Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. If, in writing your paper, it begins to diverge from your outline, this is very likely a sign that you've lost your focus.
A good research paper outline will not only let your readers catch your major statements quickly but will also help you.
It will reflect the interconnection between ideas, how one thought flows from another, will let you check whether all your main ideas are supported by clear arguments.
University of North Carolina; Reverse Outlines: A Writer's Technique for Examining Organization. A good way to check your progress is to use what you have written to recreate the outline.
Indiana University; Writing: Considering Structure and Organization. How do you know whether to change the paper to fit the outline, or, that you need to reconsider the outline so that it fits the paper?
Don’t overload your outline with some minor thoughts – it won’t give your reader a better understanding of what you are writing about and won’t be helpful for in your writing process.
At the same time too short draft with one word for each part of a body will also bring value neither for you nor for your readers.
Writing an outline will also help you focus on the task at hand and avoid unnecessary tangents, logical fallacies, and underdeveloped paragraphs.
If you discover that it's difficult to create an outline from what you have written, then you likely need to revise your paper.
How your outline should look like will also depend on your paper goals.
It could be comparison and contrast of a phenomenon in different countries, cause and effect analysis of an event or study of relation between different things.