Research Paper Outline - Writing Steps & Examples

research paper outline

A research paper outline is an organized collection of the ideas, the integration of concepts that are discussed in your paper.

The importance of a research paper outline is to have a clear picture of what you intend to write about. With this, you are able to proceed with your plan, whether it is to introduce materials or simply outline the conclusion. It also enables you to integrate ideas coherently within the paper.

Although it may be possible to write a research paper without having an outline beforehand, this is not usually recommended. In fact, many authors choose to prepare a research paper outline before they begin writing because it makes writing easier.

The outline acts as a guide, making it easy for you to make sure that everything is included in the paper.

How to Format a Research Paper Outline?

Writing a research paper outline can be done in different ways, and some formats also include Roman numerals. Below are some of the commonly used research paper formats and templates:

  • Alphanumeric Outline

    The alphanumeric outline technique is usually used when the writer wants to write down several topics but doesn't have a clear structure in mind. It just means that you are jotting down ideas as they come along.

    As the term suggests, the alphanumeric approach requires you to arrange your points by making use of letters and numbers. It is essential that the alphabet and numbers are distinct from one another.

    Here is a sample;

    • I. Introduction
      1. The change in youth culture today
        1. Rebelliousness
        2. Fear of disapproval
      2. Justification for the changes among the youth today
        1. Effects caused by globalization
        2. Insecurity due to unemployment or massive layoffs
        3. Effects of changed household and family structure

    Using this technique, you can potentially jot down several important points in your paper before you even start arranging them. It is meant for fast writing and does not require much thinking prior to writing the outline.

  • Full-sentence Outline

    The full-sentence outline is a relatively more complex method of outlining ideas for a research paper. It requires the writer to use complete sentences for each point.

    Here is a sample outline;

    • I. Introduction
      1. Discuss the effects of globalization on social changes, particularly among the younger generation.
      2. Discuss why young people are more susceptible to these changes compared to older generations.
    • II. Body Paragraph One
      1. State an effect caused by globalization that makes youth culture change like it is today
      2. Describe why young people are more influenced by this change than the older generation
      3. Explain whether or not globalization is still relevant today to justify these social changes

    Full-sentence outlines are usually preferred because they provide the writer with a clear hierarchical structure for all points within the paper.

  • Decimal Outline

    Another common way of writing a research paper outline is to use a decimal system. The student arranges the points under main topics or titles Each point is represented by a number in the decimal sequence.

    Here is a sample outline;

    1. Introduction
      • 1.1 Globalization and Its Effects on the Youth
      • 1.2 Why Young People Are More Susceptible to Globalization's Changes
      • 1.3 The Future of Globalization
    2. Main Body Paragraph
      • 2.1 The Effects of Globalization on Youth Culture
      • 2.2 The Reasons Why Youth Are More Susceptible to These Changes
      • 2.3 The Future of Globalization and Its Effect on the Youth
    3. Conclusion
      • 3.1 Summarize Points Made in the Paper
      • 3.2 Restate the Conclusion
      • 3.3 Suggestions for Further Research

    A decimal outline is usually preferred when you need to go into details with some points but still want to maintain a hierarchical structure for your paper, especially if some main points are more important than others.

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How to Write a Research Paper Outline?

A research paper outline can be prepared by either following the order of your argument or by putting down points and jotting them down on what you intend to write about.

When you write about what you need to discuss, it is also important to note the necessary proofs; this can be done by putting numbers beside each proof.

Writing a research paper outline requires the following steps:

  • 1. Prepare Your Materials And Notes
  • Gather all your material, including background information on the subject, and the sources you are going to use.

  • 2. Organize the Information
  • There are two ways to organize your information, depending on how you intend to write your paper. You can either arrange the papers according to the order of your argument or by putting down points and jotting them down on what you intend to write about it.

    When you write about what you need to discuss, it is also important to note the necessary proofs; this can be done by putting numbers beside each proof.

  • 3. Write the Draft Outline
  • After organizing your thoughts and materials, write a draft research paper outline before starting on your actual paper. You can do this by writing the main points of your argument.

  • 4. Make Corrections and Revisions
  • Revise your draft by checking it for any errors such as grammatical mistakes, misspelled words, etc. It is highly recommended that you have someone else look over your work before submitting it.

    You can also use a computer program or website that will check your work for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

    Once your draft is free of any typos and other mistakes, you can proceed with writing the final research paper outline. This step may require several revisions before you finally complete it.

    As stated above, writing a research paper outline requires effort, but it makes writing easier.

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Research Paper Outline Examples

Here are some research paper outline examples. These examples are working templates for APA and MLA style papers also.

Why Schools should Utilize Technology in Education - APA Research Paper Outline

  • I. Introduction
    1. The growing importance of technology in jobs.
    2. Technologically literate citizens are necessary.
    3. Technology literacy must form a component of the training provided to students.
    4. Students may benefit from technology in a variety of ways, including;
      1. It allows for the introduction of new types of assignments.
      2. Allows students to learn from anywhere in the world.
      3. It reflects the present job market.
  • II. Body paragraph 1
    1. Simulations, games, and computer programming are all made possible by this technology.
    2. Simulation examples
    3. Games examples
    4. Programming examples
  • III. Body paragraph 2
    1. Distance learning is made possible through technology.
    2. Here are some examples of remote learning.
    3. Hybrid learning is demonstrated in the following example.
      1. Children at school and at home
    4. Examples of remote collaborations through technology
      1. Usage in cities, states, and districts across the country.
  • IV. Body paragraph 3
    1. Many professions require technical skills.
    2. Workplace Technology Acceptance (cite Johnson, et. al., 2018)
    3. STEM Camp, Boulder Schools, 2012) STEM Camp (Boulder Schools), 2012 ) Work projects that are modeled by school projects
    4. Some schools are employing technology to solve problems.
  • V. Conclusion
    1. There are several reasons to encourage the use of technology in school.
      1. Helping the students with problem-solving
      2. Assisting in better remote learning
      3. Career preparation
    2. An overview of cutting-edge applications of technology
    3. A quick overview of how technology may be used in schools.
      1. The Belcher study (2016) discovered that increased use of technology resulted in improved math scores on the PSAT.
    4. Ideas for future research
      1. More research on the impact of technology and test scores is needed.
        1. Using technology as a therapy and intervention tool for struggling children.

