Every student comes to the point of writing a research paper outline. This is not the most difficult task you are going to face in your life, but it certainly will be important for your grades at the moment it is assigned.
It is important not for academic performance only. Such assignments teach how to analyze facts, search for evidence, and evaluate different points of view. These skills are significant in the present-day environment with information overdose. Learning how to write an outline for a research paper is the first step to becoming literate and resistant to fake news.
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Definition Of A Research Paper Outline
Research papers are works based on students’ original investigations. It is significant to focus on a specific topic, not some general issues. You do not just write a paper on Biology; it should be devoted to a particular organism, disease, historical period, location, etc.
So here is how it all happens. You choose or get an assigned topic. Then, you find relevant sources to learn more about the subject. After analysis of the scope of literature, you come up with personal interpretations, maybe even with discoveries. To keep track of your thoughts, ideas, progress in general, it is significant to create proper notes. Stick to an assigned formatting style – MLA, APA, Harvard, or another style indicated in the requirements.
If you are interested in how to organize information effectively, understand the structure of your writing and stick to this pattern. Like any other work, these papers consists of three main parts.
Introduction: explain the choice of your topic, state your approach, express a theory or suggestion, make a strong thesis statement.
Body: develop the topic by providing strong arguments for your opinions (preferably three for each idea, moving to the strongest one).
Conclusion: restate the thesis, proving that your study is important and relevant, and mission has been accomplished.
So how to create an outline for a research paper? Prepare a draft, add a list of cited works, abstract, and other parts if they are listed in the professor’s requirements. In a research outline, mention only milestones. This is a plan of the future work, a template you are going to fill with the appropriate information. On this stage, note the most important ideas that will guide you from a draft version to the final version.
How to Format a Good Research Paper Outline
Although a good outline structure features only three main elements, there is more to keep in mind when you learn how to write a research paper outline. A research paper contains the following elements:
- Title page — features a title, author’s name, educational establishment, and publication date.
- Abstract — a summary, brief (up to 250 words) and not obligatory.
- Introduction — background information that leads to the thesis statement.
- Body — consists of several parts: materials, methods, results, discussion, and the conclusion.
- Bibliography — list of cited works, which includes both literature quoted directly and paraphrased sources.
- Additional materials — tables, charts, figures, terminology, etc. (optional).
Research essay outlines can be formal (submitted to a professor at the early stage of writing) and informal (drafts, where students note their ideas). The way information is arranged differs based on a required formatting style.
Outline of APA research paper
MLA paper outline
is the most frequent.
Example of a Research Paper Outline
Whether you prepare a document to submit for your professor or use it as a draft for arranging the writing process, it is important to make it effective and helpful for further work. Here is a short research paper outline on psychology to show it all in practice.
: The influence of anxiety disorders on an individual’s social skills.
: Anxiety disorders have become more common among young people, affecting their social skills and personalities. Understanding how to tackle diverse anxiety disorders helps improve the quality of life and avoid serious psychological issues.
A. Key statistics display the relevance of the discussed problem.
B. Thesis statement, which expresses the purpose of your study and the expected outcome.
A. Anxiety disorder definition and history of studies.
B. Symptoms, causes, influences.
C. Classifications of anxiety disorders.
D. Gaps in research, which can be covered.
III. Arguments on influence of anxiety disorders on an individuals’ quality of life (social life in particular).
A. Investigation methods applied.
B. Real cases and statistics featured in your paper.
C. Personal observations and investigations, if possible.
IV. Arguments of possible treatment/handling/related solutions.
A. Proven ways and strategies for handling anxiety disorders.
B. Theories and suggestions based on observations and studies.
C. Your own suggestions based on discovered materials and personal experiences (if any).
A. Match data available at the beginning and end of your study.
B. Explain opportunities for further research.
A. Sum up the information briefly.
B. Restate the thesis.
VII. References — list all used sources.
As you can see in this research paper outline example, preparing an outline is half the work. It is certainly a difficult part, which defines how your paper will develop. We’ve tried to clarify some things for you and provide a good example. Outlines for different topics will differ, but the main points and structure will remain similar.
If you still have some hesitations about how to make an outline for a research paper or doubts regarding your writing skills, our site pros will be glad to assist in preparing this essay. Get your “A” today, by using this work as an example (and maybe inspiration) for your future research papers.