Outlining

A map with a route outlined with pushpins.A strong outline is like a road map for your research paper. Outlining can help you maintain a clear focus in your research essay because an outline helps you see your whole paper in a condensed form, which can help you create a good plan for how you’ll organize your research and develop your ideas.

Just as there are different types of essays, there are different outline structures appropriate to different fields and different types of essay assignments. You’ll want to consult with your instructor about any specific organizational requirements, but the following pages will provide you with some basic examples of outline structures for research papers in several different fields.

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