Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Making an Outline This guide provides advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Definition An outline is a formal system used to develop a framework for thinking about what should be the organization and eventual contents of your paper. Importance of A good outline is important because : You will be much less likely to get writer's block.
How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper of A+ Level?
An outline will show where you're going and how to get there. Use the outline to set goals for completing each section of your paper. It will help you stay organized and focused throughout the writing process and help ensure proper coherence [flow of ideas] in your final paper. However, the outline should be viewed as a guide, not a straitjacket. As you review the literature or gather data, the organization of your paper may change; adjust your outline accordingly. A clear, detailed outline ensures that you always have something to help re-calibrate your writing should you feel yourself drifting into subject areas unrelated to the research problem.
Use your outline to set boundaries around what you will investigate. The outline can be key to staying motivated. You can put together an outline when you're excited about the project and everything is clicking; making an outline is never as overwhelming as sitting down and beginning to write a twenty page paper without any sense of where it is going.
An outline helps you organize multiple ideas about a topic. Most research problems can be analyzed from a variety of perspectives; an outline can help you sort out which modes of analysis are most appropriate to ensure the most robust findings are discovered. An outline not only helps you organize your thoughts, but it can also serve as a schedule for when certain aspects of your writing should be accomplished.
Review the assignment and highlight the due dates of specific tasks and integrate these into your outline. If your professor has not created specific deadlines, create your own deadlines by thinking about your own writing style and the need to manage your time around other course assignments. Structure and Writing Style I.
General Approaches There are two general approaches you can take when writing an outline for your paper: The topic outline consists of short phrases. Steps to Making the Outline 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. Identify the research problem.
The research problem is the focal point from which the rest of the outline flows. Try to sum up the point of your paper in one sentence or phrase. It also can be key to deciding what the title of your paper should be. Identify the main categories. What main points will you analyze?
Dig into the research process.
Create the first category. What is the first point you want to cover? If the paper centers around a complicated term, a definition can be a good place to start. Argument for a single executive, and against a plural executive. It would take too long for the people in the executive position to make decision in an emergency, because they might disagree. In a plural executive, it is hard to tell who is responsible for a wrongdoing because they can all blame each other, so a single executive would lead to more responsible behavior. Argument in favor of judicial review and terms of good behavior for judges.
The Federalist argued that judicial review was necessary to protect the judicial branch from the Legislature. A term of good behavior was necessary to get qualified people for the positions; it would also give them time to develop knowledge.
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The dates of the ratification of the Constitution by the States. Sample Outline 3. What did Common Sense say that was so different? It denounced both the monarchy and the English Constitution, which had previously been looked upon as a brilliant political document. Americans realized the inherent fallacies of hereditary government specifically monarchy as well as the English Constitution which protected the monarchy.
It called for Americans to disconnect themselves from the flawed British system and create a new one for themselves. C ommon Sense questioned the long-standing belief that residents of the colonies were inseparably connected to England.
It gave them a new identity — Americans rather then Britons. It also outlined the benefits of a republican government, which would go on to influence the ideas of the Founding Fathers as they created a new government for their new country. The debate in the American Colonies shifted from that of reconciliation with England to that of independence. It was read by an unprecedented number of colonists and united a great majority of them behind independence. It inspired American intellectuals with its call for independence, leading to the composition of the Declaration of Independence a mere six months later.
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It permanently cemented the idea of a republican, non-hereditary government into the heads of Americans. Support for your major points, indicated by capital Arabic numerals i. Introduction A.
Thesis B. Douglass as Lecturer A. Garrison set-back and significance D. Douglass as Politician A. Key trait for success B. Goal of political activism C. In the introduction, you may want to include other things that prepare the reader for the rest of your paper. For all of these examples, we will stay on the Edgar Allan Poe topic. Take a look at the long list of information you put together when you were doing the research portion of your project. As you re-read it, you can decide what should go where in the body of your paper.
Most of the information you found will go into the body. Occasionally, you will find something that should be in the introduction or conclusion. You will likely see certain facts that should be grouped together, so use headers and subheaders for those. Once you have a good idea of a logical order, go ahead and fill out the body of your outline. Now you are ready to use your research paper outline to begin writing. Remember, as you write, you might get new ideas and insights.
Writing a good research paper outline
I would be remiss not to insert my own personal note here. I fill out all the sections with the important information I want to include in my paper, using bullet points. That way, everything is in one spot. Yes, this is an additional step.
Paper Outline: Tips, Advice How to Create A Good Outline
Yes, it takes time. You may not want to do it. It is certainly a personal choice. But the advantage of filling in your outline completely is that you rarely have to look away from the outline for more information. You can simply build your paper section by section, using the completed outline as your guide. Occasionally, you will be asked to turn in a formal outline along with your paper.
Up until now, we have only been talking about an informal outline. The most common is the number, letter, number pattern. The headings and subheadings would then follow a capital letter, number pattern: capital letters for the headings, numbers for the subheadings. If you have a sub-subheading, use lowercase letters.