Writing A Solid Literary Research Paper Outline: Tips & Tricks

So you have been tasked with a literary research paper outline and you haven’t a clue where to begin. Don’t worry, there are many, just like you, who aren’t quite sure where to begin or what to include. Well, worry no more. This article will provide you with tips and tricks to draft the perfect literary paper outline.

For many people, just beginning their literary paper is the difficult part. As with anything in life, when we have a clear purpose, we can set goals and develop a plan to carry out that plan. The purpose of a literary research paper is to explore, examine, and analyze various literature within a specific subject area. With this in mind, we can new develop your goals and construct a plan to carry out your goals. Your goal in developing a literary research paper outline is to highlight the main talking points surrounding your topic in the form of your paper framework or outline. So how do you do this?

  1. Research the literature. Until you review what literature exists, you cannot begin. The more literature you review, the easier writing will be as you will have more resources to draw from. You can, however, conduct a solid literary review with as few as a half dozen pieces of literature, if you successfully draw themes and conduct analysis for each theme.
  2. Major themes and highlights. As you read, keep copious notes as to the major themes of the piece. For example if your literary research is on the women workforce, several themes may begin to develop such as: history of women working, women’s suffrage movement, inequity of pay, difficulties balancing work and childrearing, and the glass-ceiling. With these major themes in mind you are better able to see patterns and pictures to develop the framework of your review. From the emerging themes, you can group together like pieces of literature.
  3. Construct the framework. From your themes you can find a logical pattern for your groups. For example, for the outline on women in the workforce, a timeline that illustrates how women got to the current state would start with history and go through the most current climate or problem. Often, if you start with the problem that you hope to explore as the final piece, you can ask yourself, how do the other themes fit in the timeline?
  4. Don’t forget the basics. Every essay should include an introduction, body, and conclusion. Begin by writing your title, followed by Roman numerals with Introduction and Conclusion. Once you develop your themes and a logical flow, you can begin sandwiching your themes in between. Keep in mind, a great literary paper should compare and contrast the works, so include sections under each theme that will allow you to do so.

Good writing begins with good organization and preparation. By taking the time to thoroughly research your topic and develop themes, you will have the necessary resources needed to develop a solid literary research paper outline!