In this step you will plan the organization of your research paper. You will decide what points you will deal with to prove your hypothesis.
Even though the ISP's preliminary outline goes one level beyond the statement of organization for an essay, it performs essentially the same function; it sets up the Subthesis' arguable points, which, if true, help prove the research project's hypothesis.
In order to set up a good outline for a research project, you should, therefore, think in two separate steps:
First, what arguable points will help prove your ISP's hypothesis? These will become the sub-theses and will be written out as the Roman numerals of your outline.
Second, what arguable points will help prove the sub-theses? These will become the topic sentences and will be written out as the capital letters of your outline.
A. You can compare the outline of a research paper to the outline of an essay with ONE BIG STEP ADDED:
1. After you write the thesis of an essay, you have to think of statements of organization (2-4 major points of support written in the form of 2-4 arguable topic sentences). You then provide facts to support and develop each topic sentence.
2. After you write the hypothesis of a research paper, you have to think of 2-4 major points to support it, which you will write in the form of arguable SUBTHESIS STATEMENTS. Your next step is to take each sub-thesis statement and think of several major points of support written in the form of arguable topic sentences. Thus, your research paper will consist of two or more "supporting essays" that will prove your hypothesis. The "research" part of this paper consists of finding facts that will support and develop each topic sentence.
B. Study your hypothesis to see the natural divisions, and use your hunches to develop your outline.
If you have problems...
Read an article to get ideas for organizing your topic. However, be careful about applying someone else's organization to your subject. Because you have narrowed down your hypothesis, its development will differ from the one in the article you read.