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There’s also another key component to this outline example that I haven’t touched on yet: Some people like to write first, and annotate later.
It’s a good idea to start by heading to the library and asking your local librarian for help (they’re usually so excited to help you find things! Check your school library for research papers and books on the topic.
Look for primary sources, such as journals, personal records, or contemporary newspaper articles when you can find them.
Also, avoid super analytical or technical topics that you think you’ll have a hard time writing about (unless that’s the assignment…then jump right into all the technicalities you want).
You’ll probably need to do some background research and possibly brainstorm with your professor before you can identify a topic that’s specialized enough for your paper.
Outlines basically do all the heavy lifting for you when it comes to writing. Even if you feel tempted to just jump in and brain-dump, You’ll thank me later.
Here’s how to structure an outline: You’ll notice it’s fairly concise, and it has three major parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion.
Let’s get a little more in-depth with this: The introduction is made up of two main parts: the thesis and the introduction to the supporting points.
This is where you essentially tell your reader exactly what sort of wild ride they’re in for if they read on.
In this text document, I start compiling a list of all the sources I’m using.
It tends to look like this: Remember that at this point, your thesis isn’t solid. If your research starts to strongly contradict your thesis, then come up with a new thesis, revise, and keep on compiling quotes. Depending on how long your paper is, you should have 3-10 different sources, with all sorts of quotes between them.