Ketogenic Diet & Reduction of Certain Diseases - MLA Research Paper Outline

  • I. Introduction
    1. In the United States, health experts have increasingly linked diet to a variety of illnesses, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.
    2. The incidence of diabetes, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis is rising in the United States. (Journal of Health statistics)
    3. The ketogenic diet is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates.
      1. Describe the ketogenic parameters in terms of;
        1. carbohydrates
        2. fat
        3. protein
    4. Thesis
      1. By managing blood sugar, restricting processed foods, and limiting excessive protein intake, the ketogenic diet may help to lower the incidence of diabetes.
  • II. Body Paragraph I
    1. The ketogenic diet is beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels.
    2. Carbohydrate overconsumption can create blood sugar imbalances, insulin resistance, and is linked to a variety of diseases.
    3. Carbohydrate restriction improves fasting blood sugar, insulin response, and seems to reduce the incidence of a disease.
    4. Several studies have looked at the effects of the ketogenic diet, blood sugar levels, and disease severity.
      1. Describe a 16-week ketogenic diet study on diabetes and blood sugar control (McMurray, 2019)
      2. Describe the 24-week ketogenic diet study on Alzheimer's disease and blood sugar control (McMurray 2016)
  • III. Body Paragraph II
    1. The ketogenic diet may help prevent disease by decreasing consumers' intake of processed meals, according to a recent study.
    2. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that limits the intake of processed food.
    3. A link between nutrition and multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease has been discovered.
    4. Replacement of processed meals with unprocessed ones has been linked to a drop in the incidence of specific illnesses (Journal of Diabetes and Weight Management, 2016)
  • IV. Body Paragraph III
    1. Finally, by reducing protein intake, the ketogenic diet may help to prevent disease.
    2. Excess protein consumption may cause illness.
      1. Excess protein puts a strain on the kidneys.
      2. Excess protein consumption is a risk factor for heart disease.
    3. The ketogenic diet restricts protein consumption.
    4. Protein restriction has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of disease.
      1. Describe a 30-week correlational study on decreased protein consumption and kidney function (McMurtry, West, and Johnson, 2015)
  • V. Conclusion
    1. Finally, the ketogenic diet's potential to lower disease may be attributed to its effects on carbohydrate and protein intake reduction, as well as blood sugar management.
    2. Summarize research on how the following factors contribute to disease:
      1. Carbohydrate restriction and blood sugar control
      2. Reduced intake of processed food and disease
      3. Protein reduction and disease prevention
    3. Because it is so low in carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet may be beneficial because;
      1. Protein consumption has decreased.
      2. Reduces intake of processed meals.
      3. Protein overload is avoided.
    4. There appears to be a connection between a ketogenic diet and a reduction in factors that might cause Alzheimer's, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.

Cost & Environmental Impact of Public & Private Transport - College Research Paper Outline

  • I. Introduction
    1. Many individuals travel by both public and private means.
    2. Buses, subways, and elevated trains that operate within a short walking distance of numerous city centers are found in almost every major metropolis.
    3. Cars are popular and there are millions of them on the road.
    4. The goal of this essay is to explore the parallels and distinctions between public and private transportation.
  • II. 1st Body paragraph (major similarities)
    1. There are several parallels between public and private automobile travel.
    2. Both have direct and indirect expenses.
    3. Both get you where you want to be.
    4. Both are powered by fossil fuels.
  • III. 2nd Body paragraph (main differences)
    1. Public and private vehicle transportation differ in several ways.
    2. The cost of servicing a car on a daily basis is greater.
    3. As a result of its reduced environmental effect, using public transportation is better for the environment.
    4. Adhering to the timetable of public transportation is necessary.
    5. Personal transportation is more practical and flexible.
  • IV. Summary of the study's major findings.
    1. Driving has significant benefits over public transportation, but it is not without drawbacks.
    2. The ability to drive provides for a lot more flexibility.
    3. It's easier to get around in a vehicle.
    4. Those with physical impairments can benefit from driving since it allows for greater mobility.
    5. Saving time is made easier by driving.
  • V. Conclusions
    1. This paper looked at the similarities and distinctions between private and public transportation.
    2. The advantages of public transportation include both financial and environmental factors.
    3. Convenience, speed, and time savings are some of the benefits of hiring a private vehicle.
      1. Some of the benefits of public transportation are;
        1. By purchasing an electric automobile, carpooling, or ride-sharing, you may help to minimize the environmental effect.
        2. Reduce the cost of transportation by ride-sharing, purchasing a dependable used automobile, and driving less frequently.
    4. In the end, both types of transportation have advantages and disadvantages; nevertheless, driving is preferable to public transportation for the reasons stated above.

A research paper outline is an important part of the writing process. Without it, no student can write and submit a good research paper on time. Creating an outline seems difficult and time-consuming but once you create it, you can move forward with writing your paper.

If you need help, you can always call us to discuss your paper requirement.