Composing A Research Paper In Environmental Science: An Outline Example

Every paper has an outline. Not only are they required to keep your paper on track, but they can help with planning. When you know what goes where, it can make the writing itself easier. This can also help you divide your paper into sections so that you can work on one thing at a time. Organization is the key to a good paper!

Before we go to the example, let's go over the basic steps of a research paper.

First, there is the introduction. This explains your topic (or thesis) and gives the reader an idea of what you're going to cover in your paper.

Next, there is the main body, which consists of three to five points or arguments that give evidence to support your thesis statement. Whatever facts or data you have should be included after each individual argument.

Finally, there is a conclusion. You should restate your thesis statement and then give your conclusion, and your reasons for coming to that conclusion.

It's pretty simple, but it doesn't explain in detail how your paper should look! Having examples can be a huge help. They can help you map out your paper as well as show you what your professors are looking for.

Here is an outline for you to follow:

  • Abstract – a summary of the work. Not all papers require this, so you should check with your professor. This isn't something you want to spend time on if you don't have to!
  • Introduction – make it interesting. You want to intrigue your readers. You need to introduce your topic and the research that you will be covering.
  • Main Body – this usually consists of three or more paragraphs. Each paragraph should begin with a new topic (or argument) followed by information or data that supports that argument. You can also include histories, theories or anything else that you think is relevant to the study.
  • Methods – how you found your information and why you used those particular methods.
  • Analysis – not all papers require this either, but if you do include it, you can state what you did with the information you collected.
  • Discussion – this should take a look at your findings, why they are relevant and what they mean. This may be a good place to answer any leftover questions.
  • Conclusion – many times this simply restates the thesis. You want to finalize your paper and give some closure to your readers.
  • References – citing your sources.

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