Composing An Outline For A Research Paper: General Directions

When beginning to write an essay there are important preliminary steps and preparations that should be followed to help guarantee success. Some of these crucial steps include familiarizing yourself with the instruction, select a unique and interest topic, dig for interesting research, and finally—create an outline. Continue reading to discover the in’s and out’s of planning for the perfect term paper with an outline.


The roadmap for your paper—after you have completed your research, you will organize this information into standard essay format to prepare for writing using this tool. The standard format for an essay includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. By using alphabetical and numerical systems of organization, the outline is a systematic plan for the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion you will write. You will follow the plan when executing the term paper.


The outline is extremely important because it keeps your paper organized on a micro, as well as macro level. Some less organized students may dive into writing without considering the overall idea or organization of the paper. These pitfalls can be combatted with this system of organization. Rather than losing train of thought, getting off topic, or presenting disorganized ideas—you will stay on track with this organization tool.


Now that we have a better understand of how they work and why they are important, we can now present you with some useful general directions.

  • Introduction: This is the section where you will hook your readers in with an enticing anecdote or piece of information, give them general information on your topic, and introduce your thesis statement. The thesis statement overviews three points you intend to make in your body paragraphs.
  • Body Paragraphs: The body paragraphs are dedicated to presenting the information and deductions you have drawn from your research. Each body paragraph creates a unique argument or support for the topic.
  • Conclusion: In the conclusion you will wrap up any loose ends and drive home any other important last points.

Take a Look!

  1. Introduction
  2. A. Hook

    B. Thesis statement: introducing topic and three main points

  3. Body Paragraph 1
  4. A. Support from research

    B. Support from research

    1. Example

    2. Example

  5. Body Paragraph 2
  6. A. Support from research

    B. Support from research

  7. Body Paragraph 3
  8. A. Support from research

    B. Support from research

  9. Conclusion

Now it should be clear just why you should be composing an outline for your research papers. Take advantage of this organizational tool to stimulate optimum performance!

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