Use A Thinking Map For An Outline Of A Research Paper

A thinking map can be an extremely useful tool.

In many instances outlining a research paper can help immensely in the writing process. Thinking maps can also be used as an outline for your research paper. There are eight common types of thinking maps which include circle maps, bubble maps, double bubble maps, tree maps, brace maps, flow maps, multi-flow maps and bridge maps. The different layouts are geared towards different types of papers.


1. Choose the layout which you feel will work best to outline your research paper. Since you will most likely be writing your research paper in a five paragraph essay form, a multi-flow map, double bubble map or a brace map is recommended.

2. Draw out the thinking map you have chosen on a sheet of paper. Be sure to draw the map to cater to your specific criteria. For example, if you are writing a five paragraph essay, make sure there are 3 main blanks to fill with information and complementary points, since the other two paragraphs are the introduction and conclusion.

3. Fill in the blanks on the thinking map with information about the topic you are writing about. Write your main points in 1 to 2-word phrases, focusing mainly on keywords. This process will help you clarify exactly what you are going to write in your research paper and narrow out any unnecessary words.

4. Begin writing your research paper by starting with your introduction. The introduction is the opening paragraph of your essay. Begin with a short explanation of your whole research project. State your main hypothesis, and include your 3 supportive ideas (which you established in your thinking map) in your thesis statement that prove your hypothesis.

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5. Use the main and supplementary ideas outlined in the thinking map to complete 3 paragraphs in the body of your paper.

6. Complete your research paper with a conclusion summarizing what you discussed in the previous 3 paragraphs. The conclusion restates what was said in the introduction, but makes the final argument for why your hypothesis is correct. Make sure to include the 3 main points you established in your thinking map, restate your thesis statement and include your final point which you have proved.