.
Step 3: Write Down Bullet Points
We recommend following this step while reading books and article in step 1.
• Underline the main point in each paragraph and write them down. Or draw a conclusion for a whole article and jot it on the paper.
• Bullet points you have on the paper will eventually turn into your outline.
• This is a raw sketch, so don’t rush to start writing a paper.
Step 4: Sort the Information
Now the time to organize your thoughts on the paper has come.
• Take a look at the bullet points you’ve written down. Are they relevant? Maybe irrelevant information you may exclude.
• But it’s a good idea to keep some interesting related research references that you may follow later. Just write it somewhere in your notebook or make a memo.
• You may come across some unnecessary points but in general, some details make the paper look more outstanding. As they say, the devil is in the details.
• You may now structure it a form of a plan.
Step 5: Structure Your Outline
The structure is pretty simple. The characters scheme is common:
• Roman numerals
• Capitalized letters
• Arabic numbers
So, if you would like to make an outline for this particular paper, it would look like this:
I. Gather information
A. Go through books
B. Check out digital sources
1. Data basis
2. Online journal editions
3. Google articles
II. Set an objective
III. Write down bullet points
IV. Structure the outline
A. Throw out useless information
1. Keep interesting details
B. Great a standardized format
The main point of an outline is to guide you but not to set the boundaries. You absolutely can change some information and adjust the direction of your research.
Here the thread tangle is unraveled. It’s your turn to write outline now!