Writing Research Paper Outline

Published 16 October, 2023

Working on a research paper outline can be a challenging task for the students, but it is the most critical part of academic life. Students have to spend their precious time, plus they have to do hard work for making an effective research paper outline. A perfect research paper is something that can reflect the position of the students and their truthfulness towards the topic chosen.

The research paper outline is the first step in writing a research paper. It will help to focus your thoughts, and also show you where you need more information or clarification. A good outline can make the process easier and less frustrating. In writing a research paper outline, it is important to include all the necessary components. This blog post provides an introduction to how to write a research paper outline, as well as some tips for creating one that works for you. 

What is a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline is a formal system that researcher utilizes for developing a framework in order to think about the organization and eventual contents of the research paper.

It acts as the basis of an academic educational paper from which students can develop the whole research paper. Usually, the framework of a research paper includes three main parts containing the introduction paragraph, the central body part, and finally, the conclusion. For making a standard quality and successful research paper students have to draft a detailed outline.

The most important question asked by many of the students is that how can they write an effective research paper outline? Highlighting the framework is an essential part of making the research paper fantastic.

  • It helps in organizing the thoughts, opinions, and the whole research work before representing the paper.
  • By giving a proper outline to the article, students can make sure that they have used the scientific resources and approaches that helped them in solving the writing issues.
  • After giving a research paper outline, students get ready to convey the ideas through a research paper.
  • An overview acts as a reminder for the students to include all the necessary concepts and subtitles in it.
  • It works as a skeleton for the research paper that helps in guiding the students throughout the whole process.

By splitting the research paper into its sub constituent parts, students can get deliver information without forgetting something. Besides, students can remain calm after dividing the data into important parts because it will no longer seem perplexing or overwhelming. Students can approach each subpart on different days and can plan consecutively about the preparations which will help them to meet even tight submission deadlines.

Read Also: How to Write Research Proposal

Why use a research paper outline?

College students are often familiar with writing different types of research papers because it is a part of their academic curriculum. Research paper writing is a thought-provoking and elaborate procedure for most University students.

  • Every college-going student needs much time to research a topic to write up a well-thought research paper. It is not a simple and easy task to create an effective research paper and influence more and more readers. An outline of a research paper can help you in this process.
  • It lays out the framework that the researcher must follow to.
  • Outlines are diagrams that help writers organize their essays. Writers use outlines to visualize the elements of their essays and see how they fit together.
  • Writing an effective research paper outline provides you the step-by-step guidance to create your research paper more manageable.
  • To create a persuasive research paper, Graduation and PG students need to outline their research paper in which students can organize their thoughts and work to be done while writing a research paper. However, writing an outline of a research paper is not a simple and easy task.
  • Students studying in any college or university in the world have to write up research papers as part of their academic curriculum. So, to make your work process easy, you should write up an outline of a research paper.

Things to consider before writing a Research Paper Outline

There are some pre-writing steps that the students have to keep in mind while working on the outline of the research paper. It will not only help the students to compose an excellent quality outline but also helps in producing great academic work.

1. Select an appropriate topic for research paper writing

Topic selection for research is an essential factor for writing a successful research paper. Whether the students get assigned the topic or not, writing about the active topic will always work as a strength for the students.

  • The text should not only seem attractive to the readers but must make them curious about what will happen next.
  • The students can take the help of various sources like books, magazines, and the internet to select the perfect research paper topic.

2. State strong thesis argument

After selecting the specific topic, students can take some time to figure out the materials which they want to include in their research paper. Before making an argument, it is necessary to understand why this topic is important to you and what if others do not think like you.

  • Thinking about the main motive of the thesis statement can be beneficial for the students.
  • Try to make a meaningful discussion that can help the readers to show their interest in the argument.
  • When the students understand the purpose behind writing a research paper on that topic, then they can create a persuasive outline for the research paper.

3. Get ready to define the audience

There is no doubt that the professor is going to read the research paper submitted by the students. So, it is essential to understand that what the professors will think after reading your academic paper. Analyze both sides properly; one is can the professors support the argument made by the students in their paper and another one what if they do not like the paper. Using appropriate languages can be beneficial for the students, which can build up excitation among the readers. However, the overall tone and style required for creating a research paper depending on how readers will take it.

4. Conduct well-formatted research

No students can work on their writing task without doing thorough research about the topic. Students have to investigate much material from different resources to find adequate evidence to support the argument. It can be better if the students find general information regarding the topic and then start searching genuinely. Students have to prepare for the questions and to face many counter-arguments. In this way, they can master the research writing excellently.

5. Organize proper references

References can provide the evidence for each argument and support the research which the students have done for their research paper. Students can arrange all the references according to the relevance of the discussions and the importance of each statement.

View Also This: Research Process Guide

Step-by-step guide for creating a research paper outline

When the students get succeeded in writing a proper research paper, then they are ready to make an impressive outline for the research paper. Generally, each outline consists of three main parts, namely the introduction paragraph, the main body, and the conclusion part. It is essential to use a detailed outline for the standard quality and informative research paper.

I. Introduction

The introduction paragraph is an essential step in every academic work. It can reflect the thinking of the students and give information about whether readers are going to read it or not. An introduction must be informative, engaging, and exciting. Students do not have to provide much information about the content. Three necessary points make a practical introduction:

  • Hook: A hook can be around four to five sentences long depending on the volume of the research paper. It is an informative part that persuades the audience to continue reading the article. Interesting and provoking hook can make the readers understand the research paper.
  • Define the audience. Here the students have to mention the critical points that why they had written the research paper. If the readers find the resounding answer, then they can get interested in reading the whole research paper.
  • Thesis statement. Students have to state their arguments. It is crucial to clarify what they are going to discuss next in their research paper. Try to make the thesis statement short and straightforward and no dull point should get included.

