Writing a research paper can be really overwhelming. It is because of the fact that a research paper is based on extensive research and includes a lengthy writing process.
Professionals believe, to write a research paper effectively, without any mistakes, learn how a research paper outline is drafted. Once you know how to outline your paper and organize your data, you are done with the most difficult part of the research paper.
This blog is written to share how a perfect outline can be drafted for your research paper. Continue reading to get all the answers to your “research paper outline” questions.
An outline is essential for every type of research paper. It helps to organize your thoughts and the entire work before actually writing a research paper. A research paper outline is a form of a plan for the research you are going to be conducting. The research outline is like an academic assignment that is evaluated just like your other final paper.
In simpler terms, a research paper outline acts as a blueprint for the complete subject. It basically provides a map for the readers to follow through the entire process of writing without missing out on any important information.
Being a plan to take action, a research paper outline makes the readers understand and overcome the complexity of the paper.
In order to make your research paper effective and understandable for the audience, the research paper outline is written. For writing a research paper, it requires a lot of knowledge about the process as well as the complete understanding of its pattern.
The purpose of writing a research paper outline is to demonstrate and provide your understanding of the topic.
The research paper outline will do a lot for you and your readers. It will help you avoid making mistakes and errors and give shape to the topic into formal work.
While you write an outline, there are certain rules that are to be followed. The rules are:
Let’s discuss in detail how research papers are formatted and outlined.
The first thing to do while starting a research paper outline is to come up with an engaging topic. Choosing an interesting topic for your research paper is essential. This is to make sure that readers are engaged and curious to read your work.
An interesting topic will do wonders in the writing process of a research paper. An interesting and strong topic can be selected by meeting the following criteria:
Does your selected topic have credible information available that can be a part of your paper? Selecting a topic is one thing and finding a source that is credible for it is another. At this time, the internet has taken over our lives, making us completely dependent on it.
All the information you find on the internet is not credible and authentic. For serious work like writing a research paper, it is important that the information gathered is through credible sources.
Whether your source is a book, journal, research paper, or internet, make sure it is reliable. It is recommended to get instructors to help in finding the sources.
If you are writing a research paper for your academics, chances are that you will be provided by instructions and guidelines from your instructor or teacher. In those instructions, it is mentioned which format should be used to draft your research paper.
If it is not specified, there are two basic format outlines that you can use for your research paper; APA and MLA style format. Both of these formats have their own style and design. Select either of the style formats for your research paper.
The research paper can also follow the basic outline that all academic writings follow. This outline has three parts:
The outline of a research paper has some basic elements that are essential parts of almost every format style.
The elements of a research paper outline are discussed below.
The cover or title page is the basic thing in the research paper. It is the very first page in your paper that a reader sees and has some general information about the author and his work.
The cover page of a research paper has a title or the topic of your research. This title doesn’t exceed 60 characters. Including a title, a cover page contains the name of the researcher, instructor and the date on which the assignment is to be submitted.
After the title page, an abstract of the research paper is given. An abstract is a brief summary of your research that focuses on the key points, ideas, and methods that a researcher used in the paper for his research and to obtain results.
The length of an abstract should be short and direct. The ideal length is 200 words or one -third of a page.
After the abstract, in the research paper outline, a researcher provides a table of content for the paper. It is the part in which the sections of your paper are summarized in the form of headings and subheadings.
These points can be written with roman numerals as well as Arabic numerals depending on the preference with a combination of upper and lowercase letters.
This is the most important part of your research paper. The introduction presents the main argument of the researcher. This argument of the researcher is the statement of a problem on which the entire paper is based.
The introduction of the research paper also contains the description and definition of the core terms and ideas used in the paper. The stronger the introduction the more impact the paper will have on the audience.
Basically, an introduction opens up with a hook related to a topic and then followed by some background information such as why a certain topic was selected and how will you conduct the research.
Make sure to not give unnecessary information and details in this section. Briefly provide the description of the background of a research question, literature review, and findings, and the reasons behind the purpose of research.
After giving the introduction, form a thesis statement for your research paper. The thesis statement will be the main argument and stance in the paper for which shreds of evidence and supporting material will be provided in the body paragraphs.
Forming a strong thesis statement is very important. You have to collect relevant information and arguments to support your thesis statement.
When writing a research proposal, a literature review is essential to submit. A literature review is a previous study on your topic. It is basically a research and study of the topic that will be related to your topic and will form a base for it.
There is a method through which every research is done. It is up to the writer and the demand for the topic or field to choose which research method to choose. There are different types of research that are used to gather data and conduct research. Usually there are two methodologies that you can choose according to your research type.
Quantitative and qualitative are two basic methodologies used while conducting research. For research related to science, a quantitative methodology is used. While for humanities and social sciences subjects, qualitative research is done.
This section in the research paper outline mentions and explains the most solid and strong arguments in the research along with their findings. It is to be kept in mind that in this section a researcher should not provide every information he has.
Come up and decide a sequence and order in which the information will be presented. It is up to the writer to use a pyramid or inverted pyramid format to present the information. Usually, in this sequence an argument is presented:
After analyzing the findings or results, a discussion on the achieved results is done. The discussion is done to see whether the obtained facts and figures from the research are similar to the predicted results or not.
Usually, a discussion on results is done by the panel of similar field specialists but writing your paper for academics works differently. The discussion is conducted by the researcher in the light of the given studies.
After the discussion, a researcher forms a conclusion. In the conclusion of a research paper, the writer presents any limitation that was faced while conducting research or gathering data. In addition to this, the major points are summarized in this section, along with the restated thesis statement.
A researcher sums his arguments up in concluding paragraphs, suggesting further research on the topic if needed. Also, the conclusion of a research paper includes ‘call to action’ or suggests the course of actions for the audience.
You cannot come up with all the information for your research paper. You will have to rely on other sources for the information. The information you take from other sources has to be cited and presented in the bibliography.
This is to avoid plagiarism which is a serious crime in the writing world. All the references for your sources of information are written in the form of a list that is given at the end of your research paper. According to the paper format, write a bibliography for your research.
For our student’s better understanding, we have gathered some examples that will surely help them draft their research papers professionally.
If you are wondering how APA and MLA style research papers are outlined, look at the examples below:
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