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Academic Writing Secrets: How to Write a Term Paper Outline


The two biggest secrets to a great paper are having a strong outline and writing a strong thesis statement. The outline can be constructed once you have composed the thesis statement and your teacher has approved it. You will have a first draft outline called a working outline. There will be changes in this outline as your progress through the research and writing process. Here are a few outline secrets to help make your job easier:


  • - Put more information in the outline than you really need for the paper. It is easier to trim that it is to add details. So, add as much relevant material as you can find. Do not add irrelevant items; never add fluff to your outline or to your paper.

  • - For each main idea in the outline, have three or four references for support. You can have quotes, number, data, case studies, interviews, laboratory reports, and information from books, novels, encyclopedias, websites, journals, and newspapers.

  • - Always have the Introduction as your I. in the outline. In the introduction you will need a thesis statement, background material, and a hook or attention getter.

  • - Always have a conclusion in your essay outline. It will be your very last section. In your conclusion you will have a restated thesis statement and a universal statement. Do not introduce new material in your outline conclusion.

  • - Find out if your instructor wants you to use a topic outline or a sentence outline. Once you know which to use, make yourself familiar with the rules concerned the designated outline.

  • - Remember, you will have to edit and finalize your working outline. A final outline will be due with the essay.

  • - In a topic outline the only complete sentences that you can have are your thesis statement and your quotes.

  • - Your spelling and formatting will count in your outline. Make sure the work in your outline is proofed and is of your highest quality.

Outlines will help you as you write your paper. Always use an outline when you are writing an essay. The outline is a guide that helps you stay on track and helps you to write the paper in an organized and well-constructed paper. You will make changes as you work towards a final outline, but that is fine. Changes in your outline mean that you are doing your job correctly.

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