How to Create a Research Paper Outline

A research paper is a scholarly work where the writer conducts research and analyzes their findings to present an argument. It is important to have a good outline for your research paper before you start writing so that you don't lose focus or forget what point you were trying to make.

This blog post will provide some tips on how to create an outline for your own research paper and get started with it quickly. You will also find a sample research paper outline template APA and examples for a quick writing process.

Research Paper Outline Definition

A research paper outline is a strategic plan written by the author to avoid getting stuck in the middle of writing it. It's really like an action plan for your study and lists all primary ideas. When you're done listing possible topics, take some time to develop your outline, which will help you keep track of how everything fits together while giving more detail about each section than just number pages as with tables of contents.

The assignment prompt may not say to write an outline, but if a project is more than 1000 words in length, it often requires one by default. Because professors utilize research paper outlines, they write larger projects such as courses and dissertations (which require 10,000-word content).

An academic essay structure usually includes five paragraphs outlining three main points: introduction paragraph where you state your arguments for this particular topic; body paragraphs that consist of supporting evidence from either texts or personal experience, which back up why you're arguing what your thesis statement and a conclusion for the overall summary of the work.

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How to Create a Research Paper Outline?

The first step to writing a research paper should be deciding what you want your readers to learn from it. After that, outlining how they will do so by ranking which ideas are more important than others with subheadings for each idea or detail that needs its own heading under them. This way, when figuring out headings and formatting later in word processing software like Microsoft Word, everything will already have been organized properly without any guesswork involved.

Here are the steps that you need to consider for creating a college research paper outline.

  1. Decide on the subject and scope of the paper
  2. Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
  3. Organize related ideas into sub-groups
  4. Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy - from the most important information to the least important or vice versa
  5. Create appropriate headings and subheadings
  6. Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence format, or decimal formatting styles

Alphanumeric is the most commonly used format. It uses Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, capitalized and lowercase letters to organize all the information.

Without an excellent plan for how each section will flow into one another coherently, confusion can arise among readers, and they may find themselves lost within your argument without knowing where to go next. That’s why it is important to create an outline to understand what the whole paper is all about.

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Research Paper Outline Format

The following are the most important elements that you should consider for creating an outline for your research paper.

  • Title page

    It is the first part that introduces the major details of your research paper. The appropriate length of the title is 60 characters. Your title page should also include the following information.

    • Your full name
    • Your professor’s name
    • Submission date
  • Abstract

    It is a summary of the overall work. The length of an abstract should not exceed 300 words. In this section, you should include basic information about the significance of your work.

  • Table of Contents

    This section provides readers with a complete overview of the paper’s contents. It also allows them to go directly to any specific chapter or subsection that they want without scrolling through all of it first!

  • Introduction

    Here you need to introduce your topic and provide some background information of your investigation. Mention the results that you are expecting from the investigation. Don’t forget to state the thesis statement to end the introductory paragraph.

  • Literature Review

    In this section, mention the research gaps that you have used to support your theories. Demonstrate how it helped you in finding relevant data and developing your research.

  • Methodology

    List down the tools and techniques used to carry out the research. In this section, you should write down your research step by step. The purpose of this section is to allow others to continue the research who are interested in the same research question.

  • Results and discussion

    It is one huge section in which you state the findings of your study. You can also add visual elements for the readers to understand the basic components of the study better.

  • Conclusion

    Here you need to include the summary of the findings and restate the thesis statement. Provide the value of your research paper and discuss different ways to implement the results.

  • Bibliography

    Lastly, mention all the sources that you have used in your text. Do not forget any references in the bibliography section.

    Also, add facts and charts to make it more interesting and engaging.

Research Paper Outline Template

Below is a sample research paper outline template that you can review for understanding the basic elements for most academic papers.

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Research Paper Outline Example

Here are some interesting research paper outline samples that you can check for your better understanding. These examples are written for different formats such as Apa, Mla, and others.

APA Research Paper Outline

MLA Research Paper Outline

Argumentative Research Paper Outline

Gun control Research Paper Outline

Scientific Research Paper Outline

This guide will help you understand how to write a research paper outline in no time. The key to writing a successful research paper is outlining your thoughts and ideas. A well-structured outline can help you stay on track with the requirements of the assignment.

It is to ensure that all necessary sources are included in your reference list as well. It also ensures that you cover everything within each section before moving onto the next one.

Creating an outline for your research paper doesn't have to be difficult if you know how it's done correctly. If you're still unsure about what goes into creating a good outline or need some assistance putting together yours, contact us today.

Our team of professional writers at will work with you to get started right away. Contact our essay writing service now and get the best research paper writing help that you will be proud of.




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