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The Research Paper: Module 4

Step 4 Directions

Develop a thesis statement, and a three-to-six page outline of your paper.

The thesis statement is the roof under which your entire paper resides!  

  • Presents your point of view on the topic.
  • Preview of how you plan to prove your viewpoint
  • Make your theseis statement powerful, convincing, and bold

A general outline guideline would be:

  • Introduce the problem
  • Offer your thesis as a solution for the problem
  • Give a brief history and explain psychological implications of the problem
  • Give an overview of the research and progress in addressing the problem
  • Give details of the specific research that supports your thesis
  • Share pros and cons
  • Conclude with a summary that pulls it all together and offers direction for future research. 

You should have a heading or a major topic for each paragraph that you will write.  Under each heading/major topic, you will have subheadings which will be the supporting details for that topic.   All supporting details should relate to, explain and validate the topic sentence.  If they do not, then they don’t belong in that paragraph!

Organize the heading/subheading sections so that the argument for support of your thesis flows in a convincing and logical manner! 

Please remember to address respect in your paper!  The syllabus calls for your paper to include a discussion of the SLU core value of respect, as part of your exploration of the military’s integration of your chosen topic. 

Plan ahead to maintain objectivity in your writing!  Refrain from the use of personal pronouns (I, me, my, you, your…)  and edit carefully to remove bias and judgment. 

Passionate debate is not required in a literature review.  The point of scientific writing is to lay out the research so objectively and clearly that the reader will be persuaded to adopt your point of view, by virtue of the powerful research that you have presented.  You cannot tell the reader what to think, so avoid using biased language or making judgments.  A literature review is not an editorial!  Simply present the most respected research, and let the research speak for itself. 

Refrain from using the viewpoint of a casual lecturer or editor, by avoiding the use of phrases like “Let’s think about this…” or “I will talk about that…” or “my paper will…”

Thesis Statement Video

Parts Of The Outline


For this assignment, I would like your Title to be placed first on the page, followed by your Thesis statement, followed by your 3-6 page outline.   


*The title should be directly related to your thesis.

* All of the important words must be capitalized in the title.


* For this class, I would like your Thesis statement to be placed first, above your outline.

* The Thesis should be below the title but before the first section.


* For a paper of this length, it is best to divide the information into sections.

* Each section will be designated with a Roman numeral. (If you have 3 sections your outline will have 3 Roman numerals.)

* The information following a Roman numeral is a section topic and gives a word or phrase that sums up the main idea of each section.

* The sections are often indicated by the thesis statement. 

* The introduction will be Roman numeral I while the conclusion will be the last Roman numeral on your outline.

* Capitalize sections as you would a title.


* Each main topic will be designated with a capital letter. These are indented below the Roman numeral/section they relate to.

* The information that follows a capital letter is a main topic and gives the main idea or each paragraph. This will be used to create the topic sentence of the paragraph.

* For each capital letter there is a paragraph (2 capital letters = 2 paragraphs in the section).

* Your outline must always have two or more capital letters for each section.

* Capitalize the first word in each main topic.


* Each subtopic will be designated with an Arabic numeral. These are indented below the capital letter/main topic they relate to.

* The information that follows an Arabic numeral is called the subtopic and gives details that support the main topic of the paragraph.

* These subtopics will become the sentences that make up the body of the paragraph.

* Your outline must always have two or more subtopics for every main topic.

* The first word of each subtopic should be capitalized.


* Each detail will be designated with lower case letters. These are indented below the Arabic numeral/subtopic they relate to.

* The information that follows the lower case letters are details and tell specific information about the subtopic of the paragraph.

* If you choose to include details in your outline you must use two in relation to a subtopic. There can never be just one. If you only have one, do not put it on the outline.

* It is ok for some subtopics to have details while others do not.

* The first word of each detail should be capitalized.

Outline Example

Women Rule in the Pende Tribe

Thesis: Anthropologists, through the study of African art, have learned
that women were the dominate gender in the tribal government
as well as the labor force.

I. Introduction

   A. Definition of tribe (Intuitive Internet)
   B. General preview government and labor force

II. Government

   A. Tribal council
       1. Maternal uncle (Tribal Internet)
       2. Laws (Tribal Internet)
             a. Family of origin
             b. Extended family

   B. Regional Justice

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