Research Paper Outline
I. Introduction: Write your complete introduction.
• Hook: A hook is a powerful opening sentence to your essay. It grabs the reader’s attention so well that they want to read on.
Click here for help with writing a hook.
• Narrow towards your thesis. But don’t give so much detail that you reveal all of the paper in the introduction. Limit your introduction to five (5) sentences maximum.
• Thesis: This is the most important part of the introduction. It reveals what the paper’s topic is (the “So what?”) and tells the reader why they should read this paper (the “Who cares?”) The thesis sets out a roadmap for your entire essay.
II. Body Paragraphs
• Give each paragraph a title – then remove it on the final copy. This will help you to analyze the flow of your paper, and it will help you to see if your body paragraphs truly support your thesis statement.
• Begin with a strong topic sentence. This sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is about. It must make a point.
• Provide evidence. Evidence comes in the form of:
➢ quoted material from your researched sources.
➢ quoted material from the literary text itself
➢ examples from the literary text itself
➢ statistical/data-driven facts (when applicable)
Here are some questions you can ask yourself about a particular bit of evidence:
• O.k., I’ve just stated this point, but so what? Why is it interesting? Why should anyone care?
• What does this information imply?
• What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking at a problem this way?
• I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it, but why is it like that?
• I’ve just said that something happens-so how does it happen? How does it come to be the way it is?
• Why is this information important? Why does it matter?
• How is this idea related to my thesis? What connections exist between them? Does it support my thesis? If so, how does it do that?
• Can I give an example to illustrate this point?
You cannot use personal examples, or make personal references in a literary research paper. Do not use any form of first person: “I, me, us, we, my, myself, our, ours” in any part of the paper.
i. Restate the thesis in different words. ii. Recap the main ideas of this essay. iii. Leave the reading audience with something to consider more deeply.
iv. Limit this section to five (5) sentences maximum
O NOT INTRODUCE NEW
IV. Works Cited
• Written on a separate page
• Double-spaced entry
• Make sure that you have included an entry for four sources PLUS the text itself.