Ameelia Brown | ameeliabrown

Outlining Before Writing a Research Paper

Aug 5th 2015 at 11:43 PM

Every student has his/her own style of writing; few prefer writing papers after gathering material, few feel comfortable referring to an outline while writing and few others develop a mind map before writing a research paper. Of these, an outline always keeps you ahead in the process of research paper writing.

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If outlining is done well, it helps you to show relation among the ideas you are presenting in your paper. It does not only help your readers, but also help you to think about your topic and to reach the level of analysis and evaluation through learning. Finally, it helps you to review whether your paper is making a convincing argument or not. If you are serious about writing a research paper, you should pay close attention to outlining.

Once you intend to outline your research paper, you should follow the steps discussed below.

First level outline:

Start with a first level outline that consists of the most basic elements of outlining. Here is the first level outline shown below:

a. Introduction

b. Literature review

c. Analysis

d. Results

e. Discussion

f. Conclusions

Second level outline:

After applying the above outline as a guide, this second level outline consists of headings, sections and subsections of a paper. A basic second level outline with many of the common elements in research paper is shown below:

· Introduction

Motivation (why you have chosen this subject)

Objectives or thesis statements (goals of this paper)

Organizational overview of paper

· Literature review

a. Heading for topic 1

b. Heading for topic 2

c. Heading for topic 3

d. Heading for topic 4

· Analysis approach

a. Heading for the description of the scope of analysis

b. Heading for methods used for major tasks

· Results (what was found)

a. Heading for the results of major tasks

· Discussion (how the results contribute to knowledge in the field)

a. Heading for the discussion about the results of topic 1

b. Heading for the discussion about the results of topic 2

c. Heading for the discussion about the results of topic 3

d. Heading for the discussion about the results of topic 4

· Conclusion

a. A summary of objectives and approaches of this paper

b. Major findings of this paper

c. Important implications of this paper’s findings

d. Needed future work in the field.

By applying above model structure, we present an outline example-based practical topic that definitely helps you to understand how to flow your text in the entire outline, or else you can use research writing services to finish your research paper.

Outline example:

Topic: A study on factors affecting the infant feeding practices of mothers

· Introduction

a. Problem of your paper

b. Definitions of terms

c. Theoretical framework

d. Methodology

1. Type of research

2. Respondents

3. Questionnaire

e. Hypothesis

f. Review and related literature

g. Scope and limitations

h. Significance of the study

· Body

a. Background of the story

1. Benefits of breastfeeding

2. WHO recommendations

3. The International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk substitutes

4. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

5. The Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding

6. National Situationer

7. The Milk Code

8. BFHI in the Philippines

9. Milk Code Violations

10. Formula Feeding

11. Factors Influencing the Decision Regarding Infant Feeding Method

12. Area Situationer

b. Presentation and analysis of data

1. Socio-economic demographic profile of mothers

2. Information regarding current (youngest) infant

3. Current infant feeding practices of mothers

a. Exclusive breastfeeding

b. Mixed feeding

c. Formula feeding

4. Previous infant feeding practices

5. Maternal knowledge

6. Corrections tests

· Conclusion

a. Concluding statement

1. Analytical summary

2. Thesis reworded

b. Recommendations

Refer to this structure in your research paper writing.

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