By: Caleb S.
10 min read
Reviewed By: Rylee W.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank page, wondering where to even begin with a research paper? You're not alone.
Research paper writing can be a distressing task, even for the most experienced writers. But what if I told you that there's a secret weapon that can make the process much easier?
You heard that right and we are here to provide just that!
In this blog, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of creating an outline with examples. It will help you stay focused, organized, and motivated throughout the research paper writing process.
So grab a cup of coffee and jump into this informational blog.
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A research paper outline is a plan or a roadmap that helps organize the content of a research paper before you start writing it. It's a preliminary framework that breaks down the main topics, subtopics, and supporting details of the paper.
In simple terms, a research paper outline is a plan of action for the paper.
Here are some benefits of creating a well-organized outline:
Discover the ultimate guide on research paper writing by clicking on this link!
The following are the steps involved in writing a research paper outline.
1. Title Page
The title page is written within 60 characters and must include the below key points:
The abstract comprises a brief summary of the paper in about 150 to 200 words. This section comes after the title page and focuses on the following elements:
3. Table of Contents
The table of contents summarizes the sections of a paper in an organized manner. It also includes headings and subheadings so that the readers can go directly to a particular section within the paper.
4. Research Paper Introduction
The introduction is an important part of a research paper. It must present a topic, answer questions raised by that subject matter, and explain its importance to an audience. To do this successfully, it should use strong arguments to grab readers’ attention.
Here are the main elements that should be included in an introduction paragraph.
5. Research Paper Body
It is the main section of a paper consisting of three to five body paragraphs. Each paragraph includes relevant details, evidence, and examples to support the arguments.
Also, provide opposing facts and counterarguments for the readers to understand the topic. Ensure the research paper has a consistent tone, style, and citation format from the beginning to the end.
6. Literature Review
This section typically mentions the literature that a writer has used to support the hypothesis and theories. Demonstrate how it helped you conduct research, find relevant data, and develop your own evidence-based arguments for a paper. Also, identify the research gaps in the existing literature.
This section will present the techniques and methods that you have employed to carry out the research work. However, keep in mind, these methods can vary according to the subject area.
This section focuses on the findings of the paper. Thus, make sure to add enough facts, figures, and statistics to justify the argument. You can also use graphs and tables to be more structured. Lastly, inform the audience how the outcomes have contributed to the field.
The discussion section mainly discusses whether or not the writer has achieved the expected results.
10. Research Paper Conclusion
It is the final section that summarizes the major arguments discussed in the paper. Similarly, it restates the thesis statements, objectives, and methods used to achieve the results.
Keep in mind; the conclusion should not be longer than the abstract. Thus, just provide a brief overview, formulate future research prospects, and present a call to action.
11. Bibliography & Appendix
Lastly, mention all the sources you have used in your paper and add references in the bibliography section. Also, add facts, images, tables, and charts in the Appendix section.
For further guidance, watch this video on how to write an outline for your research paper.
Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of starting your research paper? Read this blog to find out how to start a research paper.
Research papers can be organized utilizing three different types of outlines: alphanumeric, full-sentence, and decimal.
Let's take a look at each of these outline research paper formats in detail.
An alphanumeric outline is a structured list of the main ideas and subpoints of a research paper. It is organized using a combination of numbers and letters to indicate the hierarchy of ideas.
A full-sentence outline is a more detailed version of the alphanumeric outline. It includes full sentences for each main point and subpoint, providing a more complete and organized overview of the research paper.
A decimal outline is similar to the alphanumeric outline, but it uses a decimal system to indicate the hierarchy of ideas. It is less commonly used than the alphanumeric or full-sentence outline.
There are several research paper writing styles, each with its own guidelines and conventions. We will go through some of the most common research paper writing styles:
This style is commonly used in social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and education. APA format requires in-text citations and a reference list and has specific formatting requirements for headings, margins, and fonts.
Have a look at the below-given APA research paper outline template to understand better.
This style is commonly used in humanities, including literature, languages, and cultural studies. MLA style requires in-text citations and works cited page and have specific formatting requirements for headings, margins, and fonts.
Here is an MLA outline template to get you inspired.
This style is commonly used in history, art history, and some social sciences. Chicago style allows for two different citation systems: the notes-bibliography system and the author-date system. It also has specific formatting requirements for footnotes, headings, and margins.
This style is commonly used in engineering, computer science, and other technical fields. IEEE style requires in-text citations and bibliography and has specific formatting requirements for headings, margins, and fonts.
This style is similar to the APA style and is commonly used in business, law, and social sciences. Harvard style requires in-text citations and a reference list and has specific formatting requirements for headings, margins, and fonts.
Interested in broadening your knowledge about different citation styles? If so, be sure to read through this informative blog post!
Language is an essential component in creating research paper outlines. Here are some key ways in which language can be used to create effective research paper outlines:
Looking for research paper topics? Follow the link to discover a vast selection of inspiring sample topics!
Here's a sample outline for a research paper on the topic of climate change:
II. CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
1. Solar Radiation
B. Human Causes
1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
III. IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
A. Environmental Impacts
1. Rising Sea Levels
B. Social Impacts
1. Health Impacts
IV. MITIGATION OF CLIMATE CHANGE
A. Policy Interventions
1. International Agreements
B. Technological Solutions
1. Renewable Energy Sources
V. Adaptation to Climate Change
1. Early Warning Systems
B. Community-Based Adaptation
1. Participatory Approaches
Take a look at the PDF examples below to gain more insight into the college research paper outline. We have provided you with a template for your convenience!
Here are five mistakes you should avoid when writing a research paper outline:
To wrap it up, this detailed guide will help you develop an outline for your research paper in no time. However, if you lack good writing skills, it is better to seek professional help. This is where our essay writing service comes in.
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The five parts of a research paper are as follows:
1. Title Page
5. Results and Discussion
An outline is a well-balanced composition that applies the concepts of:
1. Parallelism: The structure of an outline should use the same level of headings for similar items or topics.
2. Coordination: An outline should contain headings and subheadings that show the relationship between various aspects of a topic.
3. Subordination: An outline organizes information in a hierarchical structure, with main topics at the top and subtopics beneath them.
4. Division: An outline should divide a topic into sections or subsections so that its parts can be easily understood and discussed.
Helping students achieve their academic dreams is what brings Caleb S. the most fulfillment. With his Master's degree from Oxford University, Caleb has plenty of experience with writing that he can utilize to benefit those who seek his help. Prioritizing his client's needs, he always goes above and beyond to provide top-notch service.
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