Writing Rules for an Analytical Research Paper Outline

Writing the outline is a key component for any paper especially an analytical research paper. The outline is often an overlooked part of the writing process too. Far too few students use the outline the way it is intended. When you write an essay no matter which type it is you will go through three stages. The first is the pre-writing stage. The second is the writing stage. The third is the post-writing stage. The pre-writing stage is where the outline comes into play.

The outline is intended as a road map for you and your paper. The idea is that with a well written outline you will be able to write your paper with ease because all of the core concepts and key parts will already be written out for you.

The outline is the place where you play around with the ideas and the presentation of your information. It is where you lay out the sections of your paper and you check to make sure that you not over covered all of the requirements for your paper but that you have a comprehensive presentation. If the order and flow of your paper does not fit then you will see it immediately with a well written outline. If a section is too weak and lacks sufficient evidence then you will see that too. If one area is becoming too large and needs to be broken up into a few different arguments that will come through in the outline. That is why the outline is so important. So what are some writing rules for an analytical research paper outline?

  1. Start early.

    The earlier you start on your outline the more time you will allot yourself to find errors or fix problems.

  2. Review the outline for flow.

    Make sure that each section flows into the next and that you covered all of the requirements of your paper. Check off your instruction page as you complete each piece.

  3. Find areas that are missing evidence.

    If one bullet point for one body paragraph has one piece of evidence beneath it while the other bullet points for the other body paragraphs have three to four pieces of evidence then that one either needs more supporting evidence or it needs to be removed.

  4. Find areas that are too big.

    If all of your body paragraphs have two statistics or facts and one has six then it needs to be broken down into smaller pieces.

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