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Researching at NCCS: Tools and Tips: Outlining, Planning and Writing Tips

Made in collaboration with the Class of 2019

Outlining and Planning

Create an Outline for Your Paper

Before you begin writing, organize your thoughts by outlining your paper.   These websites can help you create an outline:

Example (Microsoft Word template):

Outline Example


Flow of Information: A Timeline

Printer-friendly version

Save time by looking for information on your topic at the point where it begins to fit into the flow of information.

Think about the occurrence of an event, era, social movement or discovery. Think about how this event might be documented and information about the event disseminated. Then choose the appropriate tool to find documentation. Keep in mind the point of view or slant of each source.

Report of an Event
(documentation and dissemination)

Time Frame
(time from event to publication)

Where to Look
(tools for locating information)

Radio/TV/Internet News Services


TV News Indexes; Web Search Tools

Newspapers (print)


Newspaper Indexes (ProQuest)

Magazines (print)


Periodical Indexes (ProQuest, EBSCOhost, and others)

Journals (print and electronic)

6 Months +

Periodical Indexes (ProQuest, EBSCOhost, and others)


 2+ Years


Reference Sources

  • Statistical/Hot Topics
  • Encyclopedias; Handbooks - print & electronic

1+ Years (some weekly)

Average 10 years

CQ Researcher
Statistical Abstracts
Library Catalog
Bibliographies and Works Cited

Web Pages

 Seconds/Minutes to Years

Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc.) and Web Directories (Yahoo)

Adapted from Sharon Hogan’s “Flow of Information” conceptual approach to library instruction and UCLA College Library.

What type of materials to use

Writing Tips

Parenthetical Citations - A Brief Description

For citing in-text quotations, the basic format is the author's last name and page number within parentheses, for example: Beethoven was considered "unnaturally gifted" in this matter (Sipe 65).

If you reference the author's name within your sentence, you only need to put the page number within parentheses, for example: Sipe argues that theoretical arguments must be "balanced by a historical perspective" (24).

Aside from citing parenthetically, you should also include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. (From: Oglethorpe University)