II. Body paragraph

The central part of the research paper outline which the students are working in the body. It is the main section of the paper and can be the biggest as the students want. There is no limit to words. The more arguments students want to support in their paragraph, the more significant the body paragraph gets.

  • All the points and evidence which the students have collected to include in their research paper can get found in the body.
  • Each idea and the suitable evidence will make the theme clear to the readers.
  • Give each statement with the proper proof and do not try to make wrong proofs.
  • Use valid references and adequate styles according to the required research paper format.
  • Students can provide some controversial statements in their research paper to evidence why their side is correct.

Focusing on this part can enhance the knowledge of the students and will make them perfect for creating a good argument. Producing an effective research paper outline can make the students capable of creating an impressive reputation among their class.

III. Conclusion Part

In this part of the research paper, you have to summarize the arguments using statements so that the readers can digest the main content and idea written in the research paper for a long time. Students should write only the main parts in the research paper conclusion and keep the end short of making the whole research paper digest into the mind of the readers.

  • Summary of arguments: In this part, college and university students have to state the most persuasive argument again. No need to explain the argument entirely and profoundly. Students only have to give a general overview of the stated cases used in the research paper.
  • Call to action: This part is the end of the research paper and should impress and involve as many readers. In this, you have to write up the final message for the readers.

Important points to consider while working on a research paper outline

  • Students should not forget about the overall style which they have chosen to write a useful introduction part.
  • The research paper must be consistent throughout the entire research paper.
  • The techniques, manner, and pattern must be the same from the beginning to the end of the research paper.
  • Do not forget to be creative and use different impressive language techniques to make the paper more interesting.
  • Remember that the professors know everything about the subject which you have mentioned in the research paper.

Be sure to explain everything with confidence and without getting nervous. Students can address the matter with in-depth knowledge about it and making readers conscious to understand them properly.

Language in research paper outline

The best way to write an effective research paper outline is by paying attention not just to the content, but also to language. This includes parallelism, coordination, subordination, and division.


The repetition of a particular grammatical form in between points and sub-points is called parallelism. Parallelism is important in order to make your writing more engaging. If the first point of a sentence is a verb, then all following points should be verbs as well.


Coordination is important, so make sure your subheadings are on the same level of importance and that all first points lead to secondary ones. All headings should carry equivalent significance from one part to another without any hierarchical difference between first-level points or secondary ones; otherwise, you risk confusion among readers as their attention moves back and forth on different levels.


Subordination is when the main points are separated from their subpoints. The general headings should be broad and each lower level of sections can become more specific as you go down into detail with your writing.


Division: You should include two or more subsections under each heading. There is no limit to how many sub-points you can have, but keep in mind that the information will be structured into a paragraph during writing so don’t overdo it with too much detail!

Template of research paper outline

It is a plan format or structure for the work you are going to do in your research paper. The research paper is an academic assignment that is equal to the final papers. The outline of a research paper demonstrates the vision and understanding of the students for their research paper topics. The research paper outline helps to prevent mistakes and errors to be done while writing up a serious work, research paper.

Template of research paper outline consists of

  1. Abstract: Abstract for research is a summary of the research paper. All the necessary information about the research is described in the abstract in around five to six sentences. The abstract is the first part of the research outline which is an insight into the investigation, and all questions of the readers are answered in the abstract related to the research topic, subject, participants, method, and results. All these things are described in the shortest possible way. An abstract is written in one paragraph in around 150-200 words. It is always written at first and comes at the beginning after the title page of the research paper.
  2. Introduction part: Research Paper Introduction is an integral part of the research paper outline. The introduction part of the outline presents the readers with the research topic, and this part is like a hook for a research paper that attracts the interest of the readers. In this part, students have to mention the top required components of the research paper like the thesis statement, explanation of the core terms, and the topic related to the study.
  3. Body part: The body part is the important one in the outline of the research paper, which consists of many paragraphs and subheadings. In this part, students will write arguments for stating the statements.
  4. Literature review: Students should even include a literature review in the Research paper outline. In this part of the outline of the research paper, you have to mention the literature that you use for hypotheses and theories. The literature review will show the readers how you are going to operate the terms, philosophy, and evidence. The chosen literature for the research paper and the central theme of the research paper should be adjacent.
  5. Research methodology: The research methodology is the method to be written, which follows the introduction part of the outline of the research paper. This part gives the readers insight into how research is carried out. The research methodology includes the type of investigation and questionnaire to be filled up in the process. The aim of the inquiry should also be written in the introduction part.
  6. Analysis: This part was usually written after the research methodology and literature review. In the part of data and analysis, you will present your results and other main variables that you get as a result of the process of the survey done by you. Students can use tables and graphs to analyze the data and results if necessary.
  7. Results: After that, interpret your research findings. Here at this point, students have to tell the readers whether the outcomes of the result bring any difference in the whole research topic or not. In the analysis part, you have to outline the advantages and drawbacks of your research paper.
  8. Conclusion: A research paper conclusion is the final part of the research paper outline. This part does not present the readers with new information. However, it gives a cursory glance of the research done at the whole work by concluding and summarizing the main points of the research paper in it. In this part of the research paper outline, students have to mention the thesis statement of the research paper again. Moreover, you should formulate the prospect for future research to be done as well.


Just like any other form of writing, there are specific guidelines for the outline. As with all forms of research and academic work, it is important to be informed on how to write a proper paper outline. A research paper outline is a guide that helps you organize your thoughts and ideas about the topic in order to present them in an organized manner. This process allows you to brainstorm, examine sources of information, be creative with your thinking, and make decisions on what will be included or excluded from the research paper. If you are struggling to come up with a good topic or need some help outlining your ideas, Myresearchtopics.com has professional writers waiting for your call.

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