Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Why and How to Create a Useful Outline

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.

Why create an outline? There are many reasons, but in general, it may be helpful to create an outline when you want to show the hierarchical relationship or logical ordering of information. For research papers, an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. For creative writing, an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in outline form helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd. Below are the primary reasons for creating an outline.

  • Aids in the process of writing
  • Helps you organize your ideas
  • Presents your material in a logical form
  • Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing
  • Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
  • Defines boundaries and groups

How do I create an outline?

  • Determine the purpose of your paper.
  • Determine the audience you are writing for.
  • Develop the thesis of your paper.
  • Brainstorm : List all the ideas that you want to include in your paper.
  • Organize : Group related ideas together.
  • Order : Arrange material in subsections from general to specific or from abstract to concrete.
  • Label : Create main and sub headings.

Remember: creating an outline before writing your paper will make organizing your thoughts a lot easier. Whether you follow the suggested guidelines is up to you, but making any kind of outline (even just some jotting down some main ideas) will be beneficial to your writing process.

Research and Writing Guides

Writing a paper? Don't get lost.

Getting started with your research paper outline

outline for research papers

The outline is the skeleton of your research paper. Simply start by writing down your thesis and the main ideas you wish to present. This will likely change as your research progresses; therefore, do not worry about being too specific in the early stages of writing your outline.

  • Levels of organization for a research paper outline

A research paper outline typically contains between two and four layers of organization. The first two layers are the most generalized. Each layer thereafter will contain the research you complete and presents more and more detailed information.

The levels are typically represented by a combination of Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, uppercase letters, lowercase letters but may include other symbols. Refer to the guidelines provided by your institution, as formatting is not universal and differs between universities, fields, and subjects. If you are writing the outline for yourself, you may choose any combination you prefer.

First level of organization

This is the most generalized level of information. Begin by numbering the introduction, each idea you will present, and the conclusion. The main ideas contain the bulk of your research paper 's information. Depending on your research, it may be chapters of a book for a literature review , a series of dates for a historical research paper, or the methods and results of a scientific paper.

I. Introduction

II. Main idea

III. Main idea

IV. Main idea

V. Conclusion

Second level of organization

The second level consists of topics which support the introduction, main ideas, and the conclusion. Each main idea should have at least two supporting topics listed in the outline.

If your main idea does not have enough support, you should consider presenting another main idea in its place. This is where you should stop outlining if this is your first draft. Continue your research before adding to the next levels of organization.

  • A. Background information
  • B. Hypothesis or thesis
  • A. Supporting topic
  • B. Supporting topic

Third level of organization

The third level of organization contains supporting information for the topics previously listed. By now, you should have completed enough research to add support for your ideas.

The Introduction and Main Ideas may contain information you discovered about the author, timeframe, or contents of a book for a literature review; the historical events leading up to the research topic for a historical research paper, or an explanation of the problem a scientific research paper intends to address.

  • 1. Relevant history
  • 2. Relevant history
  • 1. The hypothesis or thesis clearly stated
  • 1. A brief description of supporting information
  • 2. A brief description of supporting information

Fourth level of organization

The fourth level of organization contains the most detailed information such as quotes, references, observations, or specific data needed to support the main idea. It is not typical to have further levels of organization because the information contained here is the most specific.

  • a) Quotes or references to another piece of literature
  • b) Quotes or references to another piece of literature
  • Tips for writing a research paper outline

Tip: The key to creating a useful outline is to be consistent in your headings, organization, and levels of specificity.

  • Be Consistent : ensure every heading has a similar tone. State the topic or write short sentences for each heading but avoid doing both.
  • Organize Information : Higher levels of organization are more generally stated and each supporting level becomes more specific. The introduction and conclusion will never be lower than the first level of organization.
  • Build Support : Each main idea should have two or more supporting topics. If your research does not have enough information to support the main idea you are presenting, you should, in general, complete additional research or revise the outline.
  • Research paper outline template

By now, you should know the basic requirements to create an outline for your paper. With a content framework in place, you can now start writing your paper . To help you start right away, you can use one of our templates and adjust it to suit your needs.

word icon

  • My research paper outline is complete: what are the next steps?

After completing your outline, you should:

  • Title your research paper . This is an iterative process and may change when you delve deeper into the topic.
  • Begin writing your research paper draft . Continue researching to further build your outline and provide more information to support your hypothesis or thesis.
  • Format your draft appropriately . MLA 8 and APA 7 formats have differences between their bibliography page, in-text citations, line spacing, and title.
  • Finalize your citations and bibliography . Use a reference manager like Paperpile to organize and cite your research.
  • Write the abstract, if required . An abstract will briefly state the information contained within the paper, results of the research, and the conclusion.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about a research paper outline

An outline is used to organize written ideas about a topic into a logical order. Outlines help us organize major topics, subtopics, and supporting details. Researchers benefit greatly from outlines while writing by addressing which topic to cover in what order.

The most basic outline format consists of: an introduction, a minimum of three topic paragraphs, and a conclusion.

You should make an outline before starting to write your research paper. This will help you organize the main ideas and arguments you want to present in your topic.

  • Consistency: ensure every heading has a similar tone. State the topic or write short sentences for each heading but avoid doing both.
  • Organization : Higher levels of organization are more generally stated and each supporting level becomes more specific. The introduction and conclusion will never be lower than the first level of organization.
  • Support : Each main idea should have two or more supporting topics. If your research does not have enough information to support the main idea you are presenting, you should, in general, complete additional research or revise the outline.
  • Related Articles

outline for research papers

outline for research papers

  • Manuscript Preparation

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

  • 4 minute read

Table of Contents

Getting started with your research paper can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. But, if you start with an outline, the rest of the paper almost completes itself. Even so, an outline can be difficult to wrap your head around as well. In this article, we’ll go over the fundamentals of a research paper outline, explaining exactly what it is, and how you can write it, step-by-step.

Research Outline

When it comes down to it, your research outline is like the frame of a house for your research paper. It is the framework on which everything else is built upon. The foundation of this framework is the thesis and main ideas of your research project. And, just like a house, there are multiple layers to complete the project. The same is true with your research paper. We start with general ideas and building a framework, and then we add information and detail as the outline comes into shape.

The key to understanding how to write an effective research paper is by comprehending what these different layers are, and in what order   you should address them. For example, you wouldn’t put your kitchen counters in a house, without first completing the interior walls and base cabinetry of the home. So, you build carefully and deliberately, step-by-step, in a way that makes it easy for your ideas to take shape.

Let’s take a look at those layers and stages.

Step-by-Step Research Paper Outline

Most research papers have several layers to their construction. In this section, we’ll cover the most basic construction principles. For additional information, talk with colleagues in your field to review their outlines and how they may have built a research paper that you find useful.

You’ll likely notice that each layer grows from general to more specific topics. Additionally, each layer is usually shown via Roman numerals, along with Arabic numbers, upper and lowercase letters. Some institutions actually look for a specific outline format, and formatting can also depend on your specific field and topic. Of course, if you’re just using an outline for your own purposes, you can use whatever format that works best for you.

First Level of Organization

This is the most basic core of your research paper; your introduction, each of your main ideas and your conclusion. The main ideas are where, of course, the majority of your information is going to be presented. If you think of your research paper like a book, your main ideas would be like chapters. Your main ideas may also read like specific dates for a historical literature review, or even specific methods and results for a scientific-based research paper.

I. Introduction/summary of the research

II. First main idea or date

III. Second main idea or date

IV. Third main idea or date

V. Conclusion

Second Level

At this level, we dig into the topics that support each of the ideas in the first level. For each main idea, you’ll want at least two to three details. If you can’t put that much detail into any of your main ideas, you might want to consider merging it with another main idea. Once you have the second level of your outline done, typically you’ll want to stop working on your outline, especially if this is just your first draft.

Continue with your research so that you can add details to the next layers and levels of your outline. Keep in mind, that depending on where your research leads you, your main ideas may even change, which is yet another reason why you won’t want to dig too deeply into your outline until your actual research is completed.

A. Background info

B. Hypothesis (or thesis)

A. First supporting idea or topic

B. Second supporting idea or topic

C. Third supporting idea or topic

V. Conclusion (don’t worry about this, at this stage of your outline)

Third and Fourth Level

With the third and fourth levels, you’ll add supporting data and information that’s related to your previously outlined topics. This is where your research “fills in the blanks.” For example, you might add to your introduction, or revise your main ideas, based on the research you’ve conducted. The fourth level is only used when further details are needed to describe the research or topic. For example, historical quotes, references, and the most specific data and information.

1. Reference One

2. Reference Two

1. Quote One

2. Quote Two

III. Conclusion (based on the culmination of your research project)

Elsevier Author Services , support you throughout your publication journey with a suite of products and services that help improve your manuscript before submission, including editing, translation, scientific illustration services, and more.

Quality in Qualitative Research

  • Research Process

Quality in Qualitative Research: Enhance Data to the Next Level

How to Submit a Paper to a Conference

  • Publication Recognition

How to Submit a Paper to a Conference

You may also like.

There are some recognizable elements and patterns often used for framing engaging sentences in English. Find here the sentence patterns in Academic Writing

Changing Lines: Sentence Patterns in Academic Writing

outline for research papers

Path to An Impactful Paper: Common Manuscript Writing Patterns and Structure

how to write the results section of a research paper

How to write the results section of a research paper

What are Implications in Research

What are Implications in Research?

Differentiating between the abstract and the introduction of a research paper

Differentiating between the abstract and the introduction of a research paper


What is the Background of a Study and How Should it be Written?

How to Use Tables and Figures effectively in Research Papers

How to Use Tables and Figures effectively in Research Papers

Converting your PhD Thesis into a Book in Five Steps

Converting your PhD Thesis into a Book in Five Steps

Input your search keywords and press Enter.

Enago Academy

How Can You Create a Well Planned Research Paper Outline

' src=

You are staring at the blank document, meaning to start writing your research paper . After months of experiments and procuring results, your PI asked you to write the paper to publish it in a reputed journal. You spoke to your peers and a few seniors and received a few tips on writing a research paper, but you still can’t plan on how to begin!

Writing a research paper is a very common issue among researchers and is often looked upon as a time consuming hurdle. Researchers usually look up to this task as an impending threat, avoiding and procrastinating until they cannot delay it anymore. Seeking advice from internet and seniors they manage to write a paper which goes in for quite a few revisions. Making researchers lose their sense of understanding with respect to their research work and findings. In this article, we would like to discuss how to create a structured research paper outline which will assist a researcher in writing their research paper effectively!

Publication is an important component of research studies in a university for academic promotion and in obtaining funding to support research. However, the primary reason is to provide the data and hypotheses to scientific community to advance the understanding in a specific domain. A scientific paper is a formal record of a research process. It documents research protocols, methods, results, conclusion, and discussion from a research hypothesis .

