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The Outlining Importance in Research Paper Writing


Outlining is an important preliminary activity that is necessary for improving the structure of the research paper and its readability. Additionally, this step is critical for categorizing or grouping the collected data. Apart from that, an outline can show how a student can elaborate on the thesis statement or the main argument. It is possible to distinguish topic and sentence outlines that can be helpful for writing a research paper.

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There are several steps that are critical for writing a good research paper, and one of them is the development of an outline. This essay is aimed at showing why this particular activity is important for learners. Furthermore, it is necessary to describe different types of outlines and explain what a thesis statement is. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely. Overall, one can say that outlining helps a student ensure the logical flow and coherence of his/her writing. Moreover, this activity is useful for improving the readability of the paper. These are the main details that should be considered.

Why is outlining important?

Overall, while writing a research paper, a student should have a clear idea of its structure. In other words, one should understand the logical order and sequence of the questions or sub-questions that should be discussed. In turn, outlining is important for identifying the major and minor topics that will be examined in the research paper (Mitchell, Jolley, & O’Shea, 2010, p. 15). Thus, a good outline can prevent a learner from writing about irrelevant issues or omitting the most important questions (Winner 2013, p. 49). This is one of the benefits that can be distinguished. Additionally, a well-developed outline enables a person to group or categorize the data that was collected in the course of primary or secondary research. If a learner does not know how a paper should be organized, this analysis of data can be very time-consuming. Therefore, outlining is important for effective time management. These are the main aspects that can be identified.

Moreover, an outline is of great value for the potential readers of a research paper. It enables them to understand the flow of the author’s ideas (Gladon, Graves, & Kelly, 2011, p. 93). Moreover, this element of the paper helps a reader locate the most important sections of the paper or the main arguments that the writer puts forward (Gladon et al., 2012, p. 93). This is another issue that should not be overlooked.

What is a thesis statement?

While working on a research paper, one should clearly identify the main idea that should be discussed in greater detail. Overall, a thesis statement can be defined as the main argument that should be defended or explained. To a great extent, it is the answer to the main question that the student wants to write about. As a rule, a thesis statement is placed at the very end of the introduction (Jones & Farness, 2002, p. 349). It is also possible to include this element in the outline (Jones & Farness, 2002, p. 349). This section of the paper must present a debatable and clearly-stated assumption that can be confirmed or refuted in an empirical or logical way (Jones & Farness, 2002, p. 349). In turn, other parts of the research paper should be linked to the thesis statement.

Final outlining

It should be noted that students may have to depart from the initial outline. In many cases, they may add or remove some parts of the paper. For example, a learner can do it, if he/she comes across some interesting ideas that can throw new light on the topic of the research paper. Moreover, one may not have a clear idea about the structure of the research paper, before collecting and analyzing relevant data. In turn, final outlining should be done when one can clearly identify the main topics and sub-topics. This is one of the details that can be singled out.

Types of outline

It is possible to distinguish two types of outlines. For example, one should speak about topic outlines which briefly identify the main ideas that will be discussed in the research paper. In this case, the author does not use complete sentences while describing different parts of the paper. Instead, one should include only short phrases (Goldbort, 2006, p. 133). This approach is helpful when one has to give a very brief overview of the research paper. However, in this way, a student cannot clearly show how various questions will be discussed. Secondly, it is important to speak about sentence outlines in which different sections are described with the help of grammatically complete sentences (Goldbort, 2006, p. 133). This form of the outline is appropriate when a learner needs to explain how specific issues will be discussed (Goldbort, 2006, p. 133).

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On the whole, this discussion indicates that outlining is of great help to a person who works on a research paper. This activity is important for ensuring the internal coherence of writing. Additionally, a well-developed outline can assist readers who want to identify the most important sections of the paper. There are different types of outlines, and each of them can be used for a researcher paper. Furthermore, while constructing a schematic plan of the paper, a student can include a thesis statement or the main argument. These are the main points that can be made.

Reference List

Gladon, R., Graves, W., & Kelly, M. (2011). Getting Published in the Life Sciences. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Goldbort, R. (2006). Writing for Science. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Jones, P., & Farness, J (2002). College Writing Skills. Boston, MA: Rowman & Littlefield.

Mitchell, M., Jolley, J., & O’Shea, R. (2010). Writing for Psychology. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.

Winner, W. (2013). A Handbook for Analytical Writing: Keys to Strategic Thinking. Boston, MA: Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

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