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A Detailed Guide on Writing an Outline for a Research Paper


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Writing an outline for a research paper can be effortless with the right steps. You must choose your topic, headings, and subheadings, organize your ideas, and format your outline. Following these steps will ensure you can deliver detailed and thoroughly researched work. Let’s get started.

A Detailed Guide on Writing Your Research Outline

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

You need to understand what the task is all about and understand the instructions. Some work could be for educational purposes. For such academic research, it’s vital to understand the instructions and get all the materials and sources you need before writing.

Step 2: Break Your Writing Into Smaller Bits With A Timeline

Research work can be broad. To be more efficient, break the entire analysis into smaller units. Also, create a personal schedule and timeline. For instance, you could use the first day to gather online resources on the topic.

How To Create An Outline For Your Research Paper?

An outline will serve as a road map during the writing process. It comprises different parts. However, the structure varies depending on your research type. Here are the steps you need for your outline:

Step 1: Decide On Your Research Topic

This should be clear from the beginning so you know which information is relevant to you or not. Getting the topic is an essential part of the process.

Step 2: Organize Your Ideas And Thoughts

Whatever topic you write on, the goal is to keep it organized and concise. Create an outline with subheadings. In your jotter or notepad, write brief answers and information on every area as you conduct your research.

Step 3: Group Related Ideas In Subgroups

For your outline to be more detailed, you must group related ideas into a category. It will be much easier to be creative with organized work.

Step 4: Arrange Your Ideas On Levels

Depending on your personal preferences, what would you like your readers to see first? Which idea is the most important? These should take top priority.

Step 5: Use Headings And Subheadings

Write down a list of headings and subheadings related to your research. Arranging your work in sections makes it easy for readers to identify the necessary information.

Step 6: Format Your Outline

There are three main formats used to write outlines. They are:

  • Full-sentence format

  • Alphanumeric format

  • Decimal format

Like some researchers, you can also outsource papers to professionals for the best results. You can visit to get the best writers for your papers. They offer the best services at an affordable price and on time.

General Research Outline Structure

This type of outline finds application across various fields. It is divided into:

  • Introduction

  • Body

  • Conclusion


Your introduction should have a sentence that creates interest in your work. Readers must find your assignment thrilling, educative, and informative. You need to convince your audience that the paper is not wasting their time.

The introduction comprises three main parts:

  • The Hook: This is where you grab the interest of your readers between one and five sentences. The length of the hook depends on the overall length of the paper.

  • Research Question: Here, you should give readers the reason behind the research. It should be brief and direct.

  • The Thesis Statement: This is where you express your main idea and the importance of what you are about to discuss. It should be concise too.

Try to keep your introduction from becoming too lengthy and passive. Touch briefly on the main points in the body of your work.

Body of the Research

You should explain thoroughly the research evidence you have gathered and break your points into paragraphs. If there are arguments that counter your analysis, try tackling them within your work’s body. Your thought process should flow naturally and should not seem forced.

Conclusion of the Research

Here you have to bring the strong points of your research to the readers. The conclusion should also be concise, with a few paragraphs. The conclusion summarizes your arguments and encourages readers with a call to action. The call to action might be a call to further research or contributions to the topic.

Research Outline for Scientific Research

Scientific research has a widely accepted format of arrangement, the APA style.

  1. Title Page: This is the first page of the research paper that carries vital and valid information on the authors. Acknowledgment from the author can also be included here.

  2. Abstract: The abstract is a one-paragraph summary of the entire work. It should be less than 250 words. It gives a brief overview of the entire research work.

  3. Introduction: The introduction gives the readers reasons to study the paper. This is where you give short snippets and answers on issues addressed in the main work.

  4. Materials and Methods: You provide details of the research process and the materials involved. There should be enough details in your work to encourage further research.

  5. Results: You clearly state what you learned during the research and add statistics, charts, and all you need to support your results.

  6. Discussion: State the importance and impact of your results on the readers. Also, you mention the challenges encountered and give suggestions for future research.

  7. References: To avoid plagiarism, you must document your information sources to give them credit. List the authors and online resources used in an alphabetical and arranged order.

  8. Tables and Figures: If needed, you might add graphs and statistical data to support your information. With APA referencing, each of the tables is on a separate page. Also, all tables and figures come after the reference.

  9. Appendix: Information that is from similar fields can be included here.


Research papers demand a great deal of detail and attention from the writer. An outline serves as a guide to organize your thought process and maximize your creativity. In making an outline for a research paper, you should choose your topic, headings, and subheadings, organize your ideas, and format your outline.

It might be challenging to write your first research article. Moreover, the fast-approaching deadline with barely enough time to gather information might also scare you. Hiring professional writers will be your best option to get the desired results.

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