Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper. Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper or what you will be including in your discussion.
The broader your topic is, the more difficult it is to discuss the full details. This is why you should establish early on the scope and limitations of your paper which will provide the foundation for your research paper outline. Basically, your outline will constitute three main sections: But to make sure your paper is complete, consult your instructor for specific parts they wants to be included in your research paper.
Sample outlines for research papers will follow. The introduction should contain your thesis statement or the topic of your research as well as the purpose of your study. You may include here the reason why you chose that particular topic or simply the significance of your research paper's topic. You may also state what type of approach it is that you'll be using in your paper for the entire discussion of your topic.
Generally, your Introduction should orient your readers to the major points the rest of the paper will be covering, and how. The body of your paper is where you will be presenting all your arguments to support your thesis statement. Start with a strong argument, followed by a stronger one, and end with the strongest argument as your final point. The conclusion is where you form a summary of all your arguments so you can arrive at your final position.
Explain and reiterate why you've ended up with the said conclusion. As mentioned earlier, here are some sample outlines for research papers:. Shakespeare Adapted from AResearchGuide. Check out our quiz-page with tests about:.
Research Paper Outline Examples. Retrieved Sep 14, from Explorable. A one-level outline only uses major headings and no subheadings. Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed. It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in.
Move onto a two-level outline. Two-level outlines are a little more common for research papers. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings. In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present.
Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under. Progress to a three-level outline.
A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly. You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version. Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it. Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels.
The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections. Every heading and subheading should maintain a structure that is parallel to the other headings within its level.
Parallelism also refers to parts of speech and tense. If a heading starts with a verb, then the other headings must also start with a verb. Moreover, that verb must also be in the same tense usually present tense. The information provided by your first major heading should be equal in importance to the information offered in your second major heading.
The same can be said of sentences in subheadings, as well. Your major headings should identify major tasks or ideas. Your subheadings should elaborate on the points addressed in your major headings. The information in your headings should be general and the subheadings should be more specific.
For instance, if you were writing about memorable experiences from your childhood, "Memorable Childhood Experiences" would be the heading and the subheadings might look something like, "Vacation at 8 years old," "Favorite birthday party," and "Family trips to the park. Each major heading should be divided into two or more parts.
In other words, you should have at least two subheadings for every major heading. There is no limit on subheadings, but once you start forming a dozen or so subheadings under a single heading, you might find your outline looking cluttered and messy. Identify the research problem. As you prepare to write your outline, you need to specifically identify the research problem you are trying to address. This will guide the entire formation of your outline and your paper.
From this research problem, you will derive your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the entire purpose or argument of your research paper.
This thesis statement will usually be written above the outline itself or within the first "Introduction" heading of the outline.
Your research problem can also help you figure out a title. Identify your main categories. You also need to figure out what main points you plan on covering. All of these main points will be listed in your introduction and listed as part or all of you major headings for the body part of your paper. The main points are details that support or address your research paper. They should be very general in nature. Take a look at your research topic and determine the best possible order to deliver information.
You might end up using a chronological arrangement or a spatial arrangement, but as a general rule, you will go from general ideas to specific ones. Chronological arrangements generally only work if you have a topic that has some chronological history to it.
For example, if you were researching the history of modern medicine, it would make sense that your paper and outline follow a chronological order. If your research topic does not have a history, though, you will probably end up using a spatial structure. For instance, if you are researching the effects of television and video games on the adolescent brain, you probably would not follow the chronology of the research.
Instead, you might describe the different contemporary schools of thought on the issue or otherwise follow some other spatial arrangement of ideas. Establish your major headings.
Your first and last headings will be your "Introduction" and "Conclusions" sections, respectively. The other major headings will be represented by the main or major categories of your paper. In these instances, you can usually skip these two sections altogether, but you will need to write your thesis statement separately and above the outline. Know what to include in your Introduction.
Below are examples of research paper outlines. Creating an outline is the first thing you should do before starting on your research paper.
How to Write a Research Paper. What is a research paper? A research paper is a piece of academic writing based on its author’s original research on a particular topic, and the analysis and interpretation of the research findings. It can be either a term paper, a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation.
For any research paper, it is essential to understand how to write an outline. In many fields, research papers require an outline, as an integral part of the paper. In many fields, research papers require an outline, as an integral part of the paper. Learn about the writing process, goal setting, and how to write papers successfully for course assignments. Skip to main content. Writing Center. D. Gaps in the Research: Outlining Your Outline as a Way to Write Every Day (blog post) Writing Center blog post.
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. If you get a surge of inspiration part way through writing your paper and decide to take your paper in a new direction, go ahead and change your outline. There are several different ways to format an outline, but the MLA method (below) is a solid way to do it.