• Kaun Lab

How To Write A Detailed Outline

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

The purpose of an detailed outline (something akin to an annotated bibliography) is to provide the reader with a summary and evaluation of each source. These are really helpful for writing introductions and discussions. Each summary should be concise and include the source's central idea and content. It is a helpful tool for learning how to concisely summarize scientific studies, and write findings and relevance in your own words.

The quality and usefulness of your annotations will depend on your selection of sources. Define the scope of your research carefully so that you can make good judgments about what to include and exclude. Your research should attempt to be reasonably comprehensive within well-defined boundaries. Consider:

  • What problem are you investigating?

  • Are you finding essential studies on your topic?

  • Is the source central to your argument?

Outline template example:


Introductory paragraph (thesis statement near the end)

Paragraph 1: Title for paragraph 2

  • Citation A

  • sentence or two about citation

  • Citation B

  • sentence or two about citation

  • Citation C and D

  • sentence or two about these two citations that make the same point

(similar format for paragraphs 3-5)

Paragraph 6: Introduce novel idea / synthesis

Paragraph 7: Summarize and conclude

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