One thing you have to be careful of when writing a research paper of any kind is to make sure that you have a solid thesis statement. When understanding what I mean by solid thesis statement, it helps to first cast your thesis in an “In this essay, I am going to argue/demonstrate/investigate/inform etcetera—as research papers often are informative, not always argumentative. Either way, once you lock down on an “I” thesis statement that is clearly outlined and you can always recast your thesis into the third person objective and say something like “What we must come to realize as a world and as a nation is that we must begin growing and eating organic now to save out planet and ourselves.”
Put the thesis statement—in fact, your whole thesis containing paragraph at the top of your outline under numeral I, to keep your essay on track. Underneath point one, then strategize the ways you will prove your thesis in all points thereafter. Later, you can mix in quotes and evidence points you think of as you ponder your essay. The outline, overall, should be a reference tool to keep your essay on track.
When you create an outline for an MLA style research paper, it is best to include all your major points as well as citation reminders of MLA rules on citing the most oft-cited types of documents—online journals, online articles, online print books (Google Books) and citations from university databases. All of these are types of sources students use often. Make yourself little parenthetical notes before you get started that you can glance at as you compose. I believe the best way to write the essay/paper is to cite as you go – at least in text—but in text, include the URL (and delete it later or cut and paste it into your reference/works cited page) so you can quickly click on that and get all reference citation info.
Put together or cut and paste from a site like OWL- all common citation methods for reference citations in MLA style from books to journals, with a sample citation to glance at as you compose. This will save you from time consuming web searches later—which can ruin a night of actually getting the work done and over with. Web searches often turn into Facebook or Amazon searches if a tired student isn’t careful.
With these tips—your composing process will be easier and more efficient as well!