How to Plan and Create an Outline of a Thesis Paper

A thesis outline is a handy tool for any student looking to write an outstanding paper. Besides gauging the flow and completeness of your arguments, the outline of a thesis paper keeps you from diverting into irrelevant arguments, ensuring that you address all the research questions you had intended. 

If you are unsure of the steps to follow when creating a thesis outline, this article will highlight the thesis paper outline and share some tips for a quality PhD thesis outline.

Thesis outline structure

The thesis paper comprises the:

  1. Abstract

This section of a thesis paper is crucial since it conveys the main idea of your paper’s theme to the reader. Typically, the abstract is one to two pages long and highlights the purpose of your research, your thesis statement, your research technique, and its major conclusions. 

  1. The introduction

The introduction should highlight your paper’s background information, thesis, and main arguments while also demonstrating the significance of your study. The methods utilized to research the problem at hand should also be highlighted in this section, along with the implications of your main findings. 

  1. Literature review

The literature review analyzes your sources, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses while making links between them. This chapter should ideally demonstrate the gap in the literature, highlight the constraints of your study, and assist you in expanding on the issue that your study is trying to solve. 

  1. Methods

The requirements for data collection are presented in the methods chapter along with a justification of your methodology and sampling process. Likewise, include your paper’s difficulties and alternative mitigations. 

  1. Results

This chapter is 4 to 7 pages long and contains graphs and charts that allow the reader to compare and analyze the findings of your research. This part should explain how your hypothesis connects to the findings and provide a summary that the reader may use to understand the scope of the experiment and your interpretation of the findings. 

  1. Discussion

The discussion should compare your findings to those of earlier research on your subject and support various assertions with reliable sources. In addition, this part should analyze numerous surprising findings and explore the implications for future study in your subject. Analyze numerous objections to your position at the end and demonstrate how your findings reject or support them. 

  1. Conclusion

The last section of your essay is the conclusion, which takes two to three pages. Discuss your significant findings and illustrate how they connect to the issues raised in the introduction above. Provide a list of your study’s limitations and suggestions for further research that may be done to expand your inquiry. You could also point out potential solutions to the issues your research examined.

How to create a thesis outline

Among the most important pointers for your outline are: 

  1. Research the topic in depth

Before beginning to create an outline, decide on your thesis and assess the topics you have at your disposal. This can help you comprehend your arguments more clearly, which will make it easier for you to create them. 

Make a note of the key ideas that might apply to your project while you perform your research. If you can, use an outliner to help you better link the ideas in your paper. You can also use mind maps to connect your ideas and ensure smooth transitions between arguments. 

  1. Sort your ideas into categories

After conducting research, group ideas into relevant subsections to create a more convincing case. This will help you to evaluate the coherence of thoughts in each section and deplete the arguments for each part before starting to compose your thesis. 

Based on the categories you’ve created, narrow your topic down to relevant areas. For longer papers, you might use these sections of your paper whereas shorter texts could be divided into paragraphs. 

  1. Organize ideas in each subsection

For a stronger argument, address each paragraph independently and organize your ideas from broad to specific. Your paragraphs should begin with a topic sentence, a claim that is backed up by information and arguments, and a conclusion. 

Final take

Writing a thesis outline is not rocket science. The tips in this article should come in handy to help you write an outline that allows you to properly analyze various arguments within your essay. Also, be keen to check a sample thesis outline to better familiarize yourself with how ideas are expressed within each section of your paper.

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