Table of Contents

What Is a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline is a basic format for writing an academic research paper. It follows the IMRAD format (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion). However, this format varies depending on the type of research manuscript. A research paper outline consists of following sections to simplify the paper for readers. These sections help researchers build an effective paper outline.

1. Title Page

The title page provides important information which helps the editors, reviewers, and readers identify the manuscript and the authors at a glance. It also provides an overview of the field of research the research paper belongs to. The title should strike a balance between precise and detailed. Other generic details include author’s given name, affiliation, keywords that will provide indexing, details of the corresponding author etc. are added to the title page.

2. Abstract

Abstract is the most important section of the manuscript and will help the researcher create a detailed research paper outline . To be more precise, an abstract is like an advertisement to the researcher’s work and it influences the editor in deciding whether to submit the manuscript to reviewers or not. Writing an abstract is a challenging task. Researchers can write an exemplary abstract by selecting the content carefully and being concise.

3. Introduction

An introduction is a background statement that provides the context and approach of the research. It describes the problem statement with the assistance of the literature study and elaborates the requirement to update the knowledge gap. It sets the research hypothesis and informs the readers about the big research question.

This section is usually named as “Materials and Methods”, “Experiments” or “Patients and Methods” depending upon the type of journal. This purpose provides complete information on methods used for the research. Researchers should mention clear description of materials and their use in the research work. If the methods used in research are already published, give a brief account and refer to the original publication. However, if the method used is modified from the original method, then researcher should mention the modifications done to the original protocol and validate its accuracy, precision, and repeatability.

It is best to report results as tables and figures wherever possible. Also, avoid duplication of text and ensure that the text summarizes the findings. Report the results with appropriate descriptive statistics. Furthermore, report any unexpected events that could affect the research results, and mention complete account of observations and explanations for missing data (if any).

6. Discussion

The discussion should set the research in context, strengthen its importance and support the research hypothesis. Summarize the main results of the study in one or two paragraphs and show how they logically fit in an overall scheme of studies. Compare the results with other investigations in the field of research and explain the differences.

7. Acknowledgments

Acknowledgements identify and thank the contributors to the study, who are not under the criteria of co-authors. It also includes the recognition of funding agency and universities that award scholarships or fellowships to researchers.

8. Declaration of Competing Interests

Finally, declaring the competing interests is essential to abide by ethical norms of unique research publishing. Competing interests arise when the author has more than one role that may lead to a situation where there is a conflict of interest.

Steps to Write a Research Paper Outline

  • Write down all important ideas that occur to you concerning the research paper .
  • Answer questions such as – what is the topic of my paper? Why is the topic important? How to formulate the hypothesis? What are the major findings?
  • Add context and structure. Group all your ideas into sections – Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion/Conclusion.
  • Add relevant questions to each section. It is important to note down the questions. This will help you align your thoughts.
  • Expand the ideas based on the questions created in the paper outline.
  • After creating a detailed outline, discuss it with your mentors and peers.
  • Get enough feedback and decide on the journal you will submit to.
  • The process of real writing begins.

Benefits of Creating a Research Paper Outline

As discussed, the research paper subheadings create an outline of what different aspects of research needs elaboration. This provides subtopics on which the researchers brainstorm and reach a conclusion to write. A research paper outline organizes the researcher’s thoughts and gives a clear picture of how to formulate the research protocols and results. It not only helps the researcher to understand the flow of information but also provides relation between the ideas.

A research paper outline helps researcher achieve a smooth transition between topics and ensures that no research point is forgotten. Furthermore, it allows the reader to easily navigate through the research paper and provides a better understanding of the research. The paper outline allows the readers to find relevant information and quotes from different part of the paper.

Research Paper Outline Template

A research paper outline template can help you understand the concept of creating a well planned research paper before beginning to write and walk through your journey of research publishing.

1. Research Title

A. Background i. Support with evidence ii. Support with existing literature studies

B. Thesis Statement i. Link literature with hypothesis ii. Support with evidence iii. Explain the knowledge gap and how this research will help build the gap 4. Body

A. Methods i. Mention materials and protocols used in research ii. Support with evidence

B. Results i. Support with tables and figures ii. Mention appropriate descriptive statistics

C. Discussion i. Support the research with context ii. Support the research hypothesis iii. Compare the results with other investigations in field of research

D. Conclusion i. Support the discussion and research investigation ii. Support with literature studies

E. Acknowledgements i. Identify and thank the contributors ii. Include the funding agency, if any

F. Declaration of Competing Interests

5. References

Download the Research Paper Outline Template!

Have you tried writing a research paper outline ? How did it work for you? Did it help you achieve your research paper writing goal? Do let us know about your experience in the comments below.

' src=

Downloadable format shared which is great. 🙂

Rate this article Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

outline for research papers

Enago Academy's Most Popular

Rationale in Research

  • Publishing Research

Setting Rationale in Research: Cracking the code for excelling at research

Knowledge and curiosity lays the foundation of scientific progress. The quest for knowledge has always…


  • Reporting Research

How to Design Effective Research Questionnaires for Robust Findings

As a staple in data collection, questionnaires help uncover robust and reliable findings that can…


  • Career Corner
  • PhDs & Postdocs
  • Trending Now

Intersectionality in Academia: Dealing with diverse perspectives

What Is Intersectionality in Academia? Intersectionality in academia refers to the recognition and study of…

diversity in science

Meritocracy and Diversity in Science: Increasing inclusivity in STEM education

In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court has rendered a ruling that race can…

outline for research papers

  • Language & Grammar

Punctuate With Precision: Learn how to correctly use the em dash and en dash

In writing, every mark has a purpose and every pause holds potential. Punctuation is a…

Mitigating Survivorship Bias in Scholarly Research: 10 tips to enhance data integrity

The Power of Proofreading: Taking your academic work to the next level

Facing Difficulty Writing an Academic Essay? — Here is your one-stop solution!

outline for research papers

Sign-up to read more

Subscribe for free to get unrestricted access to all our resources on research writing and academic publishing including:

  • 2000+ blog articles
  • 50+ Webinars
  • 10+ Expert podcasts
  • 50+ Infographics
  • 10+ Checklists
  • Research Guides

We hate spam too. We promise to protect your privacy and never spam you.

I am looking for Editing/ Proofreading services for my manuscript Tentative date of next journal submission:

outline for research papers

What are your major challenges while writing a manuscript?

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.

outline for research papers

See editing example

You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-outline/

Is this article helpful?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Other students also liked, how to create a structured research paper outline | example, a step-by-step guide to the writing process, how to write an argumentative essay | examples & tips.

Do the letters (A, B, C, etc.) in the outlines above, especially of the body, have a one-to-one correspondance with a paragraph each within the essay?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)

Hi Michael,

In the examples here, the letters are used to show parts within a single paragraph, with Roman numerals (I, II, etc.) used to show paragraphs. For a longer essay, you could certainly use Roman numerals for sections and letters for paragraphs—whatever suits your argument and structure best.

Abasiofiok Ignatius

How can I use footnote and document my essay writing Without bibliography?

Hi Abasiofiok,

You should always check with your teacher or university whether you're required to use a specific citation style in your essay. If you're allowed to choose your own style, Chicago notes and bibliography style is one you could use where citations appear in footnotes and the bibliography is optional. You can find more information about this style here .

Still have questions?

What is your plagiarism score.

Custom Essay, Term Paper & Research paper writing services

  • testimonials

Toll Free: +1 (888) 354-4744

Email: [email protected]

Writing custom essays & research papers since 2008

How to write an outline: a step-by-step guide.

how to write an outline

If you want to write a great paper or essay, the first step is preparing a detailed outline. An outline is an excellent method of planning your research paper before starting to write it down.

However, it is never easy for most students, making some of them simply jump into writing their papers without a clear plan. This is one of the biggest mistakes that students make, but we are here to help you avoid it and prepare top-notch assignments.

This post is a step-by-step guideline on how to do an outline for your paper. We will also provide a sample research paper outline template and expert tips to help you make the paper structure outstanding.

What Is An Outline?

An outline for a research paper presents the actual picture of the primary ideas about a selected topic or subject. It entails preparing quick summary phrases or sentences on the points that are going to be covered in your paper. With the right paper outline, it becomes pretty easy to prepare your paper, ensuring the ideas flow seamlessly from the beginning to the end.

Note that a high quality outline does not just work for research papers, but for all types of writings. So, whether you are working on a speech, novel, book review, essay, or essay, starting it with an outline will be the best idea.

Importance Of Using A Proper Outline Format Gor Your Papers

Getting an answer to the question “what is an outline in writing?” is only the beginning. What is more important is determining why it is necessary. In some schools, the outline is likely to be part of the main requirements from your university lecturer. This way, the teacher will be able to assess whether you are on the right track and recommend changes.

Even if your school teachers do not require students to prepare paper outlines, it is still very important when preparing assignments.

As we have indicated, preparing a research outline can help you to stick to the main points. Take the example of an essay with a topic like “how to address global warming, which can have so many points. In such a case, the outline helps you to narrow down on the core points and prepare high-quality papers.

How To Write A Paper Outline

To write a great outline, you need to comprehensively read about the topic under consideration, pick the main ideas, and arrange them from start to end. Because we have already looked at the definition of outline in writing, let’s dig deeper into the main steps of crafting it.

The process of preparing a research paper outline can be broken down into four stages: Planning the outline, structuring it, organizing the main ideas, and finalizing.

  • Pick the Right Topic for Your Paper or Essay The first step in planning your outline is narrowing down your subject or topic. A research paper outline helps to organize ideas about a specific topic. Therefore, you need to pick the right topic for the paper by identifying an area of interest. Also, the topic should be broad enough so that you get ample materials to write about. If your teacher was specific about the topic, make sure to follow his/her recommendations.
  • Determine the Purpose of the Essay and Identify the Targeted Audience As we pointed out already, the purpose of preparing an outline can be for personal use, such as writing an essay, or as a separate assignment. If it is an assignment, the outline should be as detailed as possible because it will be read by your class teacher. However, an outline that will only be used for the paper under consideration can be prepared in a manner that works best for you. For example, you can prepare it in shorthand and expand on the points when preparing the research paper.
  • Assemble All the Materials that Will Be Required Before you can start preparing the outline, make sure to have all the materials that will be involved. These include quotes, statistics, paraphrased ideas, and personal experiences. It will be an excellent idea to brainstorm the ideas to ensure that everything that will be required in the paper is included. However, this does not lock out the need to enrich or add more supporting ideas along the way to improve the paper.

Most outlines use alphanumeric format, with each part being labeled with numbers or letters. So, you can opt to use Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, or capitalized letters, among others. The idea is to remain consistent with the numbering so that it is easy to know the main ideas and the supporting points.

