How to Write a Research Paper
Writing a research paper is a bit more difficult that a standard high school essay. You need to site sources, use academic data and show scientific examples. Before beginning, you’ll need guidelines for how to write a research paper.
Before you begin writing the research paper, you must do your research. It is important that you understand the subject matter, formulate the ideas of your paper, create your thesis statement and learn how to speak about your given topic in an authoritative manner. You’ll be looking through online databases, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, books, newspapers, government publications, reports, guides and scholarly resources. Take notes as you discover new information about your given topic. Also keep track of the references you use so you can build your bibliography later and cite your resources.
Develop Your Thesis Statement
When organizing your research paper, the thesis statement is where you explain to your readers what they can expect, present your claims, answer any questions that you were asked or explain your interpretation of the subject matter you’re researching. Therefore, the thesis statement must be strong and easy to understand. Your thesis statement must also be precise. It should answer the question you were assigned, and there should be an opportunity for your position to be opposed or disputed. The body of your manuscript should support your thesis, and it should be more than a generic fact.
Create an Outline
Many professors require outlines during the research paper writing process. You’ll find that they want outlines set up with a title page, abstract, introduction, research paper body and reference section. The title page is typically made up of the student’s name, the name of the college, the name of the class and the date of the paper. The abstract is a summary of the paper. An introduction typically consists of one or two pages and comments on the subject matter of the research paper. In the body of the research paper, you’ll be breaking it down into materials and methods, results and discussions. Your references are in your bibliography. Use a research paper example to help you with your outline if necessary.
Organize Your Notes
When writing your first draft, you’re going to have to work on organizing your notes first. During this process, you’ll be deciding which references you’ll be putting in your bibliography and which will work best as in-text citations. You’ll be working on this more as you develop your working drafts and look at more white paper examples to help guide you through the process.
Write Your Final Draft
After you’ve written a first and second draft and received corrections from your professor, it’s time to write your final copy. By now, you should have seen an example of a research paper layout and know how to put your paper together. You’ll have your title page, abstract, introduction, thesis statement, in-text citations, footnotes and bibliography complete. Be sure to check with your professor to ensure if you’re writing in APA style, or if you’re using another style guide.
- Terms of Service
- © 2023 Ask Media Group, LLC
Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- Research paper
How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example
Published on August 7, 2022 by Courtney Gahan . Revised on August 15, 2023.
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
- Ensure nothing is forgotten
A research paper outline can also give your teacher an early idea of the final product.
Table of contents
Research paper outline example, how to write a research paper outline, formatting your research paper outline, language in research paper outlines.
- Definition of measles
- Rise in cases in recent years in places the disease was previously eliminated or had very low rates of infection
- Figures: Number of cases per year on average, number in recent years. Relate to immunization
- Symptoms and timeframes of disease
- Risk of fatality, including statistics
- How measles is spread
- Immunization procedures in different regions
- Different regions, focusing on the arguments from those against immunization
- Immunization figures in affected regions
- High number of cases in non-immunizing regions
- Illnesses that can result from measles virus
- Fatal cases of other illnesses after patient contracted measles
- Summary of arguments of different groups
- Summary of figures and relationship with recent immunization debate
- Which side of the argument appears to be correct?
A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper
Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!
Proofread my paper
Follow these steps to start your research paper outline:
- Decide on the subject of the paper
- Write down all the ideas you want to include or discuss
- Organize related ideas into sub-groups
- Arrange your ideas into a hierarchy: What should the reader learn first? What is most important? Which idea will help end your paper most effectively?
- Create headings and subheadings that are effective
- Format the outline in either alphanumeric, full-sentence or decimal format
There are three different kinds of research paper outline: alphanumeric, full-sentence and decimal outlines. The differences relate to formatting and style of writing.
An alphanumeric outline is most commonly used. It uses Roman numerals, capitalized letters, arabic numerals, lowercase letters to organize the flow of information. Text is written with short notes rather than full sentences.
- Sub-point of sub-point 1
Essentially the same as the alphanumeric outline, but with the text written in full sentences rather than short points.
- Additional sub-point to conclude discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A
A decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline, but with a different numbering system: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc. Text is written as short notes rather than full sentences.
- 1.1.1 Sub-point of first point
- 1.1.2 Sub-point of first point
- 1.2 Second point
To write an effective research paper outline, it is important to pay attention to language. This is especially important if it is one you will show to your teacher or be assessed on.
There are four main considerations: parallelism, coordination, subordination and division.
Parallelism: Be consistent with grammatical form
Parallel structure or parallelism is the repetition of a particular grammatical form within a sentence, or in this case, between points and sub-points. This simply means that if the first point is a verb , the sub-point should also be a verb.
Example of parallelism:
- Include different regions, focusing on the different arguments from those against immunization
Coordination: Be aware of each point’s weight
Your chosen subheadings should hold the same significance as each other, as should all first sub-points, secondary sub-points, and so on.
Example of coordination:
- Include immunization figures in affected regions
- Illnesses that can result from the measles virus
Subordination: Work from general to specific
Subordination refers to the separation of general points from specific. Your main headings should be quite general, and each level of sub-point should become more specific.
Example of subordination:
Division: break information into sub-points.
Your headings should be divided into two or more subsections. There is no limit to how many subsections you can include under each heading, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during the writing stage, so you should not go overboard with the number of sub-points.
Ready to start writing or looking for guidance on a different step in the process? Read our step-by-step guide on how to write a research paper .
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.
Gahan, C. (2023, August 15). How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline | Example. Scribbr. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/outline/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, research paper format | apa, mla, & chicago templates, writing a research paper introduction | step-by-step guide, writing a research paper conclusion | step-by-step guide, what is your plagiarism score.
How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide: 4b. Outline the Paper
- Get Started
- 1a. Select a Topic
- 1b. Develop Research Questions
- 1c. Identify Keywords
- 1d. Find Background Information
- 1e. Refine a Topic
- 2a. Search Strategies
- 2d. Articles
- 2e. Videos & Images
- 2f. Databases
- 2g. Websites
- 2h. Grey Literature
- 2i. Open Access Materials
- 3a. Evaluate Sources
- 3b. Primary vs. Secondary
- 3c. Types of Periodicals
- 4a. Take Notes
- 4b. Outline the Paper
- 4c. Incorporate Source Material
- 5a. Avoid Plagiarism
- 5b. Zotero & MyBib
- 5c. MLA Formatting
- 5d. MLA Citation Examples
- 5e. APA Formatting
- 5f. APA Citation Examples
- 5g. Annotated Bibliographies
For research papers, a formal outline can help you keep track of large amounts of information.
Thesis: Federal regulations need to foster laws that will help protect wetlands, restore those that have been destroyed, and take measures to improve the damange from overdevelopment.
I. Nature's ecosystem
A. Loss of wetlands nationally
B. Loss of wetlands in Illinois
1. More flooding and poorer water quality
2. Lost ability to prevent floods, clean water and store water
II. Dramatic floods
A, Cost in dollars and lives
1. 13 deaths between 1988 and 1998
2. Cost of $39 million per year
B. Great Midwestern Flood of 1993
1. Lost wetlands in IL
2. Devastation in some states
C. Flood Prevention
1. Plants and Soils
2. Floodplain overflow
III. Wetland laws
A. Inadequately informed legislators
2. Interconnections in natural water systems
B. Water purification
IV. Need to save wetlands
A. New federal definition
B. Re-education about interconnectedness
1. Ecology at every grade level
2. Education for politicians and developers
3. Choices in schools and people's lives
Example taken from The Bedford Guide for College Writers (9th ed).
How to Create an Outline
To create an outline:
- Place your thesis statement at the beginning.
- List the major points that support your thesis. Label them in Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.).
- List supporting ideas or arguments for each major point. Label them in capital letters (A, B, C, etc.).
- If applicable, continue to sub-divide each supporting idea until your outline is fully developed. Label them 1, 2, 3, etc., and then a, b, c, etc.
NOTE: EasyBib has a function that will help you create a clear and effective outline.
How to Structure an Outline
- << Previous: 4a. Take Notes
- Next: 4c. Incorporate Source Material >>
- Last Updated: Sep 28, 2023 1:09 PM
- URL: https://libguides.elmira.edu/research
- Write Paper
- Social Anxiety
- Research Paper >
Research Paper Outline Examples
Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper.
