Research Paper Outline Writing Benefits

Many great writers across a number of academic disciplines create outlines to help think through the various stages of the writing process. It’s easy to think of an outline as a kind of graphic scheme of how your research paper will be organized. In simple terms it indicates the main arguments in support of your thesis as well as lists the pieces of evidence you have under each main point.

Here are four benefits you get from creating a research paper outline:

  • Focus: The most important benefit that a research paper outline brings is it helps focus your attention on the task at hand. Your research may have your mind full of disorganized thoughts. An outline helps you determine what to write and how to write it. It’s a roadmap that takes from the beginning to the middle to the end.

  • Flow: Another important benefit of creating an outline is being able to review the flow or logic of your paper. Consider how difficult it is to make sense out of several pages of a draft. Now consider seeing a stripped down version of your arguments in an outline form that fits in about a page. It’s a lot easier to tell if you’ve said all you wanted to say and in the most effective order.

  • Balance: Again, it’s difficult to review a large document to determine if you’ve devoted the right amount of words of emphasis on each of your topics. In an outline, you can see which of your points have more pieces of supporting evidence and could adjust accordingly so that your paper is evenly balanced throughout. You’ll also find that you might need to move paragraphs around to distribute heavy or weighted topics throughout.

  • Completeness: Generally, an outline just makes it easier to review for any gaping holes. You won’t have to go through an entire research paper looking for weaknesses. Instead, you can look at your major points and supporting evidence to make sure you have covered everything you must tell your audience. If you feel there is more to add, do so in the outline before you start writing it. This will let you find the ideal spot to include more writing.

Some outlines can be very simple and only list the ideas you wish to bring up in a paper. An outline for a research paper will, of course, be far more detailed. The more detailed you make your outline the easier time you will have writing your paper.

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