Still on the structure of the outline format, you need to make the decision on the type of sentences to use. The most preferred options are short and full sentences:

  • Short sentences: These are recommended when you want to quickly organize the main points for an essay, and the outline is not a separate assignment for marking by your teachers.
  • Full sentences: This provides more details about the paper you are planning to work on. It requires you to have more information about each idea and works excellently when the outline is part of the class assignment.

The primary goal of an outline research paper format is to organize the core ideas so that it is easy to write for the student and understandable for the reader. In this stage, you need to cluster the main points together. For example, what ideas should go into the introduction, body, and conclusion? Here is a demonstration of how to arrange them:

Once you have selected the main ideas, go into further detail by capturing the supporting details. If you are writing an essay, such as “The Causes of Global Warming,” one of the main ideas might be “the release of greenhouse gasses (GHG) by industries.” Under this point, supporting information might be statistics about industrial emissions, scientific confirmations about industrial GHG, concerns raised by different parties, related quotes, and efforts adopted to stop the problem.

  • Put Together Your Outline Now that you have the main ideas and supporting points, it is time to stitch them together. Remember that the main ideas should also include the information for the introduction and conclusion of the paper. If you are using the outline to prepare a research paper or essay, make it flexible. This means new details about the topic you are working on should be easy to incorporate along the way.

What Does An Outline Look Like?

Below is a good research paper outline example to help you craft a better one for your research paper.

The Topic of Your Essay or Paper Introduction of the Paper The hook statement The background of the paper The thesis statement of the paper The first main idea of the essay Supporting information one. Supporting information two. Supporting information three. Supporting information four. The second main idea of the essay Supporting information one. Supporting information two. Supporting information three. Supporting information four. The third main idea of the essay Supporting information one. Supporting information two. Supporting information three. Supporting information four. Conclusion of the Paper Thesis restate and summary of the main points to be used in the paper.

Special Tips For Writing A Great Outline For Your Paper

Here are additional tips on how to write an outline for your research paper that can be a great term papers help when you need it.

  • Research your topic comprehensively to identify the best ideas for your paper.
  • Keep your eyes focused on the final paper that will be prepared using the outline.
  • Keep your mind open with the intention of enriching the outline and the paper if new information about the topic is found.
  • Reading through other research paper outlines can be very helpful in ensuring your format is more detailed.
  • Put a lot of focus on the flow of the main and supporting information from the beginning to the end.
  • No matter the topic under consideration, always follow your lecturer’s recommendations.
  • Make sure to edit the research paper outline before submitting it to your class teacher for marking.

Seek Expert Assistance When Writing Paper Outline

In this post, we have demonstrated how to write an outline, which should precede writing your paper or essay. So, do you find it easy to prepare now? If it is still challenging, know that you are not alone. A lot of students find it pretty complicated to prepare the outlines and their papers. Poor research skills, lack of ample time, and complex topics are some of the main challenges that make preparing good outlines and assignments hard nuts to crack.

The best way out is to work with our paper writing service. We have skilled writers that you can count on to prepare top-notch outlines and offer all the help you will need. They have handled similar tasks before and will easily clear your work on time to guarantee you the best grade. Even if you have multiple engagements and are wondering how to handle the assignments at hand, the expert writers are waiting online to help.

Our paper writing service is also affordable, secure, and easy for every student to access and get assistance. You only need to visit our ordering page and tell us to “ do my paper for me .”

Research Paper on Abortions

50% off on all orders (Limited time only)

50% off (Limited time only)

How To Write A Research Paper

Research Paper Outline

Nova A.

A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Research Paper Outline

13 min read

Published on: May 7, 2021

Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023

research paper outline

On This Page On This Page

Making a research paper outline is an essential step for writing a research paper . By creating an outline, you can simplify the writing process and ensure that your paper is well-organized and easy to follow.

This blog provides an easy-to-follow guide on how to craft an effective research paper outline. You’ll also get some useful tips and example outlines to help you learn faster.

So let’s dive in!

What is a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline is a plan or blueprint that helps you organize your research paper before you start writing.

In other words, it is the structure of your research that provides a clear and organized roadmap for your paper. It contains several sections, with each section having sub-sections or topics for each paragraph. The outline also contains relevant evidence for each section.

Creating a research paper outline is essential for several reasons. It helps you…

  • Organize your ideas logically,
  • Make sure you include all important points,
  • Ensure that all points are related,
  • Identify any gaps or issues early on.

Structure of Research Paper Outline

Your research paper outline needs to have the following sections:

  • Title of your research
  • Thesis Statement / Main Hypothesis
  • Main Sections

Literature Review

  • Research Methodology
  • Main Findings / Main Arguments
  • Supporting Analysis / Discussion

Let’s explore this structure and how you can incorporate it into your outline.

Title of the Research

Having a clear title for your research is necessary for the outline. The title reveals the main variables involved in your research and indicates the focus of your study. 

Hypothesis & Research Questions

Your hypothesis is the central claim of your research paper. It should be a concise statement that summarizes the main argument of your research. It should be specific and focused, providing a clear direction for your paper.

Another important part of the outline is your research questions . You should mention the main questions that your research aims to answer in your outline.

Other Major Sections

The main sections of a research paper outline typically include the following:

In this section, you mention all the existing literature you have studied for your research. It could include articles, books, and other scholarly sources that you reviewed during your research. 

Conducting a literature review is another essential aspect of research. Learn how to write a literature review with our guide.

Research Methodology 

The research methodology section outlines the methods and techniques you will use for your research. 

It should provide a clear description of the research design, data collection methods, and data analysis techniques you will use.

Research Body - Arguments & Related Evidence

Your arguments and discussion forms the main parts of your body paragraphs. In the outline, you can divide the research body into several parts - each part having a specific topic or argument that supports your main hypothesis.

Here is an example of how a research paper outline following the above structure looks like: 

Now that you know what you have to include in a research paper outline, let’s see how you can write an efficient one in simple steps.

Your first order with us is FREE!

Paper due? Why Suffer? That's our job.

Steps for Writing Research Paper Outline

Crafting a research paper outline doesn't have to be difficult. By breaking it down into manageable steps, you can create a helpful that will guide your research till it’s finished. 

Here's how to create a research paper outline step-by-step:

Step 1: Identify Your Hypothesis & Research Questions

Before you get started on your outline, you need to have a clear understanding of your hypothesis and research questions. 

You can choose any hypothesis related to your field of research. Just make sure that it is specific, focused, clear, and concise. Similarly, you need to have research questions in mind which will guide your overall research. 

Step 2: Choose a Methodology & Gather Relevant Information 

Once you have identified your hypothesis, the next step is to choose your research methodology and the type of research you want to do. 

This includes choosing whether you want to use a qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods approach. Moreover, you need to decide whether to conduct primary or secondary research.

Want to learn more about ways of conducting research? Read our guide about types of research methodologies.

You also need to gather relevant sources and information. This means reading and reviewing established research to gather evidence and data that will be useful for your paper. Note down your sources and any information in there that you find useful and relevant. 

Step 3: Make a List of Your Main and Sub-Points - H3

The next step is to make a list of points and sub-points that you want to make in your research paper.

This is the brainstorming stage. The research framework you established and the literature you read previously will help you come up with relevant ideas. Jot down any relevant sections, sub-sections, or topics that you think you need to cover in your research.

Step 4: Organize Your Points, Sub-Points, & Evidence 

Now that you have your evidence, topics, and points, you need to arrange them in a logical manner.

You can start by organizing your main points into sections, and then breaking down those sections into sub-points. This will help you create a hierarchy of information that flows logically throughout your paper.

Once you have your main points and sub-points organized, you can start adding in the evidence you gathered during Step 2. This can include quotes from research articles, statistics, or other relevant data that supports your main points and sub-points.

Step 5: Review and Revise the Outline -H3

The final step in creating your research paper outline is to review and revise it. This is an important step because it ensures that your outline is clear, concise, and logical.

Take a step back and review your outline with fresh eyes. Does it make sense? Are there any gaps in the information? Do you have enough evidence to support your main points and sub-points?

Make any necessary revisions to your outline until you feel confident that it accurately represents the flow and content of your research paper.

Here’s a short video about writing research paper outline that you can watch for additional help:

Research Paper Outline Format- H2

The outline provides a structure for your paper - but it can be formatted in different ways. You could use any format for your outline as long as it is clear, easy, and useful for you.

Here are some popular ways of formatting your outline:

Alphanumeric Point-by-Point Outline - H3

The most common type of outline used in academic writing is an alphanumeric one. It organizes various sections, parts, and points of your outline using alphabets and Roman or Arabic numerals. 

Each part of the outline is described using headings, sub-headings, and short notes. 

Here is an example of a point-by-point research paper outline:

Full-Sentence Outline 

A full-sentence outline uses complete sentences to define the sections and points in the outline instead of headings. 

This type of outline is more detailed. It is helpful when you need to present a detailed overview of the topics and arguments in your research outline.

Here is a basic research paper outline in full-sentence format.

Decimal Outline 

The decimal outline is similar to the alphanumeric point-by-point outline. It just uses a different system to enumerate the outline. 

It uses numbers and decimals to denote main sections, sub-sections, and other points. This outline is easier to understand for most people, as it uses clear, understandable numbers for each part.

Here is an example:

Research Paper Outline Example

We have gathered some examples that will help you understand research outlines better. Check these out. 

APA Research Paper Outline Template

MLA Research Paper Outline Template

Research Paper Outline Sample

College Research Paper Outline PDF

Tips for Writing a Better Research Paper Outline

You are now ready to get started on writing your research paper outline. But before you do, here are three tips that will help you make an even better and more effective outline for your paper.

Keep it Consistent and Parallel

Make sure that your headings and subheadings are consistent throughout your outline. Use the same level of detail for each section and avoid mixing different types of headings.

Moreover, ensure that the structure of your outline is parallel. Each section should have a similar structure, with headings and subheadings that follow the same format. This will help to create a sense of balance and clarity in your outline.

Maintain Coherence: Coordination and Subordination

Ensure that your ideas flow logically from one section to the next. Ensure that each section builds upon the previous one.

You can do this by making each section of your outline coordinate with the overall topic of your research paper. Each section should relate to the central theme of your paper, and each subtopic should support the main argument.

In other words, each subtopic should be subordinate to the main topic of your paper. Each subtopic should be more specific than the main topic, while the supporting evidence should be even more specific.

Divide it into Sections

Ensure that your outline divides your research paper into distinct sections. Each section should have its own theme and be supported by specific evidence.

With these tips, your outline will become even clearer and better. It would come in handy when you start writing your actual research paper, making the process a lot easier.