This article is a part of the guide:
- Example of a Paper
- Write a Hypothesis
- Example of a Paper 2
Browse Full Outline
- 1 Write a Research Paper
- 2 Writing a Paper
- 3.1 Write an Outline
- 3.2 Outline Examples
- 4.1 Thesis Statement
- 4.2 Write a Hypothesis
- 5.2 Abstract
- 5.3 Introduction
- 5.4 Methods
- 5.5 Results
- 5.6 Discussion
- 5.7 Conclusion
- 5.8 Bibliography
- 6.1 Table of Contents
- 6.2 Acknowledgements
- 6.3 Appendix
- 7.1 In Text Citations
- 7.2 Footnotes
- 7.3.1 Floating Blocks
- 7.4 Example of a Paper
- 7.5 Example of a Paper 2
- 7.6.1 Citations
- 7.7.1 Writing Style
- 7.7.2 Citations
- 8.1.1 Sham Peer Review
- 8.1.2 Advantages
- 8.1.3 Disadvantages
- 8.2 Publication Bias
- 8.3.1 Journal Rejection
- 9.1 Article Writing
- 9.2 Ideas for Topics
Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper or what you will be including in your discussion . The broader your topic is, the more difficult it is to discuss the full details. This is why you should establish early on the scope and limitations of your paper which will provide the foundation for your research paper outline.
Basically, your outline will constitute three main sections: the Introduction, the Body and the Conclusion. But to make sure your paper is complete, consult your instructor for specific parts they wants to be included in your research paper . Sample outlines for research papers will follow. But first, let’s discuss the main sections of your paper and what information each should cover.
The introduction should contain your thesis statement or the topic of your research as well as the purpose of your study. You may include here the reason why you chose that particular topic or simply the significance of your research paper's topic. You may also state what type of approach it is that you'll be using in your paper for the entire discussion of your topic. Generally, your Introduction should orient your readers to the major points the rest of the paper will be covering, and how.
The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Remember the “Rule of 3” which states that you should find 3 supporting arguments for each position you take. Start with a strong argument, followed by a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument as your final point.
The conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments so you can arrive at your final position. Explain and reiterate why you've ended up with the said conclusion.
As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:
Thesis Topic: A Study on Factors Affecting the Infant Feeding Practices of Mothers in Las Pinas City
- Statement of the Problem
- Definition of Terms
- Theoretical Framework
- Type of Research
- Review of Related Literature
- Scope and Limitations
- Significance of the Study
- Benefits of Breastfeeding
- WHO Recommendations
- The International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes
- The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
- The Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding
- National Situationer
- The Milk Code
- BFHI in the Philippines
- Milk Code Violations
- Formula Feeding
- Factors Influencing the Decision Regarding Infant Feeding Method
- Area Situationer
- Socio-economic Demographic Profile of Mothers
- Information Regarding Current (Youngest) Infant
- Exclusive Breastfeeding
- Mixed Feeding
- Previous Infant Feeding Practices
- Maternal Knowledge
- Correlation Tests
- Analytical Summary
- Thesis Reworded
Topic: Asbestos Poisoning
- Definition of Asbestos Poisoning
- Symptoms of Asbestos Poisoning
- Effects of Asbestos Poisoning
- How to Deal with Asbestos Hazards
Topic: Shakespeare Adapted from AResearchGuide.com .
- Life of Anne Hathaway
- Reference in Shakespeare's Poems
- Romeo and Juliet
- The Tempest
- Much Ado About Nothing
- Richard III
- Other Poems
- Last Two Plays
- Concluding Statement
- Psychology 101
- Flags and Countries
- Capitals and Countries
Explorable.com (Jan 6, 2009). Research Paper Outline Examples. Retrieved Nov 16, 2023 from Explorable.com: https://explorable.com/research-paper-outline-examples
You Are Allowed To Copy The Text
The text in this article is licensed under the Creative Commons-License Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) .
This means you're free to copy, share and adapt any parts (or all) of the text in the article, as long as you give appropriate credit and provide a link/reference to this page.
That is it. You don't need our permission to copy the article; just include a link/reference back to this page. You can use it freely (with some kind of link), and we're also okay with people reprinting in publications like books, blogs, newsletters, course-material, papers, wikipedia and presentations (with clear attribution).
Want to stay up to date follow us, check out the official book.
Learn how to construct, style and format an Academic paper and take your skills to the next level.
(also available as ebook )
Save this course for later
Don't have time for it all now? No problem, save it as a course and come back to it later.
- Subscribe to our RSS Feed
- Like us on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter
- Oskar Blakstad Blog
- Oskar Blakstad on Twitter
How Can You Create a Well Planned Research Paper Outline
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
Downloadable format shared which is great. 🙂
Rate this article Cancel Reply
Your email address will not be published.
Enago Academy's Most Popular
- Promoting Research
Concept Papers in Research: Deciphering the blueprint of brilliance
Concept papers hold significant importance as a precursor to a full-fledged research proposal in academia…
- Reporting Research
8 Effective Strategies to Write Argumentative Essays
In a bustling university town, there lived a student named Alex. Popular for creativity and…
- Language & Grammar
Language as a Bridge, Not a Barrier: ESL researchers’ path to successful research and publishing
The landscape of academic research has witnessed a remarkable shift in recent years with the…
- AI in Academia
Disclosing the Use of Generative AI: Best practices for authors in manuscript preparation
The rapid proliferation of generative and other AI-based tools in research writing has ignited an…
- 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…
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!
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:
What support would you need for successful conference participation?
- Affiliate Program
- UNITED STATES
- 台灣 (TAIWAN)
- TÜRKIYE (TURKEY)
- Academic Editing Services
- - Research Paper
- - Journal Manuscript
- - Dissertation
- - College & University Assignments
- Admissions Editing Services
- - Application Essay
- - Personal Statement
- - Recommendation Letter
- - Cover Letter
- - CV/Resume
- Business Editing Services
- - Business Documents
- - Report & Brochure
- - Website & Blog
- Writer Editing Services
- - Script & Screenplay
- Our Editors
- Client Reviews
- Editing & Proofreading Prices
- Wordvice Points
- Partner Discount
- Plagiarism Checker
- APA Citation Generator
- MLA Citation Generator
- Chicago Citation Generator
- Vancouver Citation Generator
- - APA Style
- - MLA Style
- - Chicago Style
- - Vancouver Style
- Writing & Editing Guide
- Academic Resources
- Admissions Resources
How to Write a Research Paper Outline with Examples
You sometimes have to submit an essay outline or a research proposal checklist for a research project before you do most of the actual research to show that you have understood the assignment, defined a good research question or hypothesis, and contemplated the structure of your research paper. You can find various templates and examples for such outlines, which usually begin with “put your thesis statement/research question at the top” and then ask you to decide whether to add your supporting ideas/points in “alphanumeric,” “decimal,” or “full-sentence” style.
That is certainly one useful (if not overly formalized) way of using outlining to prepare to draft an academic text. But here we want to talk about how to make an outline after you have done a research project or thesis work and are not quite sure how to put everything together into a written thesis to hand in or a research paper manuscript to submit to a journal.
What is a research paper outline?
Creating a research project outline entails more than just listing bullet points (although you can use bullet points and lists in your outline). It includes how to organize everything you have done and thought about and want to say about your work into a clear structure you can use as the basis for your research paper.
There are two different methods of creating an outline: let’s call these “abstract style” and “paper style.” These names reflect how briefly you summarize your work at this initial point, or show how extensive and complicated the methods and designs you used and the data you collected are. The type of outline you use also depends on how clear the story you want to tell is and how much organizing and structuring of information you still need to do before you can draft your actual paper.
Table of Contents:
- Abstract-Style Outline Format
- Paper-Style Outline Format
Additional Tips for Outlining a Research Paper in English
Abstract-style research paper outline format.
A research paper outline in abstract style consists, like the abstract of a research paper , of short answers to the essential questions that anyone trying to understand your work would ask.
- Why did you decide to do what you did?
- What exactly did you do?
- How did you do it?
- What did you find?
- What does it mean?
- What should you/we/someone else do now?
These questions form the structure of not only a typical research paper abstract but also a typical article manuscript. They will eventually be omitted and replaced by the usual headers, such as Introduction/Background, Aim, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, etc. Answering these key questions for yourself first (with keywords or short sentences) and then sticking to the same structure and information when drafting your article will ensure that your story is consistent and that there are no logical gaps or contradictions between the different sections of a research paper .
