Research paper outline: professional writing tips

An outline is a statement that defines the whole project. It is essential to develop a framework about what you think and writes in your paper. Moreover, an outline assists in predicting the overall structure as well as decides the paper flow.

To write the paper for your final project is a tricky challenge. Therefore, you have to write a sophisticated or creative outline. Furthermore, the outline must cover all ideas that you are going to discuss in your paperwork. Plus, you should know what order of ideas you should follow. In short, the outline is an effective way to think about how you will complete the research paper. The shortlist form will keep you organized and will help in finishing each step without the mess.

Why is the outline critical?

A creative and good outline plays a significant role in making your final book impressive. So work on it because of the following key benefits.

Your paper will be unique and does not match the original content. It will define how you will going to write your essay. You set goals to wind up each section of the paper.

Moreover, you will stay focused as well as stay organized. Plus, it will help in maintaining coherence in the final paper. It must not be a straight jacket instead should give a view of the guide. When your professor goes through the understand the objective, methodology, and evidence of your research immediately. You have to use the outline to set boundaries around each topic to find what you have investigated.

You stay motivated with your outline. Don’t think creating an outline is an overwhelming rater; rather, it will be interesting if you first set a strategy in your mind and then make it on paper.

The outline also assists in organizing the different ideas about the topic. Sometimes a person faces a variety of perspectives and seems stuck into it. If you create the proper outline, you will know which mode of analysis is suitable to explain the findings and investigation.

Last but not least aspect of the research paper outline is the organization of your thoughts. It acts as the schedule for your writing, and you accomplish all your tasks accordingly. Thus the well-prepared outline format will help you writing your whole project conveniently as you follow up the plan and complete the final paper successfully.

Step one: What structure and writing style you should adopt?

To make an outline structure appropriately, you should adopt the right approaches and your way of writing, also for thesis statement.

General approaches

To write the best outline for your research paper, you should follow the right approach. There are generally two approaches. You can adopt any one of these. 

Topic outline

It is the short phrase that helps you dealing with multiple issues that you have to arrange in different ways in your research booklet. You can create great content by using simple sentences and adding authentic stuff to build an appealing paper.

Sentence outline

Another approach you have to do a sentence outline by making a good line. It is a fundamental approach to use when you are facing complex issues. It is significant as it describes the overall detail of the topic you will explain and will help build the paper well organized. By using this approval, you use the details sentence that goes on each page. Thus, ere you will not create an outline with short phrases.

Step two: outline.

After electing the approach, you want to follow for your outline. The next step is to outline by using the following steps and factors.

Identification of research problem.

To make an outline impressive first, you have to determine the research problem. It is the focal point that makes the base of your system. Try to sum up the issue of your topic in one sentence or phrase. Moreover, it will also help in deciding the title of your research paper.

Identification for the categories of paper

Another essential part of the outline is that you should know what categories you will focus on. What type of analysis you will do. The introduction will dictate your research methodology and describe what your work description is.

Creating the first category

It is an essential part of your outline. It is based on the type of topic you have chosen. If your paper is about the terminology or some complicated terms, then start by defining that term. In contrast, if you are writing about some application or testing methods, it is good to explain the particular application or testing method’s background.

Creating subcategories

Now describe different points and aspects you have covered in your research. You can make different subcategories, and it depends on the information you have. There is no specific number of subheadings. Only use appropriate, don’t do over stuffing keep it relevant.

It is a crucial step to develop the format of the outline. Once you create it move towards the research appear ad start writing your paper in an organized way.

What should you consider while outlining?

Although following the steps of outline making seems easy when you start making it, you sometimes get stuck on specific points. In such a situation, it is essential to focus on the following factors for creating an impressive and well-aligned outline for the research paper.

Choose an appropriate approach

There is no rule that you have to choose the sentence or topic approach. There is no strictness that you have to select the particular one, instead, pick the one you can think you can easily manage. Choose that you feel you can work best with it. But once you choose to stick on that particular do not switch to another. You may get confused and may not able to prepare your outline nicely.

Use of right fonts

The research outline is prepared with specific fonts. You have to use the Roman and Arabic numerals with small or capital letters for both sentences or topic summaries. Make sure all are written in a rigid and consistent sequence. If you need to hand in your outline, you should pick the strict format for your outline.