To Wrap Up , 

Creating a research paper outline is an important step in producing a high-quality academic paper. A well-structured outline helps to organize your ideas, arguments, and research findings in a logical and coherent manner, making it easier for you to write your paper. 

With our essay writer , you can develop an outline that will help enhance the quality of your paper.

However, if you find the task of creating a research paper outline too challenging or time-consuming, you can always rely on CollegeEssay.org! 

We are a professional research paper writing service that provides top-notch research paper outlines and other writing services. Our experienced writers can develop a customized outline that meets your specific requirements and guidelines. 

So don't hesitate to contact us today and take advantage of our reliable academic writing help . Order your research paper outline now!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should a research paper outline be.

A typical research paper outline is about one to two pages in length. However, there is no fixed length for a research paper outline, as it depends on the scope and complexity of the research topic.

Can I modify my research paper outline once I start writing my paper?

Yes, you can modify your research paper outline as you write your paper. It is common to revise your outline as you uncover new information or change your research focus. However, make sure that your outline remains coherent and well-structured.

Should I include citations in my research paper outline?

Yes. When you include evidence in your outline that you gathered through research, you should cite its reference. You can add a separate page for the “References” or “Works Cited” section below the outline. 

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

People also read

The Ultimate Guide On How To Write A Research Paper

Learn How to Write a Research Proposal

Types of Research - Methodologies and Characteristics

300+ Engaging Research Paper Topics to Get You Started

Interesting Psychology Research Topics & Ideas

Qualitative Research - Types, Methods & Examples

Understanding Quantitative Research - Definition, Types, Examples, And More

Research Paper Example - Examples for Different Formats

How to Start a Research Paper - An Easy Guide

How to Write an Abstract That Captivates Your Readers

Learn How to Write a Literature Review for a Research Paper

Types of Qualitative Research Methods - An Overview

Understanding Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research - A Complete Guide

How to Cite a Research Paper in Different Citation Formats

Easy Sociology Research Topics for Your Next Project

200+ Outstanding History Research Paper Topics With Expert Tips

How to Write a Hypothesis for a Research Paper

Share this article

Keep reading

research paper outline

Join our mailing list for discount & offers


  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookies Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Refunds & Cancellations
  • Our Guarantees
  • Affiliate Program
  • Referral Program
  • AI Essay Writer

Disclaimer: Our website content is sometimes created using AI but is reviewed and verified by our experienced team of editors. All client orders are completed by our team of highly qualified human writers. The essays and papers provided by us are not to be used for submission but rather as learning models only.

outline for research papers

Subscribed successfully!


Email Address Already Exists!

Please Enter Valid Email!

outline for research papers

How to Make an Outline for Research Paper: Detailed Guide

outline for research papers

Are you struggling to write a paper outlines? Don't worry - we're here to help. In this blog post, we'll give you a step-by-step guide to creating an outline for your essay. We'll also provide some tips and examples to help you start writing. So what are you waiting for? Let's get started!

However, if you have no time or desire to work on a paper, our online essay writers can create the best outline for a research paper. Find out more about our research paper help .

Goals and Benefits of a Research Paper Outline

When beginning any academic paper, it is important to have a clear understanding of what the finished product should look like. The same is true when starting to plan and write an outline for an essay. This guide will detail what an outline for an essay is, how to create one, and tips on how make it useful in the scientific paper.

What is an outline and why does it matter? A research paper outline is a plan written by the author to avoid stucking in the middle of the process. Call it an action plan. This part reveals the primary ideas of the study. Once you are done with the list of research paper topics to explore, it is necessary to dedicate some time to the outline development before you begin writing.

What is the difference between learning how to write a paper outline and how to make a table of contents for research papers? Well, an outline is not that detailed, and there is no need to put numbers of pages next to each section. An outline allows the amalgamation and review of the study. A writer will not repeat their words; he will stick to the logical flow with the help of an outline. Also be sure to learn how to cite a research paper .

The assignment's prompt may not say to write an outline. However, if a project is more than 1000 words in length , a professor utilizes a research paper outline by default. For example, a 5-paragraph essay requires an outline. It will not be possible to develop a 10,000-word coursework or dissertation without having a plan. An outline structure depends on the type of academic assignment and its format.

A paper outline also has a goal – to help keep the writer on track while writing and ensure that all key points are included. To achieve this goal, the following elements are typically included in an essay outline: thesis, main ideas, and supporting evidence/details in the body paragraph. The thesis statement is usually placed at the end of the introductory paragraph and provides a brief overview of what will be discussed in the essay body paragraphs. Each topic sentence corresponds with a main point that supports the thesis statement and introduces the evidence/details and supporting topics that will be used to further explain this point.

Get help from our paper writing service : we deliver best-quality articles from our top writers. Send us your paper requirements, choose one of dissertation writers for hire , and get your original paper on time.

How to Format a Paper Outline

There are various ways to format an essay outline, but one common method is listing Roman numerals for each main point followed by capital letters for sub-points and Arabic numerals and lowercase letters for sub-sub-points (e.g., I. A. 1.). No matter which format you choose, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind when writing your outline:

  • Be sure to include all required elements (e.g., thesis, topic sentences, etc.).
  • Keep your language concise yet clear – avoid using too much jargon or technical language that could lose your reader’s attention.

Make sure everything flows smoothly from one point to the next – logical order and transitions will help ensure your argument makes sense overall.


Address to our professional writers and get help asap!

MLA Research Paper Outline

MLA is the easiest and most frequently met research paper format, so we should start explaining how to write an outline for a research paper on this example. The Modern Language Association proposed this guide a long time ago. It is used to cite works by the students and professionals from the following fields:

  • Comparative literary analysis
  • Cultural studies
  • History & Anthropology
  • English Composition
  • Foreign language & literature
  • Literary criticism

Use MLA outline when working on the papers from these fields. Start with the primary headings (“Intro” and “Method”) using the upper-case Roman numerals. If the paper is long, with many different subsections, the student should use letters and numbers for the various levels of subheadings.

In a draft of a paper outline, arrange the things in the proper order. Do not go into details until starting the final version of the research paper outline. This part defines how the writer will come up with other integral parts (example: Literature Review).

Here are some tips on how to write a great MLA research paper outline:

  • Start with a catchy introduction Your introduction should make your readers want to read more. Try to start with something interesting or provocative, such as a quote or an anecdote.
  • Make sure your main argument is clear and concise Your main idea should be the main point of your essay. It should be arguable, and it should be clear what evidence you will use to support it. Be sure to include your thesis in your outline so that you don't forget it when you're writing your final paper.
  • Organize your ideas clearly Each section of your paper outline should have a clear purpose, and each point should support your main idea. Make sure that each section flows logically into the next one. If you get stuck, try using a mind map or other brainstorming tool to organize your ideas before you start writing your outline. The main idea should be kept through the whole text.
  • Use specific examples and evidence to support your points Specific examples and evidence will make your essay more convincing. Be sure to make an additional research and include detailed information so that your reader can understand what you're trying to say. But don't include so much detail that your essay becomes bogged down in minutiae. Complete additional research to add the relevant information.
  • Make sure everything ties together logically When you're finished writing your outline, check to make sure that everything ties together logically. All the ideas should flow smoothly into the next one, and the overall structure of your essay should make sense. If something doesn't seem quite right, go back and revise your outline until it feels right

mla outline

Need more info? Check our full guide - HOW TO CITE A RESEARCH PAPER USING MLA FORMAT

Mastering APA Research Paper Outline

An APA is a most frequently used format when it comes to writing a paper, and it is more complicated than MLA. The American Psychological Association has established it. Students and professionals use APA essay format in these fields:

  • Social sciences
  • Healthcare & nursing

The representatives of other fields apply APA paper format from time to time too. We have prepared a tasty infographic with an APA outline example, which is based on the 6th edition of the manual.

outline in apa

Let’s view that structure in details.

A Detailed Outline

There are several critical elements you should  consider in your research paper:

It is the opening section to introduce the major details. The length of the recommended title is 60 characters. On the whole, do not miss this information in the title page:

  • Your full name
  • Professor’s name
  • Peers who took part in the investigation (if any)
  • Submission date

A summary is an integral part of the research paper. In college, they call it an abstract. The length of such text should not exceed 250-300 words (1/3 of an A4 page), and a student should include the basic findings, their significance, and a brief conclusion.

Experts recommend painstaking the entire research into the investigation’s background. Try to explain why the chosen problem is necessary to analyze and discuss. Mention the results you expected to obtain during the working process, and state a hypothesis that should enclose the introduction (it would be the thesis). Also, don’t forget to mention the thesis statement or the topic of your research.

List the tools, equipment, & techniques used to carry out a study. This section should make it possible to replicate the investigation step-by-step. The goal of the section is to allow other scientists interested in the same research question to continue the investigation.

In most cases, master paper writers combine results and discussion in one huge section. They are interrelated. Start with sharing the findings of the study. Go on interpreting the meaning of the results for the society and provide a short synopsis of the main components: figures and statistical examinations. While adding any visual elements for understanding (graphs, images, etc.), place the numbers next to each of them to provide details in the last section — Appendix.

In the Conclusion part, it is necessary to include:

  • A summary of the results
  • Paraphrased thesis statement
  • Value of the research paper
  • Ways to implement the findings
  • Some forecasts

Based on the chosen paper format, develop a full list of references. Each time you cite something, write the source’s details on a separate piece of paper. It will speed up the process at the end. Don't forget to read about expository essay and how to write it correctly.

Things to Remember

  • An outline is like an action plan which guides you through the writing process.
  • You need to write an outline if your assignment is more than 1000 words in lenght.
  • Basically, the outline contains three main sections: the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion.
  • The outline format depends on the type of academic assignment (MLA, APA).
  • Before developing a research paper outline, read the latest version of the manual according to the chosen format of the research paper.

Research Paper Outline Example

Also, check free research paper outline template example: Developing an Attention-Grabbing Resume! The example is written according to APA writing style guidelines - the rules of the game maybe be different for other formats.

If you need help, get in touch with our support agent from coursework writing service 24/7. To order essay online fill out the form and let the writing process begin.

Need Help with Creating an Outline?

Even after reading a detailed guide on how to outline a research paper, some students need help from EssayPro — one of the leading websites in the field of academic writing & editing.

