Kiswahili Institute

A Quick Guide To Composing A 5-Page Research Paper Outline 

Outlining is a necessary stage of the writing process. A good preliminary outline will help you structure your paper effectively because it will show the whole picture of your future project. Namely, the outline will help you decide how to connect your ideas and what order to follow. It will also demonstrate possible gaps in your thinking and expose whether you have enough evidence to support your main points. For a 5-page research paper, you should create a single-page outline. The following guidelines will help you cope with the task.

Choosing an Outlining Strategy

Outlines can be created in different ways. Consider the following things when deciding on the outlining strategy:

  • Choose between the topic outline and the sentence outline.
  • The topic outline is done in short phrases while the sentence outline is built of complete sentences. If your 5-page paper should cover several different issues at once, give preference to the topic outline. However, if you deal with complex issues in your work, select the sentence outline.

  • Decide on the level of your outline.
  • A two-level outline will be good for a 5-page research paper. It will consist of headings (covering your main points) and subheadings (providing supporting evidence). However, if you want to be more thorough, choose a three-level outline (including specific details, like quotes or numbers).

Developing the Outline

A 5-page research paper outline is likely to consist of the following components:

  • An introduction.
  • Your introduction should necessarily include your thesis statement. Moreover, mention what main points will be covered in your paper (as subheadings in your introduction) and what hook you are going to apply in your opening sentence.

  • The body.
  • The main points of your paper will be presented as the main headings in your body section. They should correspond to the subheadings listed in your introduction. If you use a two-level outline, develop your subheadings with the general information supporting your main points. In a three-level outline, jot down even more specific supporting details.

  • Conclusions.
  • The conclusions section in your 5-page research paper won’t contain much information. However, at least two points should be listed. In a first heading, you should necessarily restate the thesis. The following headings may be devoted to drawing additional conclusions based on your study, shedding new light on the topic, or calling to action.

General Recommendation

  • Whatever outlining strategy you apply, be consistent.
  • Make sure that the main points of your body section are equally important and valuable.
  • Employ subordination: the headings should be general while the subheadings are supposed to be more specific.

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