Introduction - Outlines

Writing a 12-15 page introduction can seem daunting! But, if you create a well organized outline, the task will be that much easier.

Outline 1:  List the major topics you plan to talk about, in order. The order should make logical sense. Begin with topics that review basic/general information related to your research question(s). As you move down the list, the topics should become more specific to your research question(s). Use 2-3 subheadings under each or most of the major headings (i.e. topics) to help you organzie what you will say about each. The order of these subheadings should also make sense.


Outline 2:  Now that you have read a great deal more articles/books related to your research, you will be able to add more headings and subheadings. You may need to rearrange your outline, as new information comes in. I should see evidence of this in outline #2. At this point, you should begin adding citations into the outline. Keep the citations simple (e.g. last name of first author, year).


Outline 3:  At this point, you should have read most of the books/articles you need to write your introduction.  You may or may not need to tweak the headings and subheadings. The primary difference between this outline and outline #2 is that you will now have most if not all the citations embedded under each heading/subheading. Note that there should be few secondary references and preferably none.

Once outline #3 is done, you are ready to write! I find it easier to write one section at a time, rather than skip around like a fish flip-flopping out of water.