Developing an Outline for a Paper

Term Paper GuidanceStage 1: Preparing to Write• Narrow the focus of your topic so that it is not too broad• Review the research literature – and lots of it!• Organize the articles you have read• Develop an outline of your paper beforeyou start writingStage 2: Writing and Organization• Provide an introductory paragraph to prepare the reader for what is to come• Provide a clear statement of purpose• Use a logical flow of ideas to develop your argument; do not use stream-of-consciousness• Do not use long paragraphs (anything longer than ½ page is too long; try to keep to 1/3 page)• Your statements of fact must be supported by research, must have an in-text citation to support• Use headers and transition statements• Do not use “flowery,” “poetic,” or dramatic phrasingStage 3: Describe Research Studies• Concisely describe research methods for each relevant study– Example: “This was a randomized controlled trial evaluating two experimental treatments for schizophreniain a community mental health setting (N = 200).”• Describe results concisely, and precisely– Example: “The experimental group showed statistically more improvement at post-treatment than the controlgroup (effect sizes 1.2 and 0.4, respectively), and 6-month follow-up (effect sizes 1.1 and 0.2, respectively.• Provide a rationale for your choice of studies• Critique strengths and weaknesses of each individual study• Critique gaps or weaknesses in the entire body of researchStage 4: Polish and Edit Your Writing• Never start a sentence with “AND” or “BUT”• Be concise (use as few words as possible to express your ideas), avoid repetition• Write in active voice• Do not use contractions (e.g., do not use “don’t”)• Do not write in the first person (e.g., do not use “I” or “my”)• Provide a conclusion, but avoid simple repetition• Discuss implications for the information that we have available• Theoretical, practical/applied, clinical, policy, society, etc.• Discuss future research directions• Proof read, have a friend proof read, proof againStage 5: References• This is not about your “beliefs” – it is about the arguments you develop from data in scientific papers• ONLY USE SCIENTIFIC PAPERS– No blogs, no fact sheets, no pop references, no media references– If it is not published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal, it does not count• Provide ALL information for references (author, year, title, journal, volume, pages)– Include the required number of references– You must cite every reference in the text• Use a consistent format for references

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