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Gary Bortolotti, Biology Faculty


How do you go about outlining a paper?

Just about any topic you write on you can approach it from many different angles. Sometimes I'll sit there and I'll think, "Okay, in this paper I'm going to try to describe my results from this perspective." Then I make an outline, [and] I find, "That's not necessarily working out very well," or "That's not maybe as exciting as this perspective over here." And what I'll just do is realize that I could just take that information, but I might be going *erk*, like this, or just taking sections out. I'm constantly revising, constantly...even in terms of, "What am I going to put in the introduction versus the discussion?" You sort of put down some ideas and think, "Nah, you know what? I think I'm going to save that for the discussion because it's too big to put in the introduction." And that's where sort of cutting and pasting is very helpful. Sometimes I like having just paper, and sort of just seeing my ideas laid out and scribbling things and crossing things out and moving them around physically and seeing, "How does that look?" Oh yeah, flexibility is very important.