An outline is the scaffold upon which you build your paper. You probably already use a mental outline when you plan a paper, perhaps without even being aware of it. Writing the outline can give you a visualization of your plan. An outline provides both focus and direction for the paper, shows where relevant points and arguments need to be made and also identifies areas where more supportive evidence is needed.
What is an annotated outline?
As you are writing a research paper, your paper is built around the research findings that you located in your search. When you prepare an annotated outline, you will note the research that supports each section of the paper. This will help you see any areas that need further research to support them.
The following example may help support the transition of your paper from a collection of research notes to a fully developed paper.
Suppose the research topic you chose was the relation of childhood bullying to self-esteem. The title of your paper is: Self-esteem in childhood bullying.
When researching the paper, you found conflicting research results. Some research showed that children with low self-esteem tended to bully others, while other research showed that children with extremely high self-esteem were bullies. Looking closer, you began to see that this research could be divided into studies investigating different variables, such as gender, age, and ethnic background. Now, you want to turn this into a research report.
An annotated outline might look like this (all citations are fictional)
Topic: The relation of childhood bullying to self-esteem: Too much or too little?
Overview of childhood bullying
Definitions of bullying (Simpson, 2010; O’Connor, 2008)
Types of bullying (Yang, 2009; Sinisi, 2011)
Self-esteem in childhood
Definitions of self-esteem (Whitefield, 2009)
Impact of self-esteem on behavior in childhood (Liebermann, 2010)
Research on the relation of self-esteem to bullying in childhood
Gender, self-esteem, and childhood bullying
Self-esteem and same-gender bullying
Self-esteem in boys bullying boys (Pryzborski, 2012)
Self-esteem in girls bullying girls
Self-esteem in opposite gender or non-gender-specific bullying in childhood (no research found)
Age, self-esteem in childhood bullying
Self-esteem and bullying from 6-9 (Brennan, 2011)
Self-esteem and bullying from 9-12 (Mendez, 2010; Lee, 2011)
Family structure, self-esteem, and childhood bullying
Self-esteem and bullying in children in single-parent families (Shams, 2012)
Self-esteem and bullying in children in dual-parent families (Mugaddam, 2011)
Ethnicity, self-esteem, and childhood bullying
Inter-ethnic bullying and self-esteem (Jacinto, 2009; Akbarzadeh, 2010)
Intra-ethnic bullying and self-esteem (Lawrence, 2011)
Summary and suggestions for future studies
Preparing an annotated outline in this way will give you a way to organize and clarify your plans. It gives your instructor a chance to provide feedback on the proposed structure of the paper before you begin to write. You can also see which subtopics you need to research further before proceeding with the final draft.
This week, you must submit an annotated outline for your Signature Assignment due in Week 8. Your assignment should include:
A one-page overview in which you:
Briefly explain the topic for the proposal and support for the chosen topic.
Then prepare an outline of the structure of your proposal.
You will structure your proposal as follows:
Describe of the purpose of your program.
Provide background information (population served, problem it is addressing, etc.) about the program.
Describe the organization of the program.
Develop a plan for implementation.
Discuss any ethical, legal, and moral concerns that may arise
Include at least five scholarly references that support your topic (although more are required for the final paper)
Length: 2-3 pages, plus reference page
Your outline should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards. Be sure to adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.