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outline for writing a thesis paper

outline for writing a thesis paper




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Four Main Components for Effective Outlines

This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.

Contributors: Elyssa Tardiff, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2013-03-01 09:20:56

Ideally, you should follow the four suggestions presented here to create an effective outline. When creating a topic outline, follow these two rules for capitalization: For first-level heads, present the information using all upper-case letters; and for secondary and tertiary items, use upper and lower-case letters. The examples are taken from the Sample Outline handout.

Parallelism—How do I accomplish this?

Each heading and subheading should preserve parallel structure. If the first heading is a verb, the second heading should be a verb. Example:

  1. CHOOSE DESIRED COLLEGES
  2. PREPARE APPLICATION

("Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs. The present tense of the verb is usually the preferred form for an outline.)

Coordination—How do I accomplish this?

All the information contained in Heading 1 should have the same significance as the information contained in Heading 2. The same goes for the subheadings (which should be less significant than the headings). Example:

  1. VISIT AND EVALUATE COLLEGE CAMPUSES
  2. VISIT AND EVALUATE COLLEGE WEBSITES
    1. Note important statistics
    2. Look for interesting classes

(Campus and Web sites visits are equally significant. They are part of the main tasks you would need to do. Finding statistics and classes found on college Web sites are parts of the process involved in carrying out the main heading topics.)

Subordination—How do I accomplish this?

The information in the headings should be more general, while the information in the subheadings should be more specific. Example:

  1. DESCRIBE AN INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE
    1. Favorite high school teacher
    2. Grandparent

(A favorite teacher and grandparent are specific examples from the generalized category of influential people in your life.)

Division—How do I accomplish this?

Each heading should be divided into 2 or more parts. Example:

  1. COMPILE RÉSUMÉ
    1. List relevant coursework
    2. List work experience
    3. List volunteer experience

(The heading "Compile Résumé" is divided into 3 parts.)

Technically, there is no limit to the number of subdivisions for your headings; however, if you seem to have a lot, it may be useful to see if some of the parts can be combined.

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The Main Idea of a Thesis Proposal

When you graduate school one of the main things you should work on is your thesis proposal. If you browse the Web, you’ll find a lot of samples available. But in order to get better prepared for writing a thesis proposal, consider the following writing tip: while the thesis is always written in the past tense, your proposal should be written in present and future tenses.

Techniques to Use When Writing a Thesis Proposal

Today we’re going to share with you some super ingredients of a winning thesis proposal. Let’s look through them:

  • Introductory part (usually 1-2 pages)
    • It doesn’t have to be perfect. But it should result in your reader’s interest in the overview.
    • If you like you can write this chapter last. The thing is that you are more likely to have better overview of the project after you’ve written all other chapters of your proposal.
  • Problem statement
    • The first thing you should prepare is the research question. After you’ve done with it, make it a statement noting the adverse consequences of the problem.
    • Your type of study determines the types of questions you have to formulate in your graduate thesis proposal. What do you want to produce or create and what value will it have to you and society?
  • Background
    • As it was suggested earlier, you should capture the reader’s attention and try to show him or her significance of the problem.
    • Provide at least 3 reasons why this specific problem is important for society and specify 2-3 concrete examples of the problem.
  • What is the purpose?
    • It is good to start with “The purpose of my study is…” interpret, change, evaluate, investigate, or analyze the problem.
    • Specify your goal in details. Keep in mind that it should represent an investigative activity.

Some Other Tips for Graduate Thesis Proposal

The other important parts you should include in your thesis proposal outline are: literature review, hypotheses, definition of terms, assumption, scope & limitations, procedure and long-term consequences. Each point has its unique features to mention. Contact us today to find out more.

How to Write Thesis Proposal Outline When You Don’t Have Enough Time or Experience?

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