Creating An Outline For A Research Paper Example

Types of Outlines and Samples

Alphanumeric Outlines

This is the most common type of outline and usually instantly recognizable to most people. The formatting follows these characters, in this order:

  • Roman Numerals
  • Capitalized Letters
  • Arabic Numerals
  • Lowercase Letters

If the outline needs to subdivide beyond these divisions, use Arabic numerals inside parentheses and then lowercase letters inside parentheses. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

The sample PDF in the Media Box above is an example of an outline that a student might create before writing an essay. In order to organize her thoughts and make sure that she has not forgotten any key points that she wants to address, she creates the outline as a framework for her essay.

What is the assignment?

Your instructor asks the class to write an expository (explanatory) essay on the typical steps a high school student would follow in order to apply to college.

What is the purpose of this essay?

To explain the process for applying to college

Who is the intended audience for this essay?

High school students intending to apply to college and their parents

What is the essay's thesis statement?

When applying to college, a student follows a certain process which includes choosing the right schools and preparing the application materials.

Full Sentence Outlines

The full sentence outline format is essentially the same as the Alphanumeric outline. The main difference (as the title suggests) is that full sentences are required at each level of the outline. This outline is most often used when preparing a traditional essay. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

Decimal Outlines

The decimal outline is similar in format to the alphanumeric outline. The added benefit is a system of decimal notation that clearly shows how every level of the outline relates to the larger whole. Select the "Sample Outlines" PDF in the Media Box above to download the sample of this outline.

An outline is important for all types of research papers. It serves to organize your thoughts and your whole work before writing a research paper. This type of paper is aimed at a scientific research that will prove you to be a student that has scientific aptitudes to solve core issues and is ready convey your ideas using scientific approaches and methods. An outline will be a reminder for you to include all the necessary subtleties in it. It is “a skeleton” of the real research paper that will guide you through the whole process. But how to write a research paper outline?

By preliminarily splitting your paper into all its constituent parts you will be far more organized and will not worry that you forgot something. In addition, looking at your outline, you will be calmer because after splitting your work into several parts. It will not seem so overwhelming and perplexing. You can approach each part during different days and plan your preparations consecutively which will help you to meet even tight deadlines!

Research Paper Outline Structure Tips

The outline structure is approximately the same whether you write a research outline on dreams or some topic distant from this one, like a research outline for PhD application. The structure is identical to the structure of the research paper itself. To be more versed in the details of the structure look through examples for elementary students. The outline for a Literary Essay will also help you.  Anyway, the main parts are as follows:

  1. Introduction 
  2. Body 
  3. Conclusion

Seems not that hard, right?! But the fact is that each of the points encompasses a wide range of information for you to arrange in your research outline about animals, for example.

The Introduction part is one of the most important ones. Because it presents the reader with the topic of your paper and it is like a hook that attracts the reader's interest. Here you are supposed to mention the top essential components like the thesis statement, the explanation of the topic (some major points, general information), explanation of the core terms related to your study.

The Body part is the amplest one and consists of several paragraphs or subparts. Here you bring the arguments to support your statement. The methodology is what follows the introduction section. It gives the insight into the way you carried out the research and should include the investigation type and the questionnaire you have fulfilled. Never forget about the aims of the investigation that should be also stated in the introduction.

Make sure to include the literature overview. Here mention the literature you used as a backup to your hypothesis and theories. This part will show how you can operate the terms, theory and existing evidence. Your main theme and the chosen literature should be adjacent. Demonstrate how your input develops and distends the existing works.

Data and analysis usually go after methods and literature. Here present your results and other variables that you have got in the process of the survey. Use tables or graphs if necessary to be more precise and structured. Interpret your results. Keep in mind to tell the audience whether your outcomes bring a difference to the whole topic. Outline the drawbacks of the research and its advantages. 

The final part is the Conclusion that usually does not present the audience with the new information but gives the cursory glance at the whole work by summarizing main points in it. Do not forget to mention the thesis statement again. Formulate the prospect for future research as well. 

Final Advice And Useful Info

Topics of the research paper are different. You can end up writing your paper about molecular physics or about bullying. Sometimes they give you to write on social issues like a research outline on homelessness. Everything depends on the college discipline.

All in all, your research outline should look like a bullet list of headings and subheadings; it should be very brief but informative consisting all the necessary elements. While completing your paper cross out those parts that you have already used and elaborated.

Here are a couple of examples:

Thesis: Does the Internet have a positive or negative impact on the children’s education and social skills that they obtain?

Introductory Clause

  1. Brief introduction of issue
  2. Used methodology
  3. Thesis statement
  4. review of used sources and related literature
  5. Explanation of the study’s relevance and significance

Main Body

a. Detailed information about the problem’s background

  1. The history of the Internet and its role in the lives of modern people
  2. The first mentioning of issues caused by the influence of the Web
  3. The general explanation of reasons and causes that can explain either negative or positive effect of the Internet on the children’s development and education

b. Positive influence of the Internet on the quality of education and obtained social skills

  1. Online books, materials and numerous sources that help students, providing them with an opportunity for quality self-education
  2. Developed social networking and wider opportunities for education that helps develop and improve child’s social skills
  3. Examples of positive influence (or scientifically proven facts)

c. Negative influence of the Internet on the quality education and obtained social skills

  1. Distractions, games, availability of violent materials and other things that cause negative influence
  2. Examples of negative influence (or scientifically proven facts)

Final Clause

a. Conclusion

  1. Short analysis of all facts provided in the paper
  2. Rephrased thesis statement

b. Final words regarding the problem (recommendations regarding how a particular paper and its ideas can be used in practice or in further studies).

Thesis: Abortion: main causes and effects

Introductory Clause

  1. Brief introduction of issue
  2. Main medical terms and their definitions
  3. The theoretical basis for the paper
  4. Used methodology
  5. Thesis statement
  6. The review of related literature
  7. Explanation of the study’s relevance and significance.

Main Body

a. Detailed information about the problem’s background

  1. The history of abortion and the main causes that force modern women take this step (explain different possible reasons like religion, financial situation, career issues, etc.)
  2. Explain the position of the religion and government regarding this problem
  3. General information about the possible consequences of abortion supported with valid facts, scientific articles and studies, examples, etc.

b. Possible alternatives to abortions, their pros and cons

c. Advantages and disadvantages of abortion

  1. Explain all advantages of abortion and support them with facts and examples
  2. Explain all disadvantages of abortion (both physical and mental) and support them with facts and examples

Final Clause

a. Conclusion

  1. Short analysis of all facts provided in the paper
  2. Rephrased thesis statement

b. Final words regarding the problem (recommendations regarding how a particular paper and its ideas can be used in practice or in further studies).

 

Wish you an academic success with our guide to the research paper writing!

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