How to write a research paper: Outline your writing properly

Outlining is by far the most important and time-saving aspect of writing a research paper. After establishing what your topic is and what you will try to prove through your paper, you can focus on your subsections and the order in which they will appear. How these sections relate to each other is just as important. Once you have all of the research paper elements in place, filling in the rest of the content will be easy and quick.

Define your subheadings

A crucial part of outlining is deciding on the direction you want to take with your research. You will do this by coming up with subheading as well as sub-subheadings. If you are breaking down your research paper into three sections, then you should decide on a subheading for each section, and then come up with sub-subheadings for the smaller parts within.

Establish the order

Now that you have your sections, you’ll need to decide in which order they will go. Make sure it’s a logical order, or your research paper won’t make any sense to the reader. If you have a set of three sections such as theory, method, and results; then make sure you put them in the order shown above so that the reader can move from one to the next. Keep in mind that the smaller sections within the main sections must also be organized in this manner.

Set up a stable flow

Once you have all your sections in the right place—and respective blank spaces for where the paragraphs will go—you can start constructing a rough flow of thought. Do this by beginning a thought at the start of every section, and then ending that thought at the bottom of that same section.

Make a short sentence of your thought for every section that you’ve created. You’ll soon see if something isn’t making sense. Rearrange sections that seem out of place and make sure that each thought you end with transitions nicely into the new thought within the next section.

Use your outline to write an introduction

Having an outline ready will enable you to write a very comprehensive introduction. With all the pieces in place, you can get a bird’s eye view on all aspects of the research paper. Relay this into a short summary under your introduction and you’ll be well on your way to filling in the rest of the details under each section you’ve created.