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Prewriting Exercises

This will help you focus and keep you from feeling overwhelmed. This is especially helpful when you're still trying to narrow or focus your topic. You'll start with a blank page, and you'll write down as many ideas about your topic as you can think of. Ask yourself questions as you write: Why am I doing this? Why do I like this? Why don't I like this? What is the most interesting thing about this field or issue? How would my audience feel about this?

What can we learn from this? How can we benefit from knowing more? When time is up, read over your list, and add anything else that you think of. Are there patterns or ideas that keep coming up? These are often clues about what is most important about this topic or issue. A time limit is also useful in this exercise.

Using a blank piece of paper or your word-processing program, summarize your topic in a sentence and keep writing. Write anything that comes to your mind and don't stop. Don't worry about grammar or spelling, and if you get stuck, just write whatever comes to mind.

Continue until your time limit is up, and when it's time to stop, read over what you've written and start underlining the most important or relevant ideas. This will help you to identify your most important ideas, and you'll often be surprised by what you come up with.

In this exercise, you'll simply list all of your ideas. This will help you when you are mapping or outlining your ideas, because as you use an idea, you can cross it off your list. This is another way to record your thoughts and observations for a paragraph or essay after you have chosen a topic. First draw a circle near the center of a blank piece of paper, and in that circle, write the subject of your essay or paragraph.

Choose between a topic outline and sentence outline. With a topic outline, the headings and subpoints are all given in single words or short phrases. With a sentence outline, all of the headings and subpoints are provided in complete sentences. Topic outlines are usually used when your research deals with many different issues that can be arranged in different ways. Sentence outlines are usually used if your research focuses on complex issues.

Some instructors will insist that you must not combine these two forms. Many others, however, offer one exception to this guideline by allowing the main section headings to be short phrases while the remaining subpoints are written as full sentences. Most outlines use an alpha-numerical structure. This structure uses a series of letters and numbers to identify and arrange section levels.

In sentence outlines, headings and subpoints are almost always written with correct sentence capitalization rules. This is not always the case with topic outlines, though.

One school of thought indicates that first level headings should be written in all capital letters while all remaining headings use standard sentence capitalization rules. Another school of thought suggests that the first level headings should only have the first letter of each word capitalized, rather than the entire word.

The remaining headings, again, use standard sentence capitalization rules. Keep matters of length in mind. Your outline should run no longer than one-quarter to one-fifth the total estimated size of your final research paper.

For a four to five page paper, you only need a single page outline. For a 15 to 20 page paper, your outline will usually run no longer than four pages.

Familiarize yourself with a one-level outline. A one-level outline only uses major headings and no subheadings. Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed.

It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in.

Move onto a two-level outline. Two-level outlines are a little more common for research papers. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings.

In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present. Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under. Progress to a three-level outline. A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly. You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version. Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it.

Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels. The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections. It serves to organize your thoughts and your whole work before writing a research paper.

This type of paper is aimed at a scientific research that will prove you to be a student that has scientific aptitudes to solve core issues and is ready convey your ideas using scientific approaches and methods. An outline will be a reminder for you to include all the necessary subtleties in it. But how to write a research paper outline? By preliminarily splitting your paper into all its constituent parts you will be far more organized and will not worry that you forgot something. It will not seem so overwhelming and perplexing.

You can approach each part during different days and plan your preparations consecutively which will help you to meet even tight deadlines! Research Paper Outline Structure Tips. The structure is identical to the structure of the research paper itself. To be more versed in the details of the structure look through examples for elementary students. The outline for a Literary Essay will also help you.

Anyway, the main parts are as follows:. Seems not that hard, right?! But the fact is that each of the points encompasses a wide range of information for you to arrange in your research outline about animals, for example.

The Introduction part is one of the most important ones. Because it presents the reader with the topic of your paper and it is like a hook that attracts the reader's interest. Here you are supposed to mention the top essential components like the thesis statement, the explanation of the topic some major points, general information , explanation of the core terms related to your study.

Creating an Outline

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Writing a Paper: Outlining Print Page Report a broken link. Overview; justify the discussion of this topic by pointing out a connection to a current problem that your paper will help address. Outlining Your Outline as a Way to Write Every Day (blog post) Writing Center blog post.

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An outline will help you organize your main ideas and determine the order in which you are going to write about them. Writing an outline is a very effective way to think through how you will organize and present the information in your essay.

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Jul 07,  · An outline is a great way to organize ideas and information for a speech, an essay, a novel, or a study guide based on your class notes. At first, writing an outline might seem complicated, but learning how to do it will give you an essential organizational skill! Start by planning your outline and 77%(12). The outline structure is approximately the same whether you write a research outline on dreams or some topic distant from this one, like a research outline for PhD application. The structure is identical to the structure of the research paper itself.

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An essay outline can even help you determine the length of each paragraph. Especially in cases where you are limited to a number of pages or assigned a word count, you can use an essay outline to break the structure into percentages or words. An essay outline denotes how you’ll structure your paper. You can (and should!) make changes along the way. You can (and should!) make changes along the way. But you want to get everything written down so that you can refer to the outline while you’re writing your rough draft.