Finalizing an Outline Help
Finalizing Your Research Paper Outline
Now that you have a good idea of how your paper is going to be organized and how it will eventually look, it's a good idea to finalize your outline and fill in as many specifics and as much information as possible. A good, thorough outline will be the foundation and the blueprint for your paper. It will make the writing process simple and easy to follow. This lesson will show you how to make a detailed and vivid outline.
Your note card arrangements and the sorting process have already helped you to see how your paper might be organized. Now you should take all your knowledge and write it down on a single sheet of paper that you can always refer to and keep handy no matter what part of the research paper you are working on. The first step in writing your final outline is to make a chart that looks like this:
THESIS STATEMENT = [One sentence]
INTRODUCTION = [includes thesis statement]
- 1) SECTION #1
- 2) SECTION #2
- 3) SECTION #3
Depending on the length of your paper, you can also begin to approximate roughly how long each section will be. If you are writing a paper for a specific class or the length has been dictated to you in advance, then you can revise your outline to reflect how many pages you will write for each part of your paper. If there is a specific length requirement, then, based upon the volume of information you have gathered and the total number of your note cards, you can try to approximate its length. Simply fill in the number of pages in each section as you think they might be and don't worry about being exact yet. Remember, you haven't started to write. Some sections may have more pages than you originally intended and that's fine. For the moment, just guess. If your assignment was to write an 18- page paper, your outline might be:
THESIS STATEMENT = [One sentence]
INTRODUCTION = [One page or two paragraphs]
- 1) SECTION #1 = 5 pages
- 2) SECTION #2 = 5 pages
- 3) SECTION #3 = 5 pages
CONCLUSION = [Two pages]
Again, remember that this is not exact. You might write a slightly longer introduction or perhaps section three, the last part of your paper, might be a little longer than the two previous sections. This breakdown just provides you with another, more specific visual guideline of how your paper will be structured.
Filling In Your Finalized Outline
Now that you have a general blueprint handy, it's time to begin to fill in your outline with as much specific information as possible so that it can help you. For example, let's return to the topic of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The most important part of any paper (and sometimes the hardest) is your thesis statement. What are you trying to prove in your paper? What has all your research and evidence led you to conclude about the assassination of President Kennedy? Perhaps you've decided that the assassination of President Kennedy was not a conspiracy or plot as some of the reading suggested, but the work of a lone assailant. Write in your idea at the top of your outline. It's best if you can try to word your thesis statement or overall argument of your paper as one sentence—two at the very most. The more succinct you are and the more you can condense your thoughts into a single, powerful sentence, the easier it will be for your readers to follow your argument. Now your outline will look like this:
THESIS STATEMENT = President Kennedy's assassination was not the result of a conspiracy or specific plot, but the work of a lone, angry assailant.
Again, you can change the wording of your thesis statement later, but for now try to express your idea so that you can write it at the top of your outline. In this way, you can always make sure that all your evidence, all your paragraphs in the body of your paper and in the conclusion, prove, relate to, or point back to your thesis statement. That's why it's a good idea to write it at the top of your outline.
Today on Education.com
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing