Essay Writing Resources cover image Essay Writing Resources cover image

Essay Writing with EssayPro

Research Paper Outline. A Guide to How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

Research Paper Outline. A Guide to How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper

Can you imagine cooking your favorite meal for the first time without having step-by-step instructions? It is easy to get lost! Just like a wanderer who cannot find a way out of the woods, a writer needs to know how to write an outline for a research paper. It will prevent one from facing writer’s block. In this article, we are going to discuss what does an outline look like, what's it concept and goals and view some vivid examples.

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 writing service.


Table of Contents


Concept & Goals of a Research Paper Outline

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 a writer is done with the list of research paper topics to explore, it is necessary to dedicate some time to the outline development.

What is the difference between learning how to write a research paper outline and how to make a table of contents? 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.

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.

advice from essaypro writer

Expert`s Advice, from EssayPro

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
  • Literature
  • 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, 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).

Use a couple of tips from college professors.

  1. Depending on the tool a writer uses to create documents, he/she should make sure if the different levels of the outline (II, B, 3, c, j) correspond to the headings in the Microsoft Word as most professors accept only DOC & DOCS format.

  2. MLA changes its writing guide! Before developing an outline for a research paper, read a recently released version of the manual to see if there are any changes to this resaerch paper format.

MLA Research Paper 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 research 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:

  • Psychology
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities
  • Healthcare & nursing
  • Education

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.

APA Research Paper Outline

Let’s view that structure in details.

A Detailed Outline: Critical Elements to Consider

Title/Cover Page

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

Abstract

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.

Introduction

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.

Methodology

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.

Results & Discussion (R&D)

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.

Conclusion

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
  • References

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.

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.


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 online paper writing service - one of the leading websites in the field of academic writing & editing. Fill out the order form: Write My Paper For Me, to let the writing process begin.

Essay Writing Prices

Read more about the services supplied by our essay writers.


Writing $8 - $12/page

Rewriting $7 - $10/page

Editing $5 - $7/page

General Writing Guides

Types of Essays

High-level Academic Writing

College Admission Writing

Formatting Styles

Custom Writing

Other Articles

Huge 33% Discount On All Services

The more pages you order - the bigger the discount you get

10% 15% 20% 25% 33%
2
pages
3
pages
4
pages
5
pages
6
from
pages