One of the tougher requirements in school is an academic paper. Although similar to many other essays, this task is much longer as it can easily reach 1000 words or more. Because of the many angles that you need to analyze, it is often easy for a person to get lost as they write. This is one reason why many students become easily frustrated in the middle of their paper as they are unsure of where they are or if they have forgotten something.
If you are worried that the same will happen to you, then read on to learn how outlining can help.
Why create an outline?
Similar to a cooking recipe, an outline serves as a guideline for you to follow. It also ensures that important arguments and details are not forgotten. This is very helpful because your research paper will be quite long, making it difficult to keep track of where you are.
And because you can regularly refer to your outline, you can easily spot errors in your paper or consider what needs changing. So you can replace important parts as needed if you find something more interesting.
You will not be able to make one if you have not begun reading your resources. So take the time to read everything necessary for your paper and take good notes.
What are the parts of an outline?
- Defining your audience
- Thesis statement
- Argument to support the thesis 1
- Argument to support the thesis 2
- Argument to support the thesis 3
- Summary of arguments
- A call to action
- List down the important details for your context. These may include what the situation was like before and what it is like now. A thorough background will give your reader a heads up about what to expect. This is particularly important if your reader is new to the topic. A good background also allows your reader to understand why your paper is important.
- Write down the “hook” of your paper. This is the key fact or statistic that will catch your reader’s attention. The hook can also be a special quote or anecdote that further explains the problem of your paper.
- Mention your thesis statement. This is what your paper is aiming to prove or disprove.
- Write your main arguments for your thesis. There should be at least three for a good paper.
- Under each argument, list the supporting theory and facts. This is important so that you do not forget what you need to defend your view.
- Write the counterarguments. There is always an opposing view to any idea. For your paper to be complete, you should write these along with their supporting theories and facts.
- Write down your summary and a “call to action.”
- The call to action is usually a motivational statement that encourages the reader to act upon what they read. Use a strong statement or even a famous quote that applies to your topic.
Because the academic essay is a difficult task, it always helps to make the process easier. So consider creating an outline for your paper before you write so that you will not have to struggle so much when it is time to write.