Research Paper Outline Sample Chicago Style

Many students use outlines to help organize their thoughts and keep their paper flowing in the direction they planned it to go. An outline is like a map that guides you and your thoughts in an organized manner from the introduction to the conclusion. There are different citation styles that certain professors prefer over others for their research papers and the same applies to outlines for these papers. The following is the format you should follow if your professor requests the Chicago style outline.

1. Choose your thesis statement- Your outline must begin with your thesis statement. Everything in your outline should relate to this thesis statement. Your thesis statement should start with the Roman numeral “I” followed by a period. 2. Roman numerals are used for all of your major points. Each Roman numeral represents a paragraph. 3. The ideas that you have found to support your main points should all begin with capital letters. These ideas that begin with capital letters should be indented one space past the Roman numerals. 4. Depending on how many categories you need to support each of your ideas will depend on how you indicate them on your paper. This is an example of what the outline might look like:
  • I. Thesis Statement
  • II. Major Point
    • A. Support major point
      • 1. Supporting evidence
        • a. Evidence
        • a.i.a) More evidence
      • 2. Supporting evidence
    • B. Support major Point
      • 1. Supporting evidence
      • 2. Supporting evidence
  • III. Major Point
    • 1. Supporting evidence
    • 2. Supporting evidence
    • 3. Supporting evidence
  • B. Support major point
  • IV. Major Point
    • A. Supporting major point
    • 1. Supporting evidence
    • 2. Supporting evidence
  • V. Conclusion
  • Above is an example of what the outline may look like for a Chicago style research paper. There are many places on the internet that will show you additional examples such as (insert web site of your choice). If you follow these guidelines, you will successfully create your outline which in turn will be the foundation for a research paper.

    You should have done all of your research at this time and organized all of your data so you can organize them to be input into your outline. Once you have completed your outline, you have done most of the hard work. All that is left is putting your main points into complete sentences. Follow your “map” and you will have no problem having a great flowing, concise, thorough research paper.

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    SUMMARY:

    • Construct an argument that answers the writing prompt by arranging your notes linearly.
    • Unless your teacher wants a 5 paragraph essay (an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph), don’t feel constrained by that model.

    LINKS:

    Now that you’ve grouped your notes, thought about your transitions, and developed a high-powered thesis, its time to build the scaffold upon which you’ll structure your paper: the outline.

    Some teachers prefer a standard 3 body paragraph format. Three is a nice number aesthetically, but there is nothing particularly magical about having three body paragraphs. Unless your teacher states that you must have a certain number of body paragraphs, don’t feel constrained by this 3 paragraph format. The number of body paragraphs you have should be determined by your research and how you grouped your notes, not by an arbitrary number. Have one main claim expressed in each paragraph.

    Tip: Keep in mind that the outline needs to be flexible. Don’t feel constrained by your outline once it’s created. If you get a surge of inspiration part way through writing your paper and decide to take your paper in a new direction, go ahead and change your outline.

    There are several different ways to format an outline, but the MLA method (below) is a solid way to do it. Note how easily all the previous work you’ve done (grouping your notes and thinking about transitions) slides into the outline format:

    Links to sample outlines:

     

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