Writing through literature


Research Paper Outline

I. Introduction: Write your complete introduction.

• Hook: A hook is a powerful opening sentence to your essay. It grabs the reader’s

attention so well that they want to read on.

Click here for help with writing a hook.

• Narrow towards your thesis. But don’t give so much detail that you reveal all of

the paper in the introduction. Limit your introduction to five (5) sentences


• Thesis: This is the most important part of the introduction. It reveals what the

paper’s topic is (the “So what?”) and tells the reader why they should read this

paper (the “Who cares?”) The thesis sets out a roadmap for your entire essay.

II. Body Paragraphs

• Give each paragraph a title – then remove it on the final copy. This will help you

to analyze the flow of your paper, and it will help you to see if your body

paragraphs truly support your thesis statement.

• Begin with a strong topic sentence. This sentence tells the reader what the

paragraph is about. It must make a point.

• Provide evidence. Evidence comes in the form of:

➢ quoted material from your researched sources.

➢ quoted material from the literary text


➢ examples from the literary text itself

➢ statistical/data-driven facts (when


Here are some questions you can ask yourself about a particular bit of evidence:

• O.k., I’ve just stated this point, but so what? Why is it interesting? Why

should anyone care?

• What does this information imply?

• What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking at a problem

this way?

• I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it, but why is it like


• I’ve just said that something happens-so how does it happen? How does

it come to be the way it is?

• Why is this information important? Why does it matter?

• How is this idea related to my thesis? What connections exist between

them? Does it support my thesis? If so, how does it do that?

• Can I give an example to illustrate this point?

You cannot use personal examples, or make personal references in a literary

research paper. Do not use any form of first person: “I, me, us, we, my, myself,

our, ours” in any part of the paper.

III. Conclusion:

i. Restate the thesis in different words. ii. Recap the main ideas of this

essay. iii. Leave the reading audience with something to consider more


iv. Limit this section to five (5) sentences maximum

IV. Works Cited

• Written on a separate page

• Double-spaced entry

• Make sure that you have met the required number of sources and citations.