A research paper outline gives you a preview of the ideas you will use in your paper and their flow. The paper is broken down in a hierarchical and clear manner. It is a perfect tool to organize your thoughts and create a cohesive paper. With a good outline, your science fair paper will be easy to write. Here are easy tips to follow.

  1. Choose a Topic- the topic gives directions on all materials to be included in your paper. The outline guides your search for more information on the topic. With a good topic, it is easier to obtain materials and supporting ideas.
  2. Identify a perspective- a lot can be said about each idea or topic. It is the perspective you adapt that will determine the success of writing the paper. For instance, an outline for compare and contrast will differ from that of descriptive essay.
  3. Choose main points- they are used to anchor your arguments. They are generated during brainstorming. Ensure that they are strong enough and debatable. Availability of materials from books, journals, articles, etc makes your points valid and believable.
  4. Add supporting ideas- each point needs to be supported. Find the best materials that strengthen your ideas. They include subtopics and sub sections. They must be factual and relevant.
  5. Organize the points- this is done based on the strength of a point considering the support materials available. Pick strong ideas that will capture the imagination of the reader. The final point should also be strong enough to leave an impression.
  6. Merge and split ideas- based on supporting ideas gathered, merge or split ideas based on their strengths and weaknesses. Avoid repetition by dismissing any point that requires similar materials to support it.
  7. Keep it thin- an outline does not contain details. It offers highlights of the points and their subtopics or support materials. Details will be included in the final paper.
  8. Include sources- you will need reference materials like books, journals, articles, etc to support your ideas. Where these materials are available, include them in the outline. It will make it easier to draft your paper later.
  9. Consider layers- some topics and points require more layers. This is where subtopics have other sections within. Include such layers to ease drafting. They must remain as highlights.
  10. Be ready to adjust- an outline is not final. As you draft your research paper, other ideas will clop up. Include them in the outline. However, the deviation should not be too far from the plan. It is likely to distort your original idea.

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