If you draft this abstract outline carefully, you can use it as the basis for every other part of your paper. You reduce it even more, down to the absolute essential elements, to create your manuscript title ; you choose your keywords on the basis of the summary presented here; and you expand it into the introduction , methods , results , and discussion sections of your paper without contradicting yourself or losing the logical thread.
Research Paper Outline Example (Abstract style)
Let’s say you did a research project on the effect of university online classes on attendance rates and create a simple outline example using these six questions:
1. Why did you decide to do what you did?
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many university courses around the world have been moved online, at least temporarily. Since students have been saving time on commuting, I wondered if attendance rates have increased overall.
2. What exactly did you do?
I compared attendance scores for courses that were taught both before (offline) and during (online) the COVID-19 pandemic at my university.
3. How did you do it?
I selected five popular subjects (business, law, medicine, psychology, art & design) and one general course per subject; then I contacted the professors in charge and asked them to provide me with anonymized attendance scores.
4. What did you find?
Attendance did not significantly change for medicine and law, but slightly dropped for the other three subjects. I found no difference between male and female students.
5. What does it mean?
Even though students saved time on traveling between their homes and the campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, they did not attend classes more consistently; in some subjects, they missed more classes than before.
6. What should you/we/someone else do now?
Since I do not have any other information about the students, I can only speculate on potential explanations. Next, I will put together a questionnaire to assess how students have been coping with online classes and how the experiences from this time can benefit university teaching and learning in general.
Note that you could have made the same outline using just keywords instead of full sentences. You could also have added more methodological details or the results of your statistical analysis. However, when you can break everything down to the absolute essentials like this, you will have a good foundation upon which to develop a full paper.
However, maybe your study just seems too complicated. So you look at these questions and then at your notes and data and have no idea how to come up with such simple answers. Or maybe things went in a completely different direction since you started writing your paper, so now you are no longer sure what the main point of your experiments was and what the main conclusion should be. If that is how you feel right now, then outlining your paper in “paper style” might be the right method for you.
Paper-Style Research Paper Outline Format
The purpose of a paper-style outline is the same as that of an abstract-style outline: You want to organize your initial thoughts and plans, the methods and tools you used, all the experiments you conducted, the data you collected and analyzed, as well as your results, into a clear structure so that you can identify the main storyline for your paper and the main conclusions that you want the reader to take from it.
First, take as much space as you need and simply jot down everything in your study you planned to do, everything you did, and everything you thought about based on your notes, lab book, and earlier literature you read or used. Such an outline can contain all your initial ideas, the timeline of all your pilots and all your experiments, the reasons why you changed direction or designed new experiments halfway through your study, all the analyses you ever did, all the feedback and criticism you already got from supervisors and seniors or during conference presentations, and all the ideas you have for future work. If this is your thesis or your first publication, then your first outline might look quite messy – and that is exactly why you need to structure your paper before trying to write everything up.
So you have finally remembered all you have done in your study and have written everything down. The next step is to realize that you cannot throw all of this at the reader and expect them to put it together. You will have to create a story that is clear and consistent, contains all the essential information (and leaves out any that is not), and leads the reader the same way the abstract outline does, from why over what and how to what you found and what it all means .
This does not mean you should suppress results that did not come out as intended or try to make your study look smoother. But the reader does not really need to know all the details about why you changed your research question after your initial literature search or some failed pilots. Instead of writing down the simple questions we used for the abstract outline, to organize your still messy notes, write down the main sections of the manuscript you are trying to put together. Additionally, include what kinds of information needs to go where in your paper’s structure.
1. Introduction Section:
What field is your research part of?
What other papers did you read before deciding on your topic?
Who is your target audience and how much information do your readers need to understand where you are coming from?
Can you summarize what you did in two sentences?
Did you have a clear hypothesis? If not, what were the potential outcomes of your work?
2. Methods Section:
List all the methods, questionnaires, and tests you used.
Are your methods all standard in the field or do you need to explain them?
List everything chronologically or according to topics, whatever makes more sense. Read more about writing the Methods section if you need help with this important decision.
3. Results Section:
Use the same timeline or topics you introduced in the method section.
Make sure you answer all the questions you raised in the introduction.
