How to Write a Research Paper: Art of Little Steps with an Easy Outline

If you are tasked with writing a research paper, it is important to follow the art of little steps. It is really the little steps in essay writing, and in life, that enable you to succeed in your work. The outline is one of those little steps and it is something that can really move your work forward.

The outline is where you sketch the essay out before you start. You can use a single line sentence to describe each of the paragraphs in your work, and beneath that, put bullet points to describe what will be contained in each paragraph. You want to use the outline in order to play around with the order of the arguments. Your job is to test different orders, see what arguments need more evidence, find arguments that are missing, or find those arguments that do not belong. You should use the outline to map the structure that your argument will take and ensure you have unification in your essay.

The outline may look something like this:

  • Introduction will introduce the thesis, set up the issue that will be addressed, and hook the reader.

    Set up the issue

    Hook the reader

    Introduce thesis

  • Paragraph 1 will explain the single idea that supports your thesis, and introduce evidence

    First idea supporting thesis

    Evidence

    Evidence

  • Paragraph 2 will explain the single idea that supports your thesis, and introduce evidence

    Second idea supporting thesis

    Evidence

    Evidence

  • Paragraph 3 will explain the single idea that supports your thesis, and introduce evidence

    Third idea supporting thesis

    Evidence

    Evidence

  • Conclusion will end on an interesting twist, or present a call to action, and wrap up the essay.

    Summary of thesis

    Summary of evidence and arguments

    Interesting twist

Note that in the outline above, each of the ideas presented in the paragraphs has the same number of evidence; they each have two sources or two points. It is important to ensure you remain consistent throughout and have the same evidence for each of the arguments you make. If an argument only has one piece of evidence, try and find another, or perhaps combine it with another argument.

Religion makes for an exciting paper topic. If you are struggling to find a topic that suits your paper you can review these religion topics and search for something that strikes you are interesting:

  • Prayer in schools
  • When freedom of religion goes too far
  • The power of cults
  • Occultism