Research paper outline setup

This approach is useful when you are dealing with a number of different issues that could be arranged in a variety of different ways in your paper. Due to short phrases having more content than using simple sentences, they create better content from which to build your paper.


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The sentence outline is done in full sentences. This approach is useful when your paper focuses on complex issues in detail. 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. Steps to Making the Outline.

What is an 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. Writing an outline will also help you focus on the task at hand and avoid unnecessary tangents, logical fallacies, and underdeveloped paragraphs. Once you have developed the basic outline of the paper, organize the contents to match the standard format of a research paper as described in this guide. Things to Consider When Writing an Outline.

Four Main Components for Effective Outlines. Purdue University; How to Make an Outline. Psychology Writing Center. University of Washington; Organization: Informal Outlines. Hunter College; Outlining. Department of English Writing Guide.

How to Create an Outline part 1

George Mason University; Plotnic, Jerry. Organizing an Essay. University College Writing Centre. University of Toronto; Reverse Outline.

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The Writing Center. Writing Center. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Using Outlines. Institute for Writing Rhetoric. Dartmouth College. If, in writing your paper, it begins to diverge from your outline, this is very likely a sign that you've lost your focus.

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? A good way to check your progress is to use what you have written to recreate the outline. This is an effective strategy for assessing the organization of your paper.


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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. If you discover that it's difficult to create an outline from what you have written, then you likely need to revise your paper. Contact us. 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. 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.

7 Steps in Writing a Research Paper: Enjoy Your Student Life

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.

Hence, keep the title informative and concise clear, descriptive, and not too long. You must avoid technical jargon and abbreviations, if possible. This is because you need to attract a readership as large as possible.

What is a Research Paper?

Dedicate some time to think about the title and discuss it with your co-authors. Here you can see some examples of original titles, and how they were changed after reviews and comments to them:. Keywords are used for indexing your paper. They are the label of your manuscript. It is true that now they are less used by journals because you can search the whole text.

Formatting a Research Paper

However, when looking for keywords, avoid words with a broad meaning and words already included in the title. Some journals require that the keywords are not those from the journal name, because it is implicit that the topic is that. Only abbreviations firmly established in the field are eligible e. Again, check the Guide for Authors and look at the number of keywords admitted, label, definitions, thesaurus, range, and other special requests. Here, you can thank people who have contributed to the manuscript but not to the extent where that would justify authorship.

For example, here you can include technical help and assistance with writing and proofreading. Probably, the most important thing is to thank your funding agency or the agency giving you a grant or fellowship. In the case of European projects, do not forget to include the grant number or reference. Also, some institutes include the number of publications of the organization, e.

Typically, there are more mistakes in the references than in any other part of the manuscript. It is one of the most annoying problems, and causes great headaches among editors. Now, it is easier since to avoid these problem, because there are many available tools. In the text, you must cite all the scientific publications on which your work is based. But do not over-inflate the manuscript with too many references — it doesn't make a better manuscript!

Avoid excessive self-citations and excessive citations of publications from the same region. Minimize personal communications, do not include unpublished observations, manuscripts submitted but not yet accepted for publication, publications that are not peer reviewed, grey literature, or articles not published in English.

In general, you should minimize personal communications, and be mindful as to how you include unpublished observations. These will be necessary for some disciplines, but consider whether they strengthen or weaken your paper. You might also consider articles published on research networks prior to publication, but consider balancing these citations with citations of peer-reviewed research. When citing research in languages other than English, be aware of the possibility that not everyone in the review process will speak the language of the cited paper and that it may be helpful to find a translation where possible.

You can use any software, such as EndNote or Mendeley , to format and include your references in the paper. Most journals have now the possibility to download small files with the format of the references, allowing you to change it automatically. Also, Elsevier's Your Paper Your Way program waves strict formatting requirements for the initial submission of a manuscript as long as it contains all the essential elements being presented here.

Make the reference list and the in-text citation conform strictly to the style given in the Guide for Authors. Remember that presentation of the references in the correct format is the responsibility of the author, not the editor.