Use tables, graphs, and other visualizations to guide the reader.
Don’t present results of tests/analyses that you did not mention in the methods.
4. Discussion/Conclusion Section:
Summarize quickly what you did and found but don’t repeat your results.
Explain whether your findings were to be expected, are new and surprising, are in line with the existing literature, or are contradicting some earlier work.
Do you think your findings can be generalized? Can they be useful for people in certain professions or other fields?
Does your study have limitations? What would you do differently next time?
What future research do you think should be done based on your findings?
5. Conclusion Statement/Paragraph:
This is your take-home message for the reader. Make sure that your conclusion is directly related to your initial research question.
Now you can simply reorganize your notes (if you use computer software) or fill in the different sections and cross out information on your original list. When you have used all your jotted notes, go through your new outline and check what is still missing. Now check once more that your conclusion is related to your initial research question. If that is the case, you are good to go. You can now either break your outline down further and shorten it into an abstract, or you can expand the different outline sections into a full article.
If you are a non-native speaker of English, then you might take notes in your mother language or maybe in different languages, read literature in your mother language, and generally not think in English while doing your research. If your goal is to write your thesis or paper in English, however, then our advice is to only use your mother language when listing keywords at the very beginning of the outlining process (if at all). As soon as you write down full sentences that you want to go into your paper eventually, you can save yourself a lot of work, avoid mistakes later in the process, and train your brain (which will help you immensely the next time you write an academic text), if you stick to English.
Another thing to keep in mind is that starting to write in full sentences too early in the process means that you might need to omit some passages (maybe even entire paragraphs) when you later decide to change the structure or storyline of your paper. Depending on how much you enjoy (or hate) writing in English and how much effort it costs you, having to throw away a perfectly fine paragraph that you invested a lot of time in can be incredibly frustrating. Our advice is therefore to not spend too much time on writing and to not get too attached to exact wording before you have a solid outline that you then only need to fill in and expand into a full paper.
Once you have finished drafting your paper, consider using professional proofreading and English editing service to revise your paper and prepare it for submission to journals. Wordvice offers a paper editing service , manuscript editing service , dissertation editing service , and thesis editing service to polish and edit your research work and correct any errors in style or formatting.
And while you draft your article, make use of Wordvice AI, a free grammar checker that identifies and fixes errors in punctuation, spelling, and grammar in any academic document.
How to Make an Outline for Research Paper: Detailed Guide
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.
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 buy research papers fill out the form and let the writing process begin.
Need Help With RESEARCH PAPER OUTLINE?
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
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.
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.
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.
Canvas | University | Ask
- Library Homepage
- Arrendale Library
Writing a Research Paper
Creating an outline.
- About This Guide
- Types of Research Papers
- Choosing a Topic
- Writing a Thesis Statement
- Gathering Research
- Journals and Magazines This link opens in a new window
Example of an Outline
- Writing Your Paper
- Citing Resources
- Academic Integrity This link opens in a new window
- Contact Us!
Call us at 706-776-0111
Chat with a Librarian
Send Us Email
The creation of an outline is an invaluable tool in the process of writing a research paper. It will give structure to the fledgling paper and allow you to better imagine what you will need to write. Breaking the paper down into small sections also makes the process of writing far less overwhelming.
After choosing an appropriate topic and writing a thesis statement, you will need to brainstorm to get ideas on how to best support your thesis. The length of your paper will determine the level of detail you should pursue in your supporting content. When you have honed the results of your brainstorming down to a suitable number of subtopics, you can arrange them in the order you feel would be most effective in arguing your thesis statement.
A. Introductory Statement
B. Thesis Statement
A. First Subtopic
a. supporting evidence
B. Second Subtopic
C. Third Subtopic
A Restatement of Thesis
B. Compelling Conclusion
- << Previous: Journals and Magazines
- Next: Writing Your Paper >>
- Last Updated: Jul 12, 2023 9:03 AM
- URL: https://library.piedmont.edu/research_paper
- Ebooks & Online Video
- New Materials
- Renew Checkouts
- Faculty Resources
- Friends of the Library
- Library Services
- Request Books from Demorest
- Our Mission
- Library History
- Ask a Librarian!
- Making Citations
- Working Online
Arrendale Library Piedmont University 706-776-0111