Research Paper Outline: 5 Points You Need To Keep In Mind

An outline helps you put down the flow of the research paper in a short and organized manner. It is your guide and helps you stay focused and organized. It shows you where exactly you are and where you need to go.

  • Determine the research problem first
  • Research problem is one of the most important things to consider while writing the outline of the paper. It is indeed the central point of the entire content from where the entire outline will originate. The whole idea of the paper needs to be summarized in a single sentence and sometimes even in a small phrase. The problem also helps in determining the title of the paper. This makes it all the more important.

  • Identification of the primary/main categories
  • It is crucial to identify the points on which the analysis is based. The categories need to be written in the proper order so as to give the right flow and structure to the entire outline. You need to figure out the main points you plan to analyze. In the introduction, all the main points will be mentioned and briefly described. This will make it easy for you to write the paper while you will develop these points further.

  • Determine the first category
  • Again, it is crucial to determine the first category for the outline. It should be the first topic you want to cover. This part is important as it sets the right tone for the rest of the outline as well as the paper. For instance, if any complicated topic or term is the mainstay of the paper then the first category could include its definition so that it becomes easier to create the relevance. If there is a particular theory you want to cover, you can briefly give the generic background of that theory.

  • Creating subcategories
  • Subcategories need to be created in order to further provide support to the main point. The sub categories will systematically lay out the purpose and purport of the theory. There is no limit to the number of subcategories you can use; however, it largely depends upon the volume of information you intend to cover.

  • Be brief with the outline
  • Remember that an outline is just the outline. While it is important to give a good idea as to what the entire paper would be all about, you need to make sure that it is done briefly. An outline is typically systematic organization of your thought flow whose expanded version is followed to write the paper. It must be succinct so as you can go through it quickly and remain on course while writing the paper.

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