Moreover, for the rigid type of format, you should not be inflexible about your paper writing. Even if you don’t know about the topic or unfamiliar with the description, you should anticipate that your investigation may go in multiple directions. If you think you need to add some point in the middle of a category or subcategory, you can reorganize your outline.

Use chronological order

To organize the main points, you can use chronological order if appropriate. Use the same manner of ordering categories in outline, especially when writing on history or chronology. It is easy for you to arrange and you can complete your outline in a short time.

Outline length also matters

If you are writing a standard research paper of 15 to 20 pages, your outline must not be more than 2 to 3 pages. Don’t write extra information on the outline and keep it appropriate.

These are a few things you have to consider before making your outline. Once you plan in mind, it will be easy for you to create the best outline for your research paper.

What quality outline depicts?

A quality online helps you writing the research paper efficiently. It aids you to organize your thoughts, enables you to understand the flow of information. Perhaps, it assists in relating the idea. Lastly, it ensures you that you will not forget any point while complaining about your research book.

Another benefit is that your perfect outline will help your teacher know how good is your final product.

An example to help you understand the outline

Research paper outlines are somewhat detailed form. You can get guidance from your teacher or by reading your seniors’ thesis to knows about outlining. For your convenience here is a present example of the outline with the topic Measles and its vaccination. Let’s check how to write its outline.


  • Define Measles,
  • The rise in cases where it was eliminated or had a low infection rate,
  • Figures —Number of cases annually, as well as a number in previous years. Immunization and its effects.


  • Timeframes and symptoms of the Disease,
  • Death risk, including statistics,
  • How Disease spread and causes?


  • Process of immunization in various regions of the world,
  • Debate on immunization, two sides of Disease: reasons to recommend vaccination and why it is essential to do group questioning?
  • Different countries, focusing on the reasons for doing immunization.


  • Outbreaks in Thailand, America and Australia,
  • Number of immunization in different regions,
  • Non-immunization regions facing a high number of measles patients.


  • Other diseases cause measles,
  • Illness may result due to the presence of measles virus,
  • Death of patient due to the fact of measles.


  • Summary of reasons by different groups,
  • Overview of relationship and figures related to immunization discussion Conclusion based on the information gathered during research,
  • Final thoughts and results?

Download this sample

Formatting this for a research paper outline

You can write your outline by using one of the three writing and formatting styles. These include alphanumeric, decimal or full sentence type. Each one is correct, and you can pick that think you can easily handle. Alphanumeric is the most common type of writing style. Students prefer because it is easy to write. It uses the Roman numerals, Arabic numerals capitalized letters, and low case letters to maintain information flow. You write short notes rather than writing the full sentences.

For example:


A. First Point   


a. subcategory

What languages do you use in a research paper outline?

To write a persuasive outline for your paper, it is essential to focus on the language. It is necessary when all academic records are assessed based on your report. There is mainly four consideration while writing your outline with formal language. These include parallelism, subordination, division and coordination


It is the parallel structure. It means it is the reputation or the grammatical form in a particular sentence. Or you repeat that in point or sub-point. For example, f your first point is in the verb form that sub-point also describes some action. For example:

A. Introduce the debate of immunization, two sides addressing: why to recommend immunization and why the need for groups questioning it

  1. Include multiple countries, focusing on the different questions and suggestion from those who don’t want immunization.


In this type, the subheadings you choose must include the same results as all first sub-points, and other categories include. For example
A. Introduce outbreaks in America, China, Thailand

  1. Include the number of immunization in affected countries
    B. Outline dangers due to measles and relationship with other diseases,
  2. Illnesses that occurs due to the measles virus.


Subordination is the writing style in which you separate general points from the specific one. Choose the main headings that are general while the subcategory must be distinct.


A. Outline dangers due to measles and connection to other diseases

  1. Illnesses that occurs from the measles virus
  2. Death rate and causes of other illnesses when a patient suffered from measles


In this type, you divide your headings into maximum subheadings. Or you make sub-sections. There is no limit to how many subsections you create. It all depends on the data you have. Make sure your outline must be well structures and don’t go overboard with al sub-points. These are four writing languages you can follow, like for case studies

Final verdict

Writing an outline for a research paper need focus and time. Moreover, it needs special attention. If you want to generate an impressive paper, then first write the well-aligned outline. It will not help you compile your report conveniently, but your teacher will also get an idea of how you worked and your paper’s quality. So be focused, spend some time outlining to write the best paper.

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