Related Articles

term paper

  • EXPLORE Coupons Tech Help Pro Random Article About Us Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • H&M Coupons
  • Hotwire Promo Codes
  • StubHub Discount Codes
  • Ashley Furniture Coupons
  • Blue Nile Promo Codes
  • NordVPN Coupons
  • Samsung Promo Codes
  • Chewy Promo Codes
  • Ulta Coupons
  • Vistaprint Promo Codes
  • Shutterfly Promo Codes
  • DoorDash Promo Codes
  • Office Depot Coupons
  • adidas Promo Codes
  • Home Depot Coupons
  • DSW Coupons
  • Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons
  • Lowe's Coupons
  • Surfshark Coupons
  • Nordstrom Coupons
  • Walmart Promo Codes
  • Dick's Sporting Goods Coupons
  • Fanatics Coupons
  • Edible Arrangements Coupons
  • eBay Coupons
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Education and Communications
  • College University and Postgraduate
  • Academic Writing
  • Research Papers

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

Last Updated: December 18, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by Matthew Snipp, PhD . C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center. He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty and unemployment. He is also currently serving on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 296,726 times.

Writing an outline for a research paper can seem like a time consuming task, and you may not understand the value of it if you have never written one before. Outlines can help you structure your research and your final paper in much more efficient ways, though, so it is a good idea that you learn how to write one. Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing so.

Sample Outlines

outline for research papers

Outline Type and Structure

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 1

  • Topic outlines are usually used when your research deals with many different issues that can be arranged in different ways.
  • Sentence outlines are usually used if your research focuses on complex issues.
  • Some instructors will insist that you must not combine these two forms. Many others, however, offer one exception to this guideline by allowing the main section headings to be short phrases while the remaining subpoints are written as full sentences.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 2

  • The first level is represented by Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, etc.), the second level is represented by capital letters (A, B, C, D, etc.), the third level is represented by numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), and the fourth level is represented by lowercase letters (a, b, c, d, etc.).

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 3

  • One school of thought indicates that first level headings should be written in all capital letters while all remaining headings use standard sentence capitalization rules.
  • Another school of thought suggests that the first level headings should only have the first letter of each word capitalized, rather than the entire word. The remaining headings, again, use standard sentence capitalization rules.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 4

  • For a four to five page paper, you only need a single page outline.
  • For a 15 to 20 page paper, your outline will usually run no longer than four pages. [2] X Research source

Outline Levels

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 5

  • These headings are labeled with Roman numerals.
  • Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed. It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 6

  • In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present.
  • Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 7

  • You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version.
  • Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 8

  • The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections.

Components of Effective Outlines

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 9

  • This refers most obviously to the usage of "topic" versus "sentence" outline formats, as described in the "structure and type" section of the article.
  • Parallelism also refers to parts of speech and tense. If a heading starts with a verb, then the other headings must also start with a verb. Moreover, that verb must also be in the same tense (usually present tense).

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 10

  • Your major headings should identify major tasks or ideas.
  • Your subheadings should elaborate on the points addressed in your major headings.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 11

  • For instance, if you were writing about memorable experiences from your childhood, "Memorable Childhood Experiences" would be the heading and the subheadings might look something like, "Vacation at 8 years old," "Favorite birthday party," and "Family trips to the park."

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 12

  • There is no limit on subheadings, but once you start forming a dozen or so subheadings under a single heading, you might find your outline looking cluttered and messy.

Organizing the Outline

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 13

  • From this research problem, you will derive your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the entire purpose or argument of your research paper.
  • This thesis statement will usually be written above the outline itself or within the first "Introduction" heading of the outline.
  • Your research problem can also help you figure out a title.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 14

  • The main points are details that support or address your research paper. They should be very general in nature.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 15

  • Chronological arrangements generally only work if you have a topic that has some chronological history to it. For example, if you were researching the history of modern medicine, it would make sense that your paper and outline follow a chronological order.
  • If your research topic does not have a history, though, you will probably end up using a spatial structure. For instance, if you are researching the effects of television and video games on the adolescent brain, you probably would not follow the chronology of the research. Instead, you might describe the different contemporary schools of thought on the issue or otherwise follow some other spatial arrangement of ideas.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 16

  • Some instructors will insist that you do not use the terms "Introduction" and "Conclusions," however. In these instances, you can usually skip these two sections altogether, but you will need to write your thesis statement separately and above the outline.

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 17

  • Note that these elements will usually be listed as subpoints, not as major headings. The major heading for the section will be "Introduction."

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 18

  • As with the actual paper itself, this portion of your outline will hold all the significant content.
  • The main headings will correspond to the main categories briefly listed under a subheading of your “Introduction” section.
  • You can include only the main ideas and supporting details of those ideas (a two-level outline, as noted in the “Outline Levels” section of the article) or you could include information about specific paragraphs and supporting details within those paragraphs (three-level and four-level outlines, respectively).

Image titled Write an Outline for a Research Paper Step 19

  • Restate and rephrase your thesis.
  • If you drew any additional conclusions based on your research, list them here. Keep in mind that none of this information should be “new,” and all of it should have been addressed elsewhere in the paper.
  • If your research demands a “call to action”—a response that a reader should have in response or an action that should be done in response—include that under this section, as well. This will usually be your final point within the outline.

Expert Q&A

  • A good outline shows you what to address next in your paper, thereby limiting writer's block.
  • Outlines help maintain a coherent, orderly flow of ideas.
  • You can use an outline to check yourself as you write if you suspect that you are straying from the main topic.
  • Having a visual outline can help encourage you as you write your paper since you can tell how much you have left.
  • Outlines help you organize different ideas about the same topic and gain an understanding of how those ideas connect.

outline for research papers

You Might Also Like

Describe the Setting in a Story

  • ↑ http://libguides.usc.edu/c.php?g=235034&p=1561769
  • ↑ http://libguides.usc.edu/content.php?pid=83009&sid=634166
  • ↑ http://www.eng.usf.edu/~cunning/CGN6933-drinkingwater/CGN6933-drinkingwater-project/HowToOutline.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/twc/sites/utsc.utoronto.ca.twc/files/resource-files/Outline.pdf
  • ↑ Matthew Snipp, PhD. Sociology Professor, Stanford University. Expert Interview. 26 March 2020.
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/developing_an_outline/how_to_outline.html
  • ↑ http://www.austincc.edu/tmthomas/sample%20outline%201.htm

About This Article

Matthew Snipp, PhD

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Kizzie McLemore

Kizzie McLemore

Apr 9, 2017

Did this article help you?

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

Prepare for Chemotherapy

Trending Articles

How to Delete the Cache in YouTube: Desktop & Mobile App

Watch Articles

Make Crispy Cookies

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

Get all the best how-tos!

Sign up for wikiHow's weekly email newsletter

Research Paper Guide

Research Paper Example

Nova A.

Research Paper Example - APA and MLA Format

12 min read

Published on: Nov 27, 2017

Last updated on: May 26, 2023

Research Paper Example

On This Page On This Page

Do you spend time staring at the screen and thinking about how to approach a monstrous  research paper ?

If yes, you are not alone.

Research papers are no less than a curse for high school and college students.

It takes time, effort, and expertise to craft a striking research paper.

Every other person craves to master the magic of producing impressive research papers.

Continue with the guide to investigate the mysterious nature of different types of research through examples.

Research Paper Example for Different Formats

An academic paper doesn't have to be boring. You can use an anecdote, a provocative question, or a quote to begin the introduction.

Learning from introductions written in professional college papers is the best strategy.

Have a look at the expertise of the writer in the following example.

Social Media and Social Media Marketing: A Literature Review

APA Research Paper Example

While writing research papers, you must pay attention to the required format.

Follow the example when the instructor mentions the  APA format .

Effects of Food Deprivation of Concentration and Preserverance

Research Paper Example APA 7th Edition

Research Paper Example MLA

Once you are done with APA format, let’s practice the art of writing quality MLA papers.

Found Voices: Carl Sagan

We have provided you with a top-notch research paper example in  MLA format  here.

Research Paper Example Chicago

Chicago style  is not very common, but it is important to learn. Few institutions require this style for research papers, but it is essential to learn. The content and citations in the research paper are formatted like this example.

Chicago Research Paper Sample

Research Paper Example Harvard

To learn how a research paper is written using the  Harvard citation style , carefully examine this example. Note the structure of the cover page and other pages.

Harvard Research Paper Sample

Examples for Different Research Paper Parts

A research paper has different parts. Each part is important for the overall success of the paper. Chapters in a research paper must be written correctly, using a certain format and structure.

The following are examples of how different sections of the research paper can be written.

Example of Research Proposal

What is the first step to starting a research paper?

Submitting the research proposal!

It involves several sections that take a toll on beginners.

Here is a detailed guide to help you  write a research proposal .

Are you a beginner or do you lack experience? Don’t worry.

The following example of a research paper is the perfect place to get started.

View Research Proposal Example Here

Research Paper Example Abstract

After submitting the research proposal, prepare to write a seasoned  abstract  section.

The abstract delivers the bigger picture by revealing the purpose of the research.

A common mistake students make is writing it the same way a summary is written.

It is not merely a summary but an analysis of the whole research project. Still confused?

Read the abstract mentioned in the following research to get a better idea.

Affirmative Action: What Do We Know? - Abstract Example

Literature Review Research Paper Example

What if a novice person reads your research paper?

He will never understand the critical elements involved in the research paper.

To enlighten him, focus on the  literature review  section. This section offers an extensive analysis of the past research conducted on the paper topics.

It is relatively easier than other sections of the paper.

Take a closer look at the paper below to find out.

Methods Section of Research Paper Example

While writing research papers, excellent papers focus a great deal on the methodology.

Yes, the research sample and methodology define the fate of the papers.

Are you facing trouble going through the methodology section?

Relax and let comprehensive sample research papers clear your doubts.

View Methods Section of Research Paper Here

Research Paper Conclusion Example

The conclusion leaves the last impression on the reader.

“Who cares for the last impression? It’s always the first.”

Don’t be fooled!

The conclusion sets the tone of the whole research paper properly.

A key list of elements must be present in conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.

The Conclusion: Your Paper's Final Impression

View the sample paper and identify the points you thought were never a part of the conclusion.


Get Quick AI Research Help!

Research Paper Examples for Different Fields

Research papers can be about any subject that needs a detailed study. The following examples show how research papers are written for different subjects.

History Research Paper Sample

Many Faces of Generalisimo Fransisco Franco

Sociology Research Paper Sample

A Descriptive Statistical Analysis within the State of Virginia

Science Fair Research Paper Sample

What Do I Need To Do For The Science Fair?

Psychology Research Paper Sample

The Effects of Food Deprivation on Concentration and Preserverance

Art History Research Paper Sample

European Art History: A Primer

Scientific Research Paper Example

We have discussed several elements of research papers through examples.

Research Proposal!

Introduction in Research Paper!

Read on to move towards advanced versions of information.

Scientific research paper

Let's have a look at the template and an example to elaborate on concepts.

It includes:

  • Introduction
  • Related Work
  • Research Methodology
  • Experiments
  • Results and Discussion
  • Conclusion & Future Work
  • Acknowledgment

The name itself sounds terrifying to many students. Make no mistake; it sure is dangerous when touched without practice.

