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What is reverse outlining for researchers?

Category : Research
Date : February 23, 2016

There would come a stage when you have completed your first draft and you think you could organise your document better. Here is a time when you could think about creating a reverse outline. They are simple to create. All you need to do is to read through your essay and every time there is a new point, you must create a summary of the same in the margin. The thumb rule to follow here is that if your essay is well organised then every paragraph of your document would have a distinct point in the margin. When you would read out your points they would collectively form a coherent argument. Reverse outlining would help you to identify those points in the document that are getting repeated at various places or some points that are misfit or out of place in the document. Use all these points as an improved outline to create revised version of your document so that reputations can be removed and there is a smooth transition in the document throughout.

A well planned document will always reflect better organisation than a paper that was not organised at all. You must think about the way you must argue and prepare an outline so that there is quality in the final product. All those people who get good ideas but it is difficult for them to pen  them down in words, they must go  for meticulous planning and maybe even reverse planning as it can help to create a better and more structured document.

As a writer, you must know what is going to work the best for you but there is always something to win in some amount of planning. You can always identify if your planning is good or bad. For those who plan badly would always be able to see unorganised planning, mess and would be spending disproportionate amount of time in reverser planning and other tasks.

Both too much and too little planning has its own implications.

Planning gives you the following advantages:

  • It helps you to give a logical and orderly argument that can be grasped by the readers
  • By easily spotting repetition, you are able to stay in the given word limit
  • You are able to create a complete and holistic document
  • Helps you to improvise on writing issues related to syntax, grammar and clarity of ideas

Drawbacks of over planning:

  • Too much planning eats away the writing time
  • Restricts the scope of new discovery of ideas

Nevertheless, some amount of planning is always helpful and you must look into reverse outlining as a means to improve your writing.

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