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term paper writing manuals

Set Specific Goals

Writing a research paper is a lot easier on you, the student, when you set yourself certain goals. All of this takes place before you start the research and the writing. The saying goes that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. So rather than rushing in to begin writing your research paper, stop, take stock of the situation and list your goals. Here are a few possible specific goals.

  • set up a timetable
  • create an ideal topic
  • create an ideal thesis statement
  • become an expert note taker
  • create an outstanding plan
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Easy Tips: How to Make an Outline for a Research Paper


Every student knows what a paper outline is. No matter what type of writing you have to prepare, an outline is needed to organize your thoughts and ideas. It is very useful when working on a research paper, so the majority of supervisors ask their students to write them. Some helpful tips and suggestions have been collected below in order to help you make an outline for your research work.


Plan Your Outline

Planning is everything; do not skip this part and you will receive better results.

  1. It is better to choose your research topic carefully. A bad topic will not make it easy for you to keep your thoughts on track. You should consider the topics you are interested in; write possible topics down and do not pay much attention on whether they are too broad or not. Do not waste your time trying to narrow down your topic because you will be able to correct it easily later.
  2. Determine your research goals and objectives. This helps you follow the direction of the topic and logically structure your work. You should write a thesis statement and make sure it corresponds to the main goal of the research.
  3. Every research paper is based on theories, hypotheses, facts, evidences, statistical data, or a personal point of view depending on the nature of your piece of writing. Therefore, you have to gather supporting materials by spending some time reading and taking notes.
  4. You can either write a topic or sentence outline. The latter is more complex and detailed, so you can use entire sentences from it directly in your research paper.

Write Your Outline

Once you have completed all the steps described above, you have enough information to start writing your outline.

  1. Revise your main research purpose, and choose the appropriate order of supporting evidence and examples. You might consider a chronological order, a topical order, or an argumentation structure.
  2. Identify how many levels of the outline you should compose. For a research paper, it is better to choose a two or three level outline. The first level contains the main points; it is traditionally marked with Roman numerals. The second one holds sub-categories and supporting details; it is labeled with capital English letters. The third level adds a logical grounding for your research paper; it is labeled with Arabic numbers.
  3. It is recommended to indent each level of the outline.
  4. Do not forget to proofread it in order to correct grammar and spelling mistakes.

Paper Structure Guides

Citation Styles

Research Sources

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