intelligent writing tips for active students

intelligent writing tips for active students

Comprehensive Guide on How to Do a Research Paper Outline

A lot of students believe that using an outline is a waste of time that adds to the difficulty of writing and consumes valuable time. Due to this, a lot of students like freewriting instead of spending time on creating a research paper outline, which allows them to focus more time on writing.

Although this presumption might appear reasonable at first, there are more advantages to writing a research paper outline than disadvantages. Without one, you can find yourself lost in the later phases of writing and wind up spending a lot of time editing your work.

As a result, the college research paper outline is an essential writing tool that aids students in thinking clearly, evaluating the strength of their arguments, and keeping their attention on the primary research questions. Explore the world of online coursework procurement for a smoother academic experience – start by checking out This article will examine the function of an outline, emphasize the outlining procedure, and describe the outline research paper format, assisting you in resolving any potential difficulties that may arise while you write your paper.

What is an outline for a research paper

An outline is a summary of your research paper arguments that highlights the main concept in each paragraph. Thus, the outline is compared to a map because it arranges the arguments made in your paper, assisting you in developing your thesis without straying from it or spending too much time on one idea.

In contrast to typical outlines, a research paper’s outline is divided into several chapters, each of which contains specialized information that builds on the one before it.

How to write a research paper outline

A research paper outline should be founded on sufficient research and given due care because it provides a trajectory for your ideas, ensuring the consistency of your paper’s arguments.

The following are some essential procedures for creating a research paper outline:

  • Topic selection

Before beginning your paper, consider all of the available topics and choose the one that will capture your interest the most. Narrow your topic, if possible, to a single concept while making sure it is relevant to the essay prompt.

  • Conduct research

Once you’ve decided on a topic, take the time to browse through the available sources to analyze the body of knowledge already known about the subject. When doing so, consider the research gaps you want to address and look at several angles from which you could approach the subject.

Make a note of your paper’s main concepts as well as any arguments you plan to use to support the numerous assertions you make in the essay. These arguments will assist you in organizing your efforts, allowing you to effortlessly complete your paper.

  • Grouping ideas

After listing the concepts, you want to include in your paper, arrange them according to how they relate to one another. For a seamless flow of arguments inside your paper, group concepts that are connected under the keyword they are representing and arrange the sections in a hierarchy.

  • Sorting your paper’s sections

Decide what material to include in the opening and finishing chapters after organizing your ideas into the pertinent chapters.

Research paper outline template

Having tackled the steps for outlining your paper, let’s look at the basic outline for a research paper.

APA format outline for research paper

Some of the key rules to have in mind when writing a research paper outline in APA include:

  • Capital letters are used for subheadings in your paper A, B, C
  • Use Arabic numerals i.e., for any headings under subheadings
  • Subheadings under Arabic numeral subheadings should be expressed in numbers



I. Hook

II. Background information

III. Thesis statement

Literature review

I. Introduction

II. Criticism of existing sources

  • Source a
  • Source b
  • Source c


I. Argument 1

  • topic sentence
  • support
  • conclusion

II. Argument 2

  • topic sentence
  • support
  • conclusion

III. Argument 3

  • topic sentence
  • support
  • conclusion


I. Restatement of thesis 

II. Highlight key argument

III. Recommendation

MLA research paper outline

The MLA research paper may follow the decimal format. I.e.,

I. Introduction

  • Hook
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement

II. Literature review

  • Introduction
  • Criticism of existing sources

– source a

– source

– source c

III. Body

  • Argument 1

– topic sentence

– support

– conclusion

  • Argument 2

– topic sentence

– support

– conclusion

  • Argument 3

– topic sentence

– support

– conclusion

IV. Conclusion

  • Restatement of thesis
  • Highlight key argument
  • Recommendation