Jane Grant at on
What does a good outline look like?
Between the initial research and the actual writing process, another step is to create your outline. If you have a good outline, not much can go wrong.
Therefore, it is even more important that you discuss your outline in detail with your professor or supervisor and have it approved. Your outline already shows your line of argumentation and indicates whether you have considered all relevant aspects of the topic.
Essentially, a scientific paper always consists of:
List of sources
Before the introduction, you can include a list of figures and/or a list of tables if this is necessary for your paper.
However, the main part of your paper is the most important part of your outline. The first one or two chapters of the main body deal with the basic content of your research question. If you refer to technical terms or basic concepts, these must be defined and described at the beginning.
In the following chapters, your independent investigation or linking of various facts is in the foreground - it is no longer a matter of pure reproduction.
How many chapters your outline should have depends on both the number of pages allowed for your paper and the complexity of your topic.
Try to make the outline as detailed as possible. You can include subchapters on several levels (1.1 / 1.1.1 / 220.127.116.11 etc.).
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Attention: Take into account that there must be at least two subchapters on each level! For example, if you have a chapter 1.1.1, you need at least 1.1.2. Otherwise, the chapter does not justify an independent sublevel.
In the concluding part of the paper you can answer your research question (i.e. draw a conclusion) as well as give an outlook. The outlook can include, for example, the points where further research is recommended.