Youve gotten a new assignment: youre required to read a primary text, cite 3 secondary sources, and write an analytical paper with introduction, thesis, supporting arguments and a conclusion.
You probably have a lot on your mind regarding developing your ideas and articulating them in a brilliant paper. Before you blast through the door to the library though, you need to write an outline that will contain the core of your ideas in brief.
I wont attempt to convince you of the necessity of research paper
writing an effective outline, I only hope that I can convince you to try it and see it work for yourself. Luckily, its an easy thing to do, especially when you follow these 3 steps:
Finding Your Thesis
You may get bogged down in all of the aspects of constructing your research paper outline but there are really only three things you should be concerned with: finding your argument, making your case, and organizing your supporting evidence.
Essentially youre only making one argument, which is your thesis. This single statement alone will decide the entire direction of your paper.
How do you come up with one? By writing about what interests you most about your primary text or topic. It doesnt matter if you have no interest whatsoever in what youre studying, with a little effort you can find something worth writing about.
Getting Your Research Together
Next is the construction and presentation of your supporting evidence. During the course of your research, youre likely to find a bunch of sources that are interesting and add new dimensions to your paper, but have little to do with your thesis. Youll also find sources that are more pertinent to your topic but less interesting. Is it okay to add the interesting stuff to your paper?
The answer is that it is okay but that you should stick primarily with the relevant content; it should be the majority of your paper. If youd like to throw in some more controversial stuff, feel free to, sometimes it can really add to your presentation. But remember that straight-shooting, precise and relevant writing always does well, while writing that goes off on tangents does well some of the time.
Also remember that your supporting paragraphs dont stand alone but that they work together. You need to think about how they logically connect to each other, and how they develop from your thesis.