Most students and even some professional academicians ignore drawing up an outline before writing their academic papers. Some believe that they have the ideas in their head and thus there is no use of jotting down their ideas. If you find yourself constantly becoming stuck in the body of your paper or the paper seems to have lost its direction, it is probably because you did not take the time to create an outline. Having an outline prior to writing your research paper is important for the following reasons:
- An outline lessens the burden of writing
When you have an outline, your thoughts are organized making the process of writing much easier for you. You know the information you wish to present in every section that you have outlined. Your thoughts are not scattered everywhere, rather they are focused on the main ideas that you presented in the outline. In a way, the outline serves as a guide to help you write a refined paper.
- A structure makes the paper memorable
When you have a clearly defined structure for your paper, the information presented within is more memorable for the reader. Abstract concepts become clearer in the mind of the reader, and they feel that they have gained important information from the paper after reading it.
- You are more focused when you have an outline
The outline serves as a guide, and in this way makes you more focused. You tend to stick to the main ideas presented in your outline, and avoid going off topic. When new ideas occur to you as you write, you can look at your outline and see where and whether those ideas fit into the main ideas your paper is covering.
- An outline serves as a great motivation
An outline breaks down the paper into sections that are easier to manage. When you finish a section, you feel that you are making progress, and are a step closer to finishing the paper. Finishing off one section after another motivates you to continue working until you have completed the paper. This is especially the case in long projects such as research papers as well as dissertations.
- Outlines help create continuity within your work
In addition to ensuring that you are thorough in your writing, outlines assist in creating a logical series of thoughts enhancing the reader’s experience. When you are drawing up an outline, you are able to see the logical pathway that the paper will take. The paper and its direction begin to take shape in your mind as you write down the outline. In addition, you will be able to avoid continuity errors that are common in many research papers. When there is a logical sequence of thoughts, explanations, and events in your paper, your credibility as a writer is enhanced.
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