Making a thorough research paper outline is very important for both you and the supervisor checking the paper. For one, a great outline will help you focus on the flow and structure of the paper. This activity is as important as executing the research itself. When you break the whole report down into systematic parts, then it stops being a daunting task, instead, you have a structure and are less worried to go about the study.
On the other hand, a well-structured research paper outline will give you an edge with the supervisor because as a first impression, your report will look the part it was supposed to be. Even if you have a great conclusion to your report, if your outline is not up to the mark, then it certainly will not be taken seriously. There are various formats for making an outline, however, it is always best to check with your supervisor about their preferred formats and follow that judiciously.
- Length of the report: Usually you have a word limit to reports. You can either have avery long report, with relevant information or you may never reach the word limit, but if youhave the relevant information then both approaches are welcome. It is never advisable to fluff-up your report just to hit the desirable word count. Appendices make it easier to keep a check on which parts you need to omit to make your report relevant. The word limit usually does notinvolve appendices or citations sections so make use of them to your advantage.
- Structure: Any report should contain the following sections. However, it is really up to you and the length of your report on how you want to structure it. It is advisable to breakdown lengthy papers into sections and sub-sections for more clarity.
- Title - Add your name, or the team that worked on the report, plus the supervisor's name here.
- Abstract - Summarize your report in about 200 words.
- Table of Contents - Name the sections and sub-sections along with their page numbers.
- Introduction - Give a brief history with background and reason on how and why you went with the chosen experiment.
- Methodology - Mention the location, sample and equipment used.
- Results - Synopsis with data.
- Conclusions - Discuss your findings.
- Bibliography - All the direct references and citationsgo here.
- Appendices - Lay out all raw data here.