Drafting Your Outline
What to do in the next week!
How long will my research
paper be?
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Approximately 10 pages,
double-spaced, does not include
cover sheet and Works Cited
Page
Font (Times 12)
Please do not use a document
cover/folder for this assignment.
Just staple it together and turn it
in.
How do I organize a research
paper?
You will need to make some
decisions about how to best
organize your information. The
following are some guidelines
for you to follow.
Decide Where to State Your
Main Point
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Introduction or Conclusion? What’s
best for your paper?
Introduction – readers feel no
suspense about your claim. You
make a contract with you reader as
to what they will learn from your
paper and you don’t let her down!
You hand over control to your reader
Decide Where to State Your
Main Point
In the conclusion – You keep control
of the paper. You say to your reader:
“Follow me through this report and
consider every item that I offer. In the
end, I will reveal my conclusion.”
 You force your readers to figure out
where your evidence is leading
them, as they would in a murder
mystery.
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Introduction
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Write a brief context
Succinctly state your research
question
State why it’s important
Write the answer that you
discovered (if you know it! You
may not have or discover an
answer until you’ve written the
paper! Or…your outline)
Sample Introduction
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First-born middle-class Caucasian
males are said to earn more, stay
employed longer and report more job
satisfaction. (context)
But no studies have looked at recent
immigrants from Southeast Asia to
find out whether they repeat that
pattern. If it doesn’t hold, we have to
understand whether another does,
why it is different, and what its
effects are (question)
Sample Introduction (cont.)
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Because only then can we
understand how patterns of success
and failure in ethnic communities
differ from those in European
communities. (why it’s important)
The predicted influence seems to cut
across ethnic groups, particularly
those from Vietnam, though it partly
depends on how long a family has
been here and their economic level
before they came. (hypothetical
answer)
Organizing the body of your
report
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Sketch necessary background,
definitions and conditions
What must your readers know and
understand before they can
understand the substance of your
argument.
Do not let this dominate your paper –
it’s like summarizing a play or novel
when writing an essay.
1-2 pages.
Organizing the body of your
report
Find the best order for your
reasons and evidence
 Reason First, then evidence to
support it. Repeat this
throughout your paper.
Organizing the body of your
report
In what order do I write my reasons?
Try different combinations – think
‘storyboard’ – what do you think will
be most effective?
You can always cut, paste and revise if
you see a better strategy. Don’t get
hung up here.
Organizing the body of your
report
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Old to New – reader prefer to
move from what they know to
what they don’t. Start with what
is familiar to your readers, then
move to the unfamiliar
Organizing the body of your
report
Some guidelines for organizing your
reasons (cont.)
 Shorter and Simpler to Longer and
More Complex – start with what’s
easier to understand and move to
the more complex
 Uncontested to More Contested –
start with the less controversial
reasons. What will your reader
accept more readily.
Organizing the body of your
report
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Locate acknowledgments and
responses – Try to acknowledge
and respond to the most
important questions and
objections where you think your
readers will raise them.
Organizing the body of your
report
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You may need to summarize the other,
more accepted argument that opposes
your claim.
You may briefly acknowledge another
argument while making a point – but finish
your point first! Then, go back and
respond to the other argument.
If your paper offers a solution at the end,
you may write about other solutions –
refuting each one of them until you offer
your solution at the very end
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Drafting Your Research Paper Outline