It can be overwhelming when you have a term sample research paper to produce but when you have more than one (and that is very well possible), it can be overwhelming times 10! So let’s see how to make a good outline for a college research paper.
One of the really good ways to make a start and to stop postponing the work (which can cause even more stress) is applying the tips on how to make a really good outline for any college research paper.
Why produce an outline?
There are several really positive reasons why you should make an outline first:
- It helps you focus. Distraction is a common problem.
- It helps you differentiate between what is the most important information that you need and what supporting information you need to research.
- It helps with the organization of the logical progression of ideas.
- You can use your outline to discuss your focus with your tutor (they will be impressed).
What do I need to do?
Follow this sequence of instructions using the headings.
- Introduction. Introduce your topic and how it fits in with the work that you have been studying through the term. Is the topic you have chosen an extension of the curriculum that you have been following or is it a focus that has a level of personal interest. Be realistic about the amount of research that you will need to keep the focus simple.
- Thesis Statement. The thesis statement is where an outline really becomes an essential tool because right at the beginning of your work on your term paper, you will find that it is difficult to describe your thesis stamen in concise language. Don’t be put off if you have to keep revisiting this part of the process.
- The Body of the paper. This is where you need to put all of the points that you want to make/discuss. You also need to provide evidence to support your thesis in the form of experiments or examples. Decide how you are going to present your data (this could mean by tables of results or comparisons, photographs, or illustrations.
- Conclusions. Relate your conclusions to the evidence that you have presented in the main part of the paper. Remember to also make recommendations about your findings. All of the statements that you make in this section should relate to your thesis statement.
- Bibliography. Make sure that you list all of the sources of your information including any course textbooks that you have used and cited. Make sure you check with your tutor as to the referencing format that you should be using. Ideally, you need to make a list of the works you are citing as you research. We also have an interesting article about the acceptance rate of colleges and universities in Texas.
Step One – Develop a question for your research
The preliminary step in doing your research task is to come up with a question that you want to research. Sometimes the question will be provided by the instructor and at other times, there will be general topics that you must choose from relating to the subject of the class. Take the topics and guidelines your class provides and come up with a question to guide your work. It’s key to do this right. You’ve probably loaned enough money to work for a while just to pay it all back (or maybe you were lucky your parents purchased a Texas College Savings Plan) and wasting your time will only cost you more.
Step Two – Researching your topic
The next step in completing this project is to conduct research about your topic. There are many places to look including your textbook and notes, school library, and online searches.
In today’s educational process, most research is done online from the comfort of your dorm room or home. Categorize your research and save it in one location for easy reference while you are working.
Step Three – Develop the outline of your work
As you go through the investigative process you can begin to develop the outline of your paper. You will see an outline as you read the research that was done in other areas and also can begin to develop questions for your writing.
When you are researching and developing your outline, capture any quotes or references at this time so that you will have them available for your writing.
Step Four – Develop a first draft of the paper
Now that you have an outline of what you want to say, you can begin to develop the written part of your project. Sit in a quiet place and put your thoughts down on paper or type them into the document on your computer.
You do not have to work from beginning to end of the document but instead, you can fill in the outline that you have created with the areas that are fresh in your mind. Writing a first draft of your paper will help you focus and not get distracted, a common problem, especially in your freshman year of student life.
Step Five – Fill in the gaps
Once you have the first draft completed, now is the time to fill in any gaps in your material. Work through the entire document and fill in any areas where there is not sufficient information.
Add quotations and additional references to make your work have substance. Complete this process by ensuring that all of your references have been annotated correctly.
Step Six – Final editing
The last step of the process of developing a research paper is editing. Editing is like putting frosting on a cake, the cake itself has substance and the material you want but without the frosting it is bland and no fun to eat.
Go through the paper and check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Verify references and add a reference section to the end or footnote section of the composition. Review the flow of the entire piece to ensure it is logical and concise and clearly answers the question you posed.
Rules of writing a research paper (literature review)
The literature review of a research paper can be considered a preface to your work. It’s required for dissertations, theses, research proposals, etc. If you want to write a decent review, the following ten rules will assist you while working.
1. Review the stylistic guidelines
There are many formatting demands, and they are usually strictly checked. Look through the stylistic guidelines and reread your text to avoid mistakes. For more interesting study tips, check this post.
2. Pick the literature that will be reviewed
Create a list of literature that played the greatest role in your studies. You can skip the materials of lesser importance, or describe them later.
3. Write firm reasons for reviewing the literature and the selection criteria
You have to explain why you have chosen this material and ground your criteria for selection. The readers should see the methods that you have applied in order to form your research basis.
4. Categorize the literature
Categorization is an excellent idea. You can organize the material according to the date of creation, topics, subtopics, importance, etc. This is necessary for a better understanding of the text. Having a good study plan is essential to work efficiently when you’re categorizing your information.
5. Start the review with general facts and slowly progress to the more precise
A gradual succession in writing makes the picture clearer to the reader. This is important if you want to go the path that leads to a degree. The precise data can be wrongly perceived if you forget to write a general outline of the research.
6. Trace the common elements in every work in the context of your research
State the joint elements in the publications, and use them to support your own ideas. How strong was the influence of the materials on your job, and in what aspects?
7. Avoid criticism
Remember that you are analyzing, not criticizing. Avoid both negative and positive statements. If you want to change someone else’s character or to renew your own character, find a different podium. There are so many great ways to do so. The review should be written in a neutral style without expressing your emotions.
8. Always use the most recent theories and works
If you are conducting research, the data should be fresh and factual. Try to use the latest works, as they are more likely to grant you reliable information.
9. Make sure that all the reviewed literature is directly related to your topic
You can omit literature that doesn’t have a direct connection to your topic.
10. Never forget to write a conclusion
The conclusion is the final part of the review, so you shouldn’t forget about it. Write about the value of the materials in shaping your work and the perspectives of the research. Lastly, don’t forget to give credit to the authors and make sure you include that in your referrals.
Last Updated on September 12, 2020