How to outline your academic essay properly


An Academic Essay Must Follow a Particular Outline

To earn high marks on your academic papers (especially research projects), you must follow the expected, required format and structure. Failure to do so will cause reader confusion, and will leave your instructor with the impression that you are not thorough and conscientious in your work.

While it can be a pain to write an academic essay, the structure actually helps to make prewriting a bit less strenuous. Since the main sections are always the same and are always in the same order, it can be quite easy to master the format and learn it like the back of your hand. After a few academic essays, you will be able to write on autopilot.

What is the Correct Academic Essay Structure?

The structure for an academic essay is as follows: title page, abstract, introduction, hypothesis (or thesis), method, materials, results, conclusion, reference list, appendices (if necessary). Every major academic paper that you write ought to follow this outline, in this order, no matter the length of the paper itself. You can think of each of these sections as chapters, or as subheaders, or even as bullet points on an outline itself. Each section must be filled with certain information, at which point your paper can transition onto the next section.

How do You Outline Your Academic Essays?

Follow the structure above to write your essay outline. Each required section should be a bullet point or header on your outline, and should have at least a page of material (or several paragraphs). Write gradually, working on each section at a time. This will make writing your paper a little less daunting, because you will have several discrete goals that can be easily met in individual writing sessions. Complete your introduction, then move on to your hypotheses, and so on. You may write the sections in separate document files or all at once.

Putting the Academic Essay Together

Each section should have at least one heading, with a title that corresponds to the function of that section. You may also wish to break up the rest of the text with subheadings, particularly if you are writing a long research paper, such as a thesis or dissertation. You can write each section separately and paste them all together. You may need to add a few transitional sentences at the beginning and the end of each section, so the introduction moves smoothly into the hypothesis (for example), to make things a little bit tidier.

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