Ways to outline a research paper

It is putting all of your research together in a format that you can present to people. There are many different ways to put together and present your thesis statement and supporting evidence.

Ways to outline a research paper

The methodology section of a research paper answers two main questions: How was the data collected or generated? And, how was it analyzed?

Ways to outline a research paper

The writing should be direct and precise and always written in the past tense. Importance of a Good Methodology Section You must explain how you obtained and analyzed your results for the following reasons: Readers need to know how the data was obtained because the method you chose affects the results and, by extension, how you interpreted their significance.

Methodology is crucial for any branch of scholarship because an unreliable method produces unreliable results and, as a consequence, undermines the value of your interpretations of the findings. In most cases, there are a variety of different methods you can choose to investigate a research problem.

The methodology section of your paper should clearly articulate the reasons why you chose a particular procedure or technique. The reader wants to know that the data was collected or generated in a way that is consistent with accepted practice in the field of study.

For example, if you are using a multiple choice questionnaire, readers need to know that it offered your respondents a reasonable range of answers to choose from. The method must be appropriate to fulfilling the overall aims of the study.

For example, you need to ensure that you have a large enough sample size to be able to generalize and make recommendations based upon the findings. The methodology should discuss the problems that were anticipated and the steps you took to prevent them from occurring.

For any problems that do arise, you must describe the ways in which they were minimized or why these problems do not impact in any meaningful way your interpretation of the findings.

In the social and behavioral sciences, it is important to always provide sufficient information to allow other researchers to adopt or replicate your methodology. This information is particularly important when a new method has been developed or an innovative use of an existing method is utilized.

Writing the Empirical Journal Article. University of Washington; Denscombe, Martyn. The Good Research Guide: Writing a Successful Thesis or Dissertation: Structure and Writing Style I. Groups of Research Methods There are two main groups of research methods in the social sciences: The empirical-analytical group approaches the study of social sciences in a similar manner that researchers study the natural sciences.

This type of research focuses on objective knowledge, research questions that can be answered yes or no, and operational definitions of variables to be measured. The empirical-analytical group employs deductive reasoning that uses existing theory as a foundation for formulating hypotheses that need to be tested.

This approach is focused on explanation. The interpretative group of methods is focused on understanding phenomenon in a comprehensive, holistic way.


Interpretive methods focus on analytically disclosing the meaning-making practices of human subjects [the why, how, or by what means people do what they do], while showing how those practices arrange so that it can be used to generate observable outcomes.

Interpretive methods allow you to recognize your connection to the phenomena under investigation. However, the interpretative group requires careful examination of variables because it focuses more on subjective knowledge. Content The introduction to your methodology section should begin by restating the research problem and underlying assumptions underpinning your study.

If the method you choose lies outside of the tradition of your field [i. The remainder of your methodology section should describe the following: Decisions made in selecting the data you have analyzed or, in the case of qualitative research, the subjects and research setting you have examined, Tools and methods used to identify and collect information, and how you identified relevant variables, The ways in which you processed the data and the procedures you used to analyze that data, and The specific research tools or strategies that you utilized to study the underlying hypothesis and research questions.

In addition, an effectively written methodology section should: Introduce the overall methodological approach for investigating your research problem. Is your study qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both mixed method? Are you going to take a special approach, such as action research, or a more neutral stance?The following outline is for a page paper discussing the link between educational attainment and health.

Review the other sections of this page for more detailed information about each component of this outline!

D. Gaps in the Research: Outlining Your Outline as a Way to Write Every Day (blog post) Writing Center blog post. Edit Article How to Write a Research Paper. In this Article: Article Summary Choosing Your Topic Researching Making an Outline Writing Your Paper Sample Research Papers and Outlines Community Q&A When studying at higher levels of school and throughout college, you will likely be asked to prepare research papers.

The methods section describes actions to be taken to investigate a research problem and the rationale for the application of specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information applied to understanding the problem, thereby, allowing the reader to critically evaluate a study’s overall validity and reliability.

A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation.

For a standard research paper of pages, your outline should be no more than four pages in length. It may be helpful as you are developing your outline to also write down a tentative list of references.

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