Blueprint – What’s Required
Jan 22, 2014 // Architecture //

Writing an outline prior to writing a research paper appears to be a colossal waste of time. Why bother writing down ideas in an outline form when the ideas need to be written into a well formed paragraph anyways? Outlines make it easier to organize paragraphs so that there is continuity between ideas.

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The Weird Thing About Blueprint

The first paragraph of a document should start off with a motivator; a sentence that will hook the reader and make them want to find out more about what is in the paper. The motivator should also be somehow relevant to the topic or easily tied into the topic of the document so that it does not seem like the writer is jumping subjects.

Following the motivator should be background on the topic of discussion. The background will focus the paper on a specific topic. This should help lead the writer into the thesis of the paper which is the principal point that the writer’s trying to get across.

Closing the paragraph should be the ‘blueprint’ of the paper. These are short sentences that explain how the writer will prove his/her thesis. They are essentially reworded topic sentences of each supporting paragraph.

An easy way of remembering the contents that should be found in the opening paragraph is MoBaThBlue (Motivator, Background, Thesis, Blueprint).

Many educators require that students use more than three sources when writing a paper. After reading the articles or chapters used to sustain a thesis there is an abundance of information that has to be organized into concrete supporting paragraphs. There are 2 useful ways of organizing a good outline. One method is with the employment of index cards, and the second is to make an outline on paper.

Using index cards, write down the citation/bibliography (depending on the assignment’s criteria) on one edge of the card. On the other side, write down the direct quote that may or may only be used in the paper. Do this for each direct quote found. After collecting all the quotes, use the blueprints from the opening paragraph to organize these ideas into groups. This will create the support for the main part of the paragraphs. It is easier to reorganize ideas with this method since the ideas are all on seperate cards.

Another method is to write down the main elements of the paper as proposed by the blueprint of seperate sheets of paper. Each blueprint has its own page. Then write down supporting quotes from the sources used. Remember to make some kind of a notation as to where the quote was found for citation purposes. Also, with this method, it is more difficult to move ideas around since they’re already on paper.

After organizing the ideas into their respective paragraphs with the blueprint as the base of the topic sentence, go back and look over the direct quotes and keep repetition of ideas to a minimum. This is likewise a good time to bring the direct quotes into the writer’s own words so the paper is not full of direct quotes.

This is fundamentally the reverse order of MoBaThBlue without the background. Start off with summarizing in a sentence or two the meaning of what the blueprints say. Then follow that with how the thesis has been supported. Close with a thought provoking idea that will make the paper more memorable than others that have been drafted on the same topic.

If the draft was examined by a teacher/ professor and returned with the observation that the paper has to be reorganized, outlines are a great way of doing just that. It may seem as if it was a waste of time. However, it does help when all attempts of organizing or reorganizing fails.

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