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Research Paper Outline: Essential Recommendations For Dummies


The act of outlining research can make anyone feel a bit like a dummy, particularly if it’s their first time around. Relax, you aren’t dumb, you just aren’t used to what you’re trying to do. Here are some tips to get you through the process without incident.

  • Read the manual or guideline book for your academic style
  • Different majors will be required to use different formatting styles. The outline isn’t usually meant for submission but if you start it out in the right format it can help you to complete your work faster. Get the guideline booklet for your style and follow it.

  • Find samples that you can emulate
  • If you can get your hands on a few good samples, half the battle will be done. They will show you how more skilled writers than yourself go about outlining papers. It is even better if you can access both the outlines and the papers that came from them but this is an ideal that you may not achieve.

  • Purchase a template or download one for free
  • There are templates for everything online from theses to resumes and wedding vows. These can be bought or downloaded for free. This means that you need not start from scratch with the completion of your outline.

  • Ask someone who is skilled in the style to look at your progress
  • If you’ve done all of the above steps, get someone who is a good student to check your work and give you their honest opinion. Honesty is very important here. If the person means to flatter you to spare your feelings, ask someone else. You want to get better not maintain your emotions.

  • Pay someone to help format your outline
  • This is not a problem at most institutions because it’s not cheating. All you would be doing is getting assistance to put your thoughts into order before you begin writing your paper in earnest. Jut be sure that the person you hire to do this for you understands that this is all you want them to do. It also helps to ask them for directions along the way so that the next time you can do it on your own.

These tips should help you to write a great outline, just remember that your focus should be on writing the best possible paper in the end.