Students become afraid and hence aspire to locate an outstanding essay paper writer to get their papers done.

Detailed, high-quality, and credible sources and samples are a must to be shared here.

Science Fair Paper Format

Example of Methodology in Research Paper

The words methodology, procedure, and approach are the same. They indicate the approach pursued by the researcher while conducting research to accomplish the goal through research.

The methodology is the bloodline of the research paper.

A practical or assumed procedure is used to conduct the methodology.

The Effects of Immediate Feedback Devices in High School Chemistry Classes

See the way the researcher has shared participants and limits in the methodology section of the example.

Research Paper Example for Different Levels

The process of writing a research paper is based on a set of steps. The process will seem daunting if you are unaware of the basic steps. Start writing your research paper by taking the following steps:

  • Choose a Topic
  • Create a thesis statement
  • Do in-depth research for the research study
  • Create an outline

You will find writing a research paper much easier once you have a plan.

No matter which level you are writing at, your research paper needs to be well structured.

Research Paper Example Outline

Before you plan on writing a well-researched paper, make a rough draft.

Brainstorm again and again!

Pour all of your ideas into the basket of the outline.

What will it include?

A standard is not set but follow the  research paper outline  example below:

View Research Paper Outline Example Here

This example outlines the following elements:

  • Thesis Statement
  • Methodology

Utilize this standard of outline in your research papers to polish your paper. Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you write a research paper according to this format.

Good Research Paper Examples for Students

Theoretically, good research paper examples will meet the objectives of the research.

Always remember! The first goal of the research paper is to explain ideas, goals, and theory as clearly as water.

Yes, leave no room for confusion of any sort.

Fiscal Research Center - Action Plan

Qualitative Research Paper Example

Research Paper Example Introduction

How to Write a Research Paper Example?

Research Paper Example for High School

When the professor reads such a professional research paper, he will be delighted.

High scores!

Grant of funds for the project!

Appreciation in Class!

You'll surely be highly rewarded.

Research Paper Conclusion

“Who cares for the last impression? It's always the first.”

Don't be fooled!

A key list of elements must be present in the conclusion to make it crisp and remarkable.

Critical Research Paper

To write a research paper remarkably, include the following ingredients in it:

  • Justification of the Experimental Design
  • Analysis of Results
  • Validation of the Study

How to Write the Methods Section of a Research Paper

Theoretical Framework Examples

The theoretical framework is the key to establish credibility in research papers.

Read the purpose of the theoretical framework before following it in the research paper.

The researcher offers a guide through a theoretical framework.

  • Philosophical view
  • Conceptual Analysis
  • Benefits of the Research

An in-depth analysis of theoretical framework examples research paper is underlined in the sample below.

View Theoretical Framework Example Here

Now that you have explored the research paper examples, you can start working on your research project.

Hopefully, these examples will help you understand the writing process for a research paper. You can hire an essay writer online. If you still require help writing your paper, you can buy well-written yet cheap research papers by contacting our expert and professional writers.

So, contact our essay writing service now.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

People also read

Writing A Research Paper - A Step by Step Guide

Research Paper Outline - A Complete Guide with Examples

250+ Interesting Research Paper Topics for 2022

Research Proposal - A Complete Format Guide and Template

How to Start a Research Paper - 7 Easy Steps

How to Write an Abstract - A Step by Step Guide

Learn How To Write A Literature Review In Simple Steps

Qualitative Research - Methods, Types, and Examples

Types Of Qualitative Research - Overview & Examples

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research - Learning the Basics

Psychology Research Topics - 200+ Interesting Ideas

Learn How to Write a Hypothesis in Simple Steps

Types of Research With Examples - A Detailed Guide

Quantitative Research - Types & Data Collection Techniques

Interesting Sociology Research Topics & Ideas for Students

How to Cite a Research Paper - Learn with Helpful Examples

Interesting History Research Paper Topics (2022)

How to Write a Research Methodology for a Research Paper

Share this article

Keep reading

Research Paper Example

We value your privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience and give you personalized content. Do you agree to our cookie policy?

Website Data Collection

We use data collected by cookies and JavaScript libraries.

Are you sure you want to cancel?

Your preferences have not been saved.

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

A person writing on a notepad

Academic writing can be daunting, but having a well-crafted plan can make the write-up process much more manageable. An outline of a research paper is a roadmap that guides the direction and content of your essay. It will help you stay organized, focus your effort, and produce a polished final document.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of outlining and teach you how to make an outline for a research paper step-by-step. We will also provide some examples that you can use to come up with your own roadmap.

Research Paper Explained

A person writing notes

Before diving into outlining, let's briefly review what a research paper is and what it involves.

At its core, it is a written document that presents and analyzes the results of studying a particular topic. You need to gather relevant data, analyze that data, and draw conclusions based on your findings to create it.

A successful research paper will typically include the following components:

  • An introduction that states the purpose of your writing and the main findings,
  • A methods section that specifies the methodologies used,
  • A results section that showcases the information collected,
  • A discussion section that explores how your findings fit into the wider context,
  • A conclusion that summarizes your main points and suggests areas for further studying.

What Is an Outline for a Research Paper?

A tablet, a notebook, and pens

Now, let's move on to outlining. Understanding what an outline is and why it is important can help you produce better content.

An outline of a research paper is essentially a plan for what you will write in your essay. An outline for research paper works is a list of the topics and arguments to include. It typically comprises of the major sections along with brief descriptions of what each section will cover. All the necessary facts and evidence that support your main points should be present in your plan.

Why Make an Outline for Research Paper?

A person with a ballpoint pen

Now that we know what an outline is, let’s see why it is so important to create a detailed outline for research paper.

Keeping you organized

Writing a research paper outline can help you keep track of the main components of your writing. It also serves as a reference point to check if you have included all the ideas to uncover your topic.

Focusing your research

When writing a paper outline, you can use it to focus your research. Having a list of points to cover, you won’t miss any key information when gathering data. By the way, you can find a good sample of outlines for research papers to have a better idea.

Improving the flow

A plan can help you ensure that your document has a proper structure. By organizing all the ideas in advance, you can easily see how different sections and points link together. Thus, you can improve the flow of your writing and make it easier to read and comprehend.

Making the writing process easier

Finally, crafting an outline can help speed up the writing process. With all the major components of your document planned out, you can sit down and get writing quickly.

How to Do a Research Paper Outline in 7 Steps

A person with a laptop

Now, it is time to proceed to the practical part — how to do an outline for a research paper. Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating outlines for research papers. Still, these basic steps can help you get started.

Step 1: choose a topic

The first step in writing an outline for a research paper is to choose a topic. Select a subject that interests you and has enough information available on it. Pick a topic that is narrow enough to be manageable but broad enough to explore ideas.

Step 2: conduct research

Once you have your topic, start gathering relevant data to support your ideas. Use various sources, such as books, journals, and online databases to find useful materials. Read through the sources and take notes of all the important information.

Step 3: identify your audience

Next, think about who you are writing for and the type of information they need. Understanding your audience will help you decide on the structure of your document and what points to include.

Step 4: brainstorm ideas

Now, it is time to brainstorm ideas related to your topic. Think about the points you want to make and what evidence will be most effective in supporting them. Generate a list of all the ideas and points that you can think of. Brainstorming will help you design each section of your document.

Step 5: develop your thesis statement

After determining the main ideas, develop a thesis statement. Your thesis statement is the main argument of your writing. It should be a concise summary of the work you have performed and the conclusions you have drawn.

Step 6: make an outline of research paper

Once you have a list of concepts, you can move to the fun part — writing an outline. Begin with your thesis statement and a brief overview of what you will be discussing in the paper. Then, move on to listing out all the key ideas and evidence you want to use to support your points. You can also include the sub-points that you want to address in each section of your paper.

Step 7: review and revise

Now that you have come up with the plan, take time to review and revise it. Make sure that all the points look logical, and that there is a clear flow from one point to the next. Check if all the evidence you have included is relevant and up-to-date. See if your outline adheres to the requirements of your instructor or professor (if any).

Research Paper Outline Templates

Papers and books on a table

When outlining your writing, a research paper outline template would come in handy. It can help you organize your thoughts, structure the paper logically, and make sure that all points link back to the main argument.

There are several types of plans you can use when crafting a research paper. Let’s look through the common examples of a research paper outline.

📄 Alphanumeric Outline Format for Research Papers

An alphanumeric outline of a research paper uses letters and numbers to organize the main ideas and sub-points. This type of outline is good for writing longer papers, such as essays or dissertations. It helps to keep track of all the important points in an organized manner.

The alphanumeric format consists of two parts:

  • The main headings (lettered)
  • Subheadings (numbered)

Each heading may include keywords related to its content so readers can quickly identify what each section will discuss. This outline paper example allows for easy rearrangement if needed during the writing process.

What does a research paper outline look like in the alphanumeric format? Here is the basic structure:

I. Introduction

  • Background Information
  • Thesis Statement

II. Body Paragraphs

  • Point 1 (Main Idea)

1. Supporting Evidence A

2. Supporting Evidence B 

  • Point 2 (Main Idea)

III. Conclusion

  • Summary of Main Points
  • Restatement of Thesis Statement

📄 Decimal Research Paper Outline Format

The decimal outline format assumes using decimal numbers to structure the main ideas and sub-points of a paper. It consists of a single number followed by a period, the main idea (or heading), and the subheadings that come after it. Just like in an alphanumeric research outline sample, you can use relevant keywords in all headings.

A decimal research paper outline template is particularly useful for longer papers. When used for dissertations or theses, it allows for easy navigation to different sections and subsections.

Here is a decimal sample outline for research papers:

1. Introduction

2. Body Paragraphs

3. Conclusion

📄 Full-Sentence Research Paper Outline Format

A full-sentence outline of a research paper uses complete sentences to list the main ideas and sub-points of writing. Such an outline of a research paper follows a logical flow from one point to the next. 

A full-sentence outline works well for longer papers, such as courseworks and dissertations. It is also suitable for shorter papers that call for more structure but don’t need the same rigorous formatting requirements. 

Here is an example of a full-sentence format:                                                                                                                                                                                               

The topic of my writing is…

My research paper will argue that…

Evidence shows that… 

Studies suggest that…

Experts agree that… 

Results show that…

My research paper has shown that…

  • Restatement of Thesis Statement 

My research paper has argued that…

A Basic Research Paper Outline Example

A woman in front of a PC

Want an outline example for research paper writing that you can use as a reference? Here you go — a college research paper outline dedicated to the benefits of exercise.

This study focuses on the benefits of exercise.

Regular exercise can provide health benefits for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

  • Point 1 (Main Idea) – Physical Benefits of Exercise  

1. Supporting Evidence A 

Physical activity helps to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It improves health markers such as blood pressure levels, weight control, and cholesterol levels in adults. 

