Research Paper Outline – A Complete Guide & Format

Research Paper Outline – A Complete Guide & Format

Are you struggling to create an outline for a research paper?

Quest for some guidance?

Keep on reading this blog to get more information about the steps involved in making a strong research paper outline.

1. What is a Research Paper?

A research paper is a kind of academic writing that is based on any original research carried out by an author on a particular topic. It also presents the analysis and findings of your work.

It is better to choose a topic that may interest you as it will determine the amount of effort you put into your research work. Avoid selecting too technical or specialized topics. Similarly, try to focus on a limited aspect but don't select subjects that have a very narrow range of source materials.

A research paper can be a term paper, a thesis, or a postgraduate dissertation. Creating a strong outline is the first step of writing a research paper. It gives a proper structure to your writing.

2. What is a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline is a roadmap for your future research. The primary purpose of creating a detailed outline is to demonstrate your understanding of the research topic. Moreover, cohesively organizing your thoughts further helps you to avoid any mistakes while writing a paper.

Apart from this, a strong outline is a base of a good research paper that will guide you through the whole process. Furthermore, it also helps you to stay focused.

Similarly, whether you are writing an essay outline or a dissertation, the process of structuring an outline is the same. However, it may seem quite a complicated task. In such a case, you can always rely on an online writing service.

3. How to Write a Research Paper Outline?

All types of writing tasks, such as essay writing or any other academic assignment, involve excellent writing and research skills. Researching assist in completing half of the work while the other half is about how you present those facts and material.

It, though, gave rise to a critical question as to how to write a perfect research paper outline. Looking for help? Don't worry; we are here for you. Being a top writing assistance company, we know exactly what bothers you.

Therefore, we provide the best professional services to get you higher grades.

Writing a successful research paper requires to follow a very specific and detailed outline. Below mentioned are some essential sections to include in your research paper outline. Make sure not to miss any of these while working on your paper. Also, use roman numerals for the sub-sections.

3.1 Title Page

The front page of your research paper is the title page. It contains all vital information about your work, including the author's name, institution's name, publisher, and the title of your paper.

It is usually formatted in APA style. Although, you may also include other techniques such as MLA or Chicago as per your supervisor's demand. Moreover, all the details should be in a centralized form with 12 pt. Times New Roman format.

Failure to include a title page can give a negative impression to the reader. It may also cause you to lose marks. Therefore, don't forget to skip this part that offers a complete glance at your work.

3.2 Abstract

An abstract is a brief executive summary of your research paper. It explains the main idea regarding the topic, methodology, participants, and the outcomes in the shortest possible way. A solid abstract connects the background information with the main research topic.

Furthermore, this section comes right after the title page and consists of one paragraph of about 150 to 200 words.

3.3 Introduction

It is the central part of your research paper that presents the topic and problem statement. It also includes the definition of the main terms used in work.

A strong introduction is key to an impressive research paper. It is like a hook that catches the reader's attention. Therefore, a writer should not forget to mention the below questions in an introductory part.

  1. Why you chose this research topic?
  2. What is your primary research question?
  3. How will you conduct the research work?

3.4 Thesis Statement

This section comes after the introduction and identifies the true essence of your research paper. The following are some important characteristics of a thesis statement.

  • Should be specific and brief.
  • Presents the hypothesis clearly.
  • Gives a detailed idea of the research question.
  • Summarize the main findings.
  • Should be supported by scientific evidence.

3.5 Literature Review

A literature review is the primary requirement of any thesis or research paper. It is a collection of academic sources relevant to your research work. Moreover, this part provides a comprehensive overview of the work done and by whom.

By keeping in mind, the following aspects can help you to write a strong literature review:

  • The first part is to identify the main objective of your research paper. It helps you keep focused and to the point.
  • Review the existing literature and include all the recent publications related to your field of research.
  • Summarize the literature by showing relevance to your thesis argument.
  • Critically analyze the data by identifying the research gaps.
  • Discuss your future contributions that will expand the subject area.
  • Make sure to include proper citation of the sources.

3.6 Significance of the Research

The significance of the research is an essential point while writing an outline. It discusses the major points regarding how this research is necessary? How will it contribute to expanding the subject area? Who will benefit from this? And what were the shortcomings of the existing literature?

Overall it tells the reader about the importance of your research along with its potential benefits.

3.7 Research Methodology

The methodology will give an organized plan for the research. It is a process that identifies all the approaches you will use to collect your data. Moreover, it may include both the primary and secondary methods such as online publications, interviews, surveys, observation, etc. Select a methodology and explain why and how it helps to achieve the research goals.

3.8 Limitations of the Research

The limitations are the flaws and shortcomings that you faced during your research process. It could be the unavailability of relevant data, time constraints, limited sample size, or lack of financial resources. Hence, mentioning your research study limitations represents honesty and transparency. It also demonstrates that you have a detailed understanding of the subject.

3.9 Findings and Analysis

This section presents the most influential arguments of your research and their findings. Try to be more precise and structured during the interpretation of your results. Tell the audience about the outcomes and your contribution to the subject area by using tables and graphs. Also, mention the drawbacks and advantages of the work, if any.

3.10. Conclusion

The conclusion is the final part of your research work. It summarizes the entire work by mentioning the main points and presents the research findings. Furthermore, it should formulate the prospects for future research. However, do not add any new information that gives a place for an open discussion on new ideas.

Lastly, support your thesis statement and indicate if your research findings were based on your hypothesis. It will have a strong impact on the reader's mind.

3.11 Referencing

It is the most important section to include, without which your research work is incomplete. It acknowledges all the sources that you have used. Make sure to add every work that you have included in your paper. Personal communications, online sources, or observations also need to be referenced.

Proper citation of the sources should be done to avoid any plagiarism. Moreover, different referencing styles such as APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard are used.

4. Research Paper Outline Template

We have also added some samples for the research paper outline format to help you understand better.

Scientific MLA Research Paper Outline (PDF)

5. How Can We Help?

The process mentioned above made it quite clear to write an effective research paper outline. However, it may seem to be a challenging task for some people. In case you need any help with your research papers, we are here for you.

FreeEssayWriter is one of the top ranked online academic writing services. Our expert writers can help you get better academic grades at affordable rates. Moreover, our experienced writers produce 100% original and plagiarism free content.

Contact our customer support team now to place your order.


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