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Academic term paper help: secrets, tips, guidelines and how-to's

Creating a comprehensive outline of a term paper

Did you ever try making a recipe without reading the directions? It can be a real mess. Think of an outline as a recipe or set of general directions for the shape of your paper. An outline is just one of the tools most writers use when beginning a new project, as an aid to organizing information. Logical ordering of information is a must when considering your audience. Outlines, when used for research papers, help you to keep a handle on large qualities of data. When writing creatively, the outline is most useful in keeping track of things such as plot twists or character traits. Many people find an outline useful when organizing a presentation, or, an oral report. With an outline they find they speak more effectively. The main reasons to use an outline when writing a research paper, a report or a book review are listed below:

  • Aids in the writing process
  • Organizes ideas
  • Shows the relationships among separate ideas
  • Defines groups and boundaries
  • Creates an ordered overview of the writing

How to best create an outline:

  • Decide the purpose of the paper.
  • Determine what particular audience you are writing for.
  • Make the thesis for your paper.

Next Steps:

  • List ideas that you want to write about in your paper (this is called brainstorming).
  • Organize your paper so that related ideas are grouped together.
  • Arrange your material into subsections, from abstract to concrete or, specific to general.


Outlines are almost essential to starting a new writing project for students who want to organize their ideas. An outline will sometimes seem like an unnecessary or time-consuming step in the process. You may be tempted to skip it. Don’t! The outline is a reference tool you can look back upon again and again as your paper demands it. Outlines will make the handling of data easy and convenient because everything will be at your fingertips on one or two pages. If you are involved in writing a creative project, there is no better starting point than the outline. It will help you keep track of important changes in tone or mood. Outlines also help folks write and speak more effectively than those that never use them. If you want you transitions to be smooth and logical as one idea flows into the next, it is best to begin with the outline. An outline is a recipe for success.

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