Marquis Research

How to write a college research paper outline: advice from experienced

Are you writing a college research paper and cannot figure out how to write the outline? Are you thinking of skipping it altogether because it does not seem that important? The outline should never be skipped. Experts claim that the outline is what helps you keep your thoughts organized and it is also what leads to great papers. So no matter what your topic might be make sure to write a killer outline.

As you start researching for your paper it is important that you take copious notes and that you organize those notes in such a way that you can write a great outline.

Step 1: Get to organizing

Recall those subheadings that you created in your notes and start to organize your information with those same subheadings. Organize your thoughts and quotes and stats beneath these in the most logical sense. There might be more than one logical way to organize your information, in which case the choice is up to you. It might be best to focus on four key elements:

  1. The news
  2. The impact of the news
  3. The context for the news
  4. The human dimension of the news

The outline is meant to help you think through your particular topic carefully and to organize your paper properly before you begin writing. A good outline is one of the most important steps in writing a perfect paper. It is incumbent upon you to ensure the points in your outline flow logically from one to the other. Make sure you have the three sections below in your outline:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion


This is where you state your thesis and the purpose of your writing. Why are you writing this paper? How are you going to approach the paper? Is your paper a factual report? Is it a compare and contrast piece? Is it a research paper? Briefly touch upon the major points you are going to cover.


This is where you make arguments that support your thesis. You should try and find three supporting arguments for every position that you make in the paper. Start with you strongest argument and your strongest supporting evidence.


This is where you restate your thesis. You should summarize the arguments that you made and explain to the reader why you came to your conclusion.

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