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Writing A Perfect Outline Of An Academic Paper

Academic papers comprise a crucial aspect of learning for students in school. Learners have to write these papers to safeguard their educational futures by scoring well to the end of the semester or term and equipping them with soft skills such as planning. However, writing an academic paper requires a proper outline to have a logical flow and communicate the intended message. Therefore, students have to understand the best way on how to outline their work.

So do you want to write your academic paper and lack ideas on the outlining approaches to use? If so, it would help if you considered the following elements and methods of outlining.

Outlining Strategies

It becomes essential for students to outline their work. Here, try and outline the initial draft by listing the topic sentences for each paragraph. It will help ensure that every paragraph serves a particular purpose in the write-up. Outlining will also offer you an opportunity of eliminating or combining some paragraphs. For instance, the first draft will potentially have plenty of repetitive concepts besides sections that, instead of advancing the central argument, stalls it. Additionally, outlining helps you identify your write-up’s weaknesses and strengths once completed.

Sample Outline

The example demonstrated caters for a short paper (5-7 paged paper) and discusses the relationship between health and educational attainment.

  • Introduction. It should have the current problem with relation to the education attainment status and the increasing healthcare costs—the population or focus area, which should include low-skilled or unskilled workers. The introduction often provides the context to prepare your audience to receive your argument or thesis statement.
  • Key terms. Consider keywords such as well-educated and healthy
  • Thesis statement. Here, consider writing something that will portray what your piece will entail. Link aspects like income deficit to depression on students and the consequence of the depression concerning school dropout cases. Remember to cite sources appropriately.
    A thesis statement typically has to come as you finish the introduction. It should state concisely and clearly what your key argument encompasses and the purpose of your work. An introduction always prepares your audience for this statement, while everything that follows supports this statement.
  • Background. In this section, start by writing a historical employment synopsis and cite relevant sources. Write a historical healthcare synopsis and cite appropriate references. Follow this with the existing link between employment type and education. After that, include research gaps.
    The section often incorporates some literature review to survey the existing knowledge state concerning the subject or encompass the historical synopsis of applicable information. For instance, a background on health and education might contain an overview of current research on depression or declining graduation rates in high school.
  • Significant points (and minor points). It follows the background information, and here, you have to segment the research gaps into major or main and minor points. A major point gets followed by its subsequent minor points. You can use several major points and their following minor points. Major points form your paper’s building blocks, and one builds into the other. As such, your essay will progress towards its logical conclusion. Ensure that every major point contains a straightforward claim that associates with your paper’s central argument. Minor points, on the other hand, represent subtopics of your main point. It develops your major point’s nuances, though it may prove insignificant to warrant an extended focus in isolation.
    Your paper has to contain diverse significant points with their subsequent minor points. Every major point has to advance your paper’s central argument and with each significant point having several minor points to support it. Every major point has to develop and progress the previous major point until the paper reaches its conclusion.
  • Conclusion. Here, restate your thesis and elaborate on the next steps. The section needs to summarize your paper. However, avoid reiterating all the discussed significant points, and instead, revisit the thesis statement. You can then try to end your article by tying this restated thesis statement with the existing studies in your subject area, subsequent steps that researchers have to take, future implications, and your more extensive studies.


It becomes crucial for students to outline their work appropriately to stand a chance of writing an excellent academic paper. Therefore, follow the guidelines provided to ensure your outlining becomes a success.