2. Supporting Evidence B    

Regular physical activity helps improve bone density. As a result, the risk of osteoporosis reduces (especially for women).

  • Point 2 (Main Idea) – Mental & Emotional Benefits of Exercise

Exercise can be effective at reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. It can also promote a sense of well-being through natural endorphin release.

2. Supporting Evidence B    

Regular exercise can improve cognitive function and memory. Thus, physical activity is good for improving focus and concentration.

Regular physical activity can have many physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds can experience these positive effects.

Regular exercise can have positive effects on health and well-being.

Creating an outline for writing a research paper is crucially important. It helps you to organize your thoughts and ensure you have strong arguments to back your position.

Now that you know how to write an outline for a research paper, you are all set to craft your content with confidence. Use the outline samples for research papers we have shared in this article as a guide for writing your own. With an outline in hand, you will ensure a clear flow of ideas and a logical structure for your argument.

outline for research papers

Related Articles

Write Law Essay_4

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write Law Essays: Tips, Examples, and the Best Practices

Law Essay Topics_5

50+ Law Essay Topics Relevant In 2023

outline for research papers

Take Your Pick – List of 50+ Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignments

Stay anonymous.

outline for research papers

  • Utility Menu

University Logo


outline for research papers

  • Questions about Expos?
  • Writing Support for Instructors

Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable)  

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)  

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim  

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim  

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis  

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
  • Asking Analytical Questions
  • Introductions
  • What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
  • Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
  • Transitions
  • Tips for Organizing Your Essay
  • Counterargument
  • Conclusions
  • Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
  • Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

Quick Links

  • Schedule an Appointment
  • English Grammar and Language Tutor
  • Harvard Guide to Using Sources
  • Departmental Writing Fellows
  • Writing Advice: The Harvard Writing Tutor Blog

STEM Research Paper Outlines: The Ultimate Guide

Logan pearce

By Logan Pearce

PhD candidate in Social Psychology at Princeton University

5 minute read

outlining stem problem

As a curious high school student, you’ve become interested in conducting your own research, perhaps in the field of psychology . After you conduct your research, the next step is to showcase it to the world ! One popular medium to communicate scientific research is through research papers , which you can use to enter scientific competitions or try to get published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, many high school students haven’t written a research paper before, and the structure is quite different from what they typically write during their high school. Outlining a research paper is a great step to make the process less overwhelming. In this article, you’ll learn how to write a STEM research paper outline. If you’re looking for other resources in the paper writing process, check out our guides on how to skim academic articles and how to showcase CS projects on Github .

The goal of the outline is to capture the key points that you want to include in the research paper. It should be detailed enough so that you know what you plan to discuss in the full research paper, but not so detailed such that your outline is basically your paper. As much as possible, try not to be too critical of your outline. Outlines give you a chance to jot down ideas without criticizing them. You can always remove and add to your outline when you are working on the full research paper. 

In this blog post, I’ll give you an example of how to outline each section of a research paper. I’ll use a fictional research study to make the outline more concrete. Imagine that you are a college professor investigating how students learn best. You have a theory that students will retain more information when you include a five-minute break in the middle of the lecture. For your class that meets on Monday, you will include this 5 minute break in the middle of lecture, and for your Tuesday class, you will not. Both classes will cover the same material each day. The Monday class will simply run 5 minutes later to account for the break. Below you’ll find the key ideas to include in each section of the research paper, along with the corresponding example outline.


The introduction of your research paper provides context that readers need to understand your research. First, describe the existing research that relates to your study. Next, explain why your research matters . For example, there may be a gap in the existing academic literature and/or a real world issue that you want to solve. Conclude the introduction with an overview of your research, including the research question, hypothesis, and research design at a high level.

Here is an example of how to outline the introduction. Pro-tip: I outline/write this section last since I find it the most tedious. 

Existing research

Researchers have found that people tend to stop paying attention after 20 minutes of listening to a lecture. (I made this fact up for the purpose of the online, although there is research about this topic.)

Note: You will need to cite several sources in the introduction for a research paper. In the outline, give a 1-2 sentence summary about the main finding of each source. 

10% of college students failed the midterm in your introduction to psychology class last semester.

Research Overview

Students in the Monday version of the class will attend a lecture with a five-minute break in the middle. Students in the Tuesday version will attend a lecture that does not have the five-minute break.

Research question: Do students who attend a lecture with a five-minute break in the middle do better on the midterm than students who attend a lecture without a break?

Materials and Methods Section

The goal of the Methods and Materials section is to describe your work with enough detail so that another researcher could recreate it if they wanted to. The “Materials” aspect describes what you studied and the “Methods” aspect describes how you studied it. Note: This section is also sometimes referred to as simply the “Methods” section depending on the journal.

If your work is experimental or correlational in nature, the Materials subsection involves a detailed description of your participants, your dataset, or both, depending on your research. For participants, include the sample size (total number of participants) and the participants’ demographic information. You should also discuss how you recruited the participants. For datasets, describe what information is included in the dataset, along with how you obtained it.

The Methods subsection details how you conducted your research. Describe exactly what participants did in the study/experiment. If you conducted your study on a dataset, describe how you cleaned and analyzed the data. Note that the actual numerical results of the data analyses go in the Data section.

Regardless of whether you conducted a study or analyzed a dataset, include details about your variables. For all types of studies, you will need to discuss your dependent variables, what you measured. If you ran an experiment, describe your independent variable(s), what you manipulated in your experiment.


Sample size: 300

Median age: 20.5

Gender: 50% female, 49% male, 1% non-binary


Participants were students in an introduction to psychology class at a university.

They agreed to participate in a study at some point during the semester, but they were not told exactly what it would be about.

Break Condition: Monday class. There was a five-minute break in the middle of each lecture.

Control Condition: Tuesday class. There was not a five-minute break during the lecture.

Dependent Variable

Students’ scores on the midterm 

In this section, you’ll provide summary statistics of your data along with the numerical results of any statistical analyses you ran. When you write your actual research paper, you will also include figures – bar graphs, scatter plots, histograms, etc. – to give readers a way to visually comprehend your data. Whether or not to include those figures in the outline is up to you.

Also, note that the Data section contains the “objective” numerical results. The interpretation of the results is in the next section. “Objective” is in quotation marks because choosing to run a certain test involves some subjectivity, but the actual result of the test is objective.

Summary statistics

Mean score on the midterm for the break condition: 88.7

Mean score on the midterm for the control condition: 85.2

Statistical tests

The t-test between the two conditions’ midterm scores was significant, with a p-value of p = 0.03.

The Discussion section is the subjective interpretation of the results from the Data section. If you didn’t get the anticipated results, give a couple of explanations as to why you think that happened. Do you think you would get different results if you changed the study in some way? If you did get the anticipated results, discuss what your findings mean for academia and/or the real world.

Students who had a break in the middle of lecture did significantly better on the midterm than students who did not have a break in the middle of lecture.

These results suggest that lecturers should include short breaks so that students retain the information better.

The goal of the Conclusion section is to summarize the strengths and limitations of your study and identify future directions for research. To address potential future directions for research, you can say something along these lines: “Future researchers should extend this research by addressing X, Y, Z limitations that I mentioned earlier.”

Large sample size


Students were not randomly assigned to conditions – students who signed up for the Monday class may be different from those who signed up for Tuesday class

Future Directions

Researchers should conduct the study the following academic year, but reverse the conditions so that the Tuesday class has the break and the Monday class does not.

In this blog post, I’ve explained the key elements to include when outlining a STEM research paper, and I have included the full outline below. Check out this post to learn more about how to write a research paper.

Want to start a project of your own?

Click below to get matched with one of our expert mentors who can help take your project off the ground!

Student working on a rocket ship

outline for research papers

  • Plagiarism checker Do The Check
  • Academic editing Ask For Help
  • Samples database View Samples Base

APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template

06 Mar 2022

Quick Navigation

❔Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?

☝️Concept & Purposes of Research Paper Outline

📑Understanding the APA Outline Format

✒️The Basic APA Outline Format

📃APA Style Outline Template Breakdown

📌Full Sentence Outline Format

📝Decimal Outline Format

💡Tips for Writing an Outline: Organize Your Ideas

Is writing essays your hobby?

Participate in our "Independence Day of the United States" essay writing competition and get a 12-month Quizlet subscription.

  • Deadline: July 24, 2023
  • Topic: Declaration of Independence
  • Language: English
  • Length: 1000-5000 words
  • Font size: 11 or 12

Writing essays

Why Is Research Paper Format Necessary?

Detect plagiarism in your paper for free, concept & purposes of research paper outline, purpose of research paper outline.

  • APA paper outline discusses the study's core concepts.
  • The research paper outlines to define the link between your ideas and the thesis.
  • It provides you with manageable portions that you can handle.
  • The research paper's APA outline enables the detection of structural faults or gaps.
  • As shown in the example, it must clearly comprehend the subject at hand.

APA outline example

Understanding the apa outline format, apa paper outline example.

  • Headings & Subheadings
  • 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, left, and right.
  • The page number on the upper right corner.
  • Introduction

Need help with writing your APA papers?

Get your paper written by a professional writer



  • Summarize your key arguments.
  • Explain how these concepts support your ultimate stance, as shown in APA outline example below.

The Basic APA Outline Format

Apa style outline template breakdown, full sentence outline format, apa research paper outline example, know how to structure your paper.

  • 12-point Times New Roman
  • 0" between paragraphs
  • 1" margin all around
  • double spaced (275 words/page) / single-spaced (550 words/page)
  • 0.5" first line of a paragraph

PapersOwl editors can also format your paper according to your specific requirements.

APA Paper Outline Format Example

Decimal outline format, first paragraph: hook and thesis.

  • The first paragraph is a sentence or two that introduces the central concept of your article.
  • Introduce your topic or subject of study where your research is applicable as a context for further research.
  • Explain why the mentioned issue is essential or relevant to the audience.
  • A thesis statement is a claim that you make throughout your whole essay.
  • The topic phrase is the first point in any writing to support a thesis statement.
  • Give an explanation or provide evidence to support your point.
  • Provide verifiable facts, figures, and/or citations from credible sources in your writing. It helps in the substantiating assertion.
  • Include as many supporting statements and related evidence in your decimal outline.

Decimal APA outline format example

Decimal apa outline format layout, tips for writing an outline: organize your ideas, a definite goal, parallelism, coordination, subordination, avoid redundancy, wrap it up in a good way.

  • Thesis statement
  • Techniques employed
  • Body of paper
  • Conclusions section
  • List of references

Was this article helpful?

Thanks for your feedback.

