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. For topics that require even more subheadings, the Arabic numerals are placed in parentheses and the subheading under these require the lower case letters be placed in parentheses.
If more subheadings are needed, than you may want to consider combining some of your topics so that there are not too many subheadings. The following illustrates the subheadings don't forget the indentions of each level:. The conclusion to the research paper follows the same alphanumeric format. The topics outlined in this section does not extensively cite new research or expert opinion, but rather sums up the main ideas discussed in the paper to further prove the point the paper sought to make.
It also ends with a statement or quote that gives the reader information for further consideration. Regardless of the section, there are certain qualities that each part of the research paper outline should have.
These include parallelism, equal relevance and multiple headings. Parallelism means that if a title starts with a verb, all the other titles in the outline should start with a verb. Thus, in an outline about buying a car, the first title or topic of the body paragraph might be:. Note that the topics of A and B are of equal relevance.
One is not more specific than the other. More detailed information should be described in the subheadings to each of the A and B headings. Also, outlines should have multiple headings. Note again the example above. Under Look for New Cars Online there are two general subheadings. There should always be at least two subheadings for each topic. Besides the alphanumeric outline, a research paper outline may use decimal points.
This can make it easier to see how one idea in a paragraph relates to another. Below is an example of a decimal outline the same type of indention pattern as the body paragraph outline follows here:.
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. Your "Introduction" heading will need to include your thesis, at minimum. You might also want to briefly list your main points and your hook. Note that these elements will usually be listed as subpoints, not as major headings. The major heading for the section will be "Introduction. Understand what the body of your outline will consist of. Each main heading within the body portion of your outline will be labeled by a short phrase or sentence addressing a main category of your research paper.
As with the actual paper itself, this portion of your outline will hold all the significant content. Arrange the Conclusions section.
Research Paper Outline Examples 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.
A research paper outline is a generalized, organized overview of a research topic. Outlines are useful as they help the writer think about a topic in more detail, revealing areas that may require more research.
It is impossible to imagine a flawless writing process without mastering an art of developing a powerful research paper outline. This type of college academic assignment requires much more sections than an ordinary high school essay, so follow our guide not to get lost in the writing process. Using the above outline as a guide, create a one level outline for your paper by making the topic headings more detailed. For example, instead of “Literature review”, a more detailed heading could be “Literature review on the impacts of community design on air quality.” After providing details, read your outline.
The Basic Outline of a Paper The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper If a research paper, use strong evidence from sources—paraphrases, summaries, and quotations that support the main points III. Conclusion. A preliminary outline for a research paper is an organized list of topics to be included in the research paper along with notes under each topic about the details to be written in the paper. Outlines can also be completed with charts and index cards. Before writing a research paper, many writers.