You’ve decided on a research topic, but what next? It is always a good idea to create an outline before getting started with the actual research.
Having an outline beforehand makes writing your research paper a lot easier. But how do you chalk up a research outline, you ask? We’re here to help!
A standard research paper normally has 5 chapters in total, but you can have as many chapters as you like for your outline. The simplest diagram of a research outline looks something like this —
Chapter 1: Introduction
Introduction is the very first chapter and the most important chapter of your research writing. It’s in this part the readers are introduced to your research objectives and rationale. Keep it simple but interesting if you don’t want the audience to lose interest at the very beginning, do you? Remember who your audience is and explain to them why your research work is important in the way they understand.
The introduction of your research paper determines whether the readers will continue reading your paper or not. So, an informative yet intriguing introduction is essential to engage the readers.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
The second chapter of your outline comprises important terms regarding your study. Also, previously used theoretical frameworks related to your research work should be explained along with research problems in brief.
In this part you make your research questions more specific and clear to the readers along with informing them about the studies already done and how you want to add to it.
Chapter 3: Methodology
Chapter 4: Findings and Analysis
This chapter is a broad discussion on your research findings. You do not need to worry about volume limitation since it is the main section of your research paper. All the evidences and results you find during your research work is included here along with your own analysis and arguments.
Each argument you bring into your analysis has to be backed up with proof. Use valid references and proper citations in this regard. Do not state something that isn’t valid or you have no way of proving.
You can deliver arguments and counterarguments to demonstrate your knowledge on the topic and allow your audience to believe that you have actually conducted a thorough research. Also, possible recommendations can be added in light of the author’s viewpoint.
Chapter 5: Conclusion
The last chapter highlights the challenges and limitations and a summary of the study. Here you summarize the whole paper briefly and provide a general overview of the arguments you have stated before. You can emphasize the main argument rather than explaining all your ideas in this summary section. Don’t forget about the tone and language you used in the introduction.
Keep your writing consistent from the beginning to the end. In order to maintain consistency and keep the manner, pattern and techniques of your writing the same throughout the paper and try to create a bridge between the chapters.
It is important to be creative with the language and tone to make your research paper a good read for the audience. Therefore, you need to draw a precise conclusion highlighting the important ideas and arguments.
Moreover, you can shed light on the challenges you faced during your research work and also acknowledge the limitations. An appendix and bibliography should be attached at the end of this chapter.
Your research paper needs to reflect your position, commitment to the challenging task and persuade the audience in its accuracy. A research outline is your guideline to achieve that goal. This is a skeleton of the whole paper that helps you conduct research and guides to write the paper properly.
So, create an outline before you jump to your research work! It will help you visualize the whole paper in advance and you can always consult it while working on the main research.