Article author picture

Prof. Linda Mia

I’ve worked for the past eight years as a content editor, creative writer, and professional essay writer. Every day, I work hard to make sure my clients are satisfied with the projects and papers I write for them. My areas of expertise are wide, ranging from Psychology and Sociology to Political Science and World History.

Readers also enjoyed

Feminist research topics for students.

Research Paper Writing Guides 11 likes

Food Research Topics

Research Paper Writing Guides 13 likes

Sports Research Paper Topics and Ideas

Research Paper Writing Guides 14 likes


Simply fill out the form, click the button, and have no worries!

outline for research papers

Research Paper Outline Generator

🤖 research outline generator 101.

  • 📝 Template & Format
  • 🤩 Outline Tips

🔗 References

Outlining an academic assignment serves several purposes:

  • It lets students establish connections between the thesis and their ideas.
  • A template also allows them to structure papers and identify gaps in their knowledge.
  • An outline makes their writing more substantial and lets them know if they understand the topic well enough.

Our outline generator for research papers speeds up this process in several ways:

📝 Outline Generator for Research Paper: Template and Format

Our tool can help you cope with the first step in any academic work, whether it's a high school or college tasks. But what should you do next? This part of the article details the components of the research paper format. It will give you a better understanding of how your work should look.

Popular Academic Formats

The format of your research paper largely depends on the style your school uses. Three main styles are widely used in the academic setting: APA, Chicago, and MLA. Each has its features we’ll discuss briefly.

Good Example of a Template

In this section, we have detailed all the components of a comprehensive research paper. Knowing these elements will make it easy for you to structure your work.

🤩 Best Outline Tips: Research Papers & Academic Essays

We want to wrap things up by offering helpful tips for an effective outline. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an academic essay, a research work, or a personal statement. These pieces of advice can be helpful in all types of assignments.

  • Plan and brainstorm . Make a list of ideas that can become good topics for your essay. By the way, having study buddies is also a fantastic idea! Try to brainstorm topics with fellow students. This way, you can better plan and find impactful research subjects.
  • Organize your ideas . Next, organize the ideas into separate categories. Discard bad ones and incorporate good ones in your writing. Narrow them down until you choose the main one to write a good thesis statement.
  • Use bullet points . Utilize a list format to keep your outline organized. Use headings to easily navigate the template and structure the paper logically.
  • Use online tools . If you need help, turn to online platforms for assistance. For example, our research paper outline generator can make this process faster.
  • Write in your mother tongue . If you struggle writing in English , make notes in your native language. It’s also better to research this topic in your mother tongue. You can translate your findings later.
  • Remove redundant points . Revise all the paragraphs of your finished essay template. Make sure that all the sections match the purpose of your paper and reveal the main idea. If you find too many inappropriate points, try rephrasing them to fit the topic.

We hope that our outline generator for research papers helped in your work. If you have any questions left, check out the FAQ section below. Besides we also recommend you take a look at our research guide .

❓ Research Outline Generator – FAQ

  • Writing a Research Paper. – Arrendale Library, Piedmont University
  • How to Write an APA Research Paper – Hamilton College
  • How To Write a Research Paper Outline (With Examples and Tips) – Indeed
  • Chicago Style Guide – Menlo School
  • MLA General Format – The On-Campus Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University
  • Formatting an Academic Paper – Augsburg University
  • Free Essays
  • Writing Tools
  • Lit. Guides
  • Donate a Paper
  • Referencing Guides
  • Free Textbooks
  • Tongue Twisters
  • Job Openings
  • Expert Application
  • Video Contest
  • Writing Scholarship
  • Discount Codes
  • IvyPanda Shop
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookies Policy
  • Copyright Principles
  • DMCA Request
  • Service Notice

Learn everything there is to know about our awesome research paper outline generator. This instrument is guaranteed to save you lots of time and energy by creating the perfect plan for your assignment in seconds. Simply set the parameters and get to writing!


  1. How to Write a College Paper

    outline for research papers

  2. English 12

    outline for research papers

  3. Research Paper Outline Samples & Examples

    outline for research papers

  4. Printable Research Paper Outline Template

    outline for research papers

  5. outline format for a research paper

    outline for research papers

  6. Paper outline

    outline for research papers


  1. How to Write a Research paper

  2. Breakdown of a Research Paper

  3. Research Paper Methodology

  4. Secret To Writing A Research Paper

  5. how to write research paper or thesis step by step?

  6. Common Types of Research Papers for Publication


  1. How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

    A research paper outline is a useful tool to aid in the writing process, providing a structure to follow with all information to be included in the paper clearly organized. A quality outline can make writing your research paper more efficient by helping to: Organize your thoughts Understand the flow of information and how ideas are related

  2. How to Outline

    For research papers, an outline may help you keep track of large amounts of information. For creative writing, an outline may help organize the various plot threads and help keep track of character traits. Many people find that organizing an oral report or presentation in outline form helps them speak more effectively in front of a crowd.

  3. Crafting Research Papers: A Comprehensive Guide and Outline

    Navigate the world of research paper writing with this comprehensive guide and outline. Learn how to structure and write impactful research papers for international journals. Photo by Daria ...

  4. How to write a research paper outline

    A research paper outline typically contains between two and four layers of organization. The first two layers are the most generalized. Each layer thereafter will contain the research you complete and presents more and more detailed information.

  5. PDF Academic Writing

    INTRODUCTION Introduce the topic: discuss its relevance and why people should care. Use citations wherever appropriate. Introduce the research questions that the author (you) seeks to answer. Finish with a transition sentence that guides the reader into the first section. LITERATURE REVIEW

  6. How to Write a Research Paper Outline In 7 Steps

    A research paper outline is a supporting document that lists all the topics to include in a paper in the intended order, usually divided by paragraphs. The typical outline of a research paper also consists of other details like subtopics and evidential sources to help the writer stay organized.

  7. How to Write a Research Paper Outline

    Step-by-Step Research Paper Outline. Most research papers have several layers to their construction. In this section, we'll cover the most basic construction principles. For additional information, talk with colleagues in your field to review their outlines and how they may have built a research paper that you find useful.

  8. How To Write a Research Paper Outline (With Examples and Tips)

    1. Determine the type of essay you'll be writing Research essays for high school are early college are often five paragraphs in length and are either descriptive or argumentative. 2. Determine your topic Many times, instructors provide topics for students. The best topics are those that are of interest to your reader and are arguable.

  9. Making an Outline

    Definition An outline is a formal system used to develop a framework for thinking about what should be the organization and eventual contents of your paper. An outline helps you predict the overall structure and flow of a paper. Why and How to Create a Useful Outline. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University. Importance of...

  10. How to Create a Research Paper Outline (With Template & Examples)

    Abstract Abstract is the most important section of the manuscript and will help the researcher create a detailed research paper outline. To be more precise, an abstract is like an advertisement to the researcher's work and it influences the editor in deciding whether to submit the manuscript to reviewers or not.

  11. Writing a Research Paper Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Introduce your topic. Step 2: Describe the background. Step 3: Establish your research problem. Step 4: Specify your objective (s) Step 5: Map out your paper. Research paper introduction examples. Frequently asked questions about the research paper introduction.

  12. PDF How To: Outlining a Research Paper

    A basic, two-level outline with many of the common elements in a research paper is shown below: Introduction Motivation (Why this work is important) Objectives (Goals of this paper) or Thesis Statement

  13. How to Write an Essay Outline

    A research paper outline makes writing your paper more efficient. It organizes your thoughts and helps shape the flow of information. 834. A step-by-step guide to the writing process The writing process involves researching the topic, planning the structure, drafting the text, revising, editing and proofreading. ...

  14. How To Write An Outline For Your Paper Like A Pro

    The process of preparing a research paper outline can be broken down into four stages: Planning the outline, structuring it, organizing the main ideas, and finalizing. Step One: Planning the Outline. The very first step is to plan the outline, as in prepare your topic and what you are going to write about. Here are more details:

  15. How to Write a Concept Paper in 7 Steps

    Write to your audience. A concept paper is a piece of academic writing, so use a professional tone. Avoid colloquialisms, slang, and other conversational language. Your concept paper should use the same tone and style as your accompanying research paper. Write according to your reader's familiarity with the subject of your concept paper.

  16. How to Craft a Research Paper Outline: Easy Steps & Examples

    Steps for Writing Research Paper Outline. Crafting a research paper outline doesn't have to be difficult. By breaking it down into manageable steps, you can create a helpful that will guide your research till itâ s finished. Here's how to create a research paper outline step-by-step: Step 1: Identify Your Hypothesis & Research Questions

  17. Outline for Research Paper: Detailed Guide

    A research paper outline is a plan written by the author to avoid stucking in the middle of the process. Call it an action plan. This part reveals the primary ideas of the study. Once you are done with the list of research paper topics to explore, it is necessary to dedicate some time to the outline development before you begin writing.

  18. How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper (with Pictures)

    [1] Topic outlines are usually used when your research deals with many different issues that can be arranged in different ways. Sentence outlines are usually used if your research focuses on complex issues. Some instructors will insist that you must not combine these two forms.

  19. 20+ Research Paper Example

    Research Paper Example for Different Levels. The process of writing a research paper is based on a set of steps. The process will seem daunting if you are unaware of the basic steps. Start writing your research paper by taking the following steps: Choose a Topic. Create a thesis statement.

  20. How To Make A Research Paper Outline: 7 Simple Steps To Follow

    Step 1: choose a topic. The first step in writing an outline for a research paper is to choose a topic. Select a subject that interests you and has enough information available on it. Pick a topic that is narrow enough to be manageable but broad enough to explore ideas.

  21. Thesis

    Thesis. Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore ...

  22. STEM Research Paper Outlines: The Ultimate Guide

    When you write your actual research paper, you will also include figures - bar graphs, scatter plots, histograms, etc. - to give readers a way to visually comprehend your data. Whether or not to include those figures in the outline is up to you. Also, note that the Data section contains the "objective" numerical results.

  23. Research Paper Outline: Templates & Examples

    A research paper outline is a skeleton or a guideline for your final paper. It is typically created after the thesis statement is formatted but before the first draft is written. In this process, you group information into appropriate headers, sub-headers, points, and sub-points. It is easier to make changes during the outlining stage rather ...

  24. APA Research Paper Outline: Examples and Template

    The standard APA fromat a research paper outline includes a proper layout from the title page to the final reference pages. There are formatting samples to create outlines before writing a paper. Amongst other strategies, creating an outline is the easiest way to APA format outline template. Is writing essays your hobby?

  25. Free Research Paper Outline Generator

    Our outline generator for research papers speeds up this process in several ways: ⭐ High-quality. The tool is smart enough to create an outline on any topic effortlessly. It provides blueprints you can turn into examples of high-quality academic writing. 🎯 Motivating.