How To Plan A Research Paper: 10 Helpful Hints

Research papers are an important part of high school and college classes across a wide range of subject areas, from the hard sciences to humanities subjects like literature and history. Over the course of your education, you’ll have to write more research papers than you can even count. This type of writing is intensive, requiring a lot of research and planning before you actually start the first draft. Although there are a few, rare people who can just sit down and start writing, the majority of students need to do some planning first. One of the best ways to plan a research paper is to create an outline that provides a structure for all of the content that it is going to contain.

Initial Brainstorming

Before you start outlining your research paper, you should do some initial brainstorming for ideas. The first step for writing your paper is deciding on a good topic. In most cases, you’ll have free reign to pick a topic that you find interesting and engaging, as long as it is relevant to the material that you’ve learned in class. You should give yourself plenty of time to choose a topic by starting early. Sometimes, you’ll decide on a topic, then realize that it’s too narrow, and you can’t find enough information to actually write your paper.

Creating an Outline

Everyone outlines papers differently, and different people prefer different styles. The outline of your paper is usually for your own benefit. Outlining helps you come up with a good structure for your paper, which should progress in a manner that is logical and makes good sense. Here are a few of the common outlining styles that students often use:

  • Alphanumeric outlines. This style uses a combination of letters and numbers to designate items. The main headings are often labeled with Roman numerals (I, II, III), with subheadings as capital letters (A, B, C), followed by numbers (1, 2, 3), and sometimes with the lowest level items designated by lowercase levels (a, b, c). For example:
    • Topic 1
      • Subtopic 1
      • Subtopic 2
    • Topic 2
      • Subtopic 1
      • Subtopic 2
  • Full sentence outlines. For some people, outlining using full sentences is significantly easier than trying to create an alphanumeric structure. For this style, numbers or bullet points are often used. Full sentence outlines are considerably less formalized than alphanumeric outlines, but they can work just as well.

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We admit that working on capstone projects like term or research papers requires external help. This blog is for everyone who wants to know how to create a solid paper but doesn't have enough budget for helpers. - 22 Oct, 2019 - © All Stages Of Writing Term And Research Papers