Being an expert in writing a formal outline for a research paper

Writing an outline for a research paper is a handy trick that will save you a great deal of time and effort later when it comes time to write the actual paper. The key to writing a formal outline for a research paper is to start taking good notes. There are three key ideas to taking good notes:

Idea 1: Know what ideas you need to write down

It is important that you focus your note taking and research approach on the topic you need to write about before you start working. This will enable you to find detailed research and read with your topic in mind. Doing this also enables you to sort out all of the relevant details related to the topic. To do this, you should first review all of the common facts related to your topic. Think of the things that you would assume “everyone knows”. Also consider the range of thinking related to your topic. For example, if you have picked a controversial topic, your side in the argument is obviously not the only side. Think about the opposition and what other opinions are out there. Take some time to review the class notes you have, the content in your textbook, as well as an encyclopedia or reference book.

Idea 2: Make your list

Make a preliminary list containing all of the subtopics you think you will find during your reading. Use the aforementioned notes to help cultivate this list. This list will help you to steer your attention toward relevant material and will also prove useful when you label your notes.

Idea 3: Pick your angle

Pick an angle or a component to your topic that is interesting. Pick one where there exists a bit of controversy. Once this is done, create your research question. The question you want to answer in your writing is what paves the way for the thesis statement.

Skim the topics below and see if there is something that you want to take on for your next paper:

  • Are school web filters too restrictive?
  • Is misogyny promoted in modern fraternities?
  • Address how employees communicate differently with female versus male leaders. Do they use different words or tones? Is the frequency of communication different? Are they more or less professional to one group versus the other? What expectations do employees place on male versus female leaders?

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