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Research Paper Outline Help: Things to Remember

Research paper outline writing is not a task for freshers: one needs to have a certain level of expertise and writing practice to cope with it well. Such outlines have to be structured properly, with all the elements in the right position. Moreover, depending on the required referencing style, they have to include correct citations and be formatted appropriately. Obviously, this is not one of the easiest assignments, and many students prefer to order research paper outlines from online companies.
If you also choose this option, EssaysLeader.com is always at your service, ready to compose a flawless outline for your research paper. In case you want to face the challenge and work on this writing on your own, read on to see the basics of research paper outline writing.


What is an Outline for a Research Paper?

Naturally, to be able to write a research paper outline, one must know what this kind of writing is about and what it should include. Just like any other outline, the research paper outline serves the purpose of helping the author to stay focused and well organized while working on the study. Since research paper is a voluminous and complex kind of paper that includes many sections and tons of information, it is easy to be carried away in the writing process and get off one’s track. This may lead to the researcher’s ideas being scattered around the paper and having a much weaker effect than when placed appropriately. With the help of an outline, the researcher can stick to the main idea and follow a clear plan of writing. As for the readers, they can also find the outline useful, as it is a sort of a table of contents that shows the order of sections in the paper.
Outline is often optional for small papers, but it is irreplaceable for the works that contain 4 pages and more. An outline is the best tool for organizing one’s paper, and it is always beneficial for the result of writing.

How to Write a Research Paper Outline: The Basics

As a rule, the content of the outline depends on the number of sections and chapters the research paper includes. While this number may vary in different topics, there are still some basic elements that are to be included in every research paper outline. Here they are:

  • Research problem – this section defines the conflict or question the research paper attempts to address and solve.
  • Topic – a concise explanation of what sphere and direction the paper is devoted to.
  • Relevance – this part explains why the research questions chosen matter and how this particular study will be able to contribute to them.
  • Research purpose – this section lists the goals your study has set. It must present some clear and measurable goals that you aim at reaching.
  • Hypothesis – based on the analysis of the current state of the chosen academic field and the studied topic, you need to formulate a research hypothesis, some idea that you assume to be correct and you will attempt to prove your assumption with your paper. Remember to make your hypothesis realistic and linked to some previous studies.
  • Research objectives – this section mentions the specific and clear aims of your study, both in terms of theoretic research and practical experiments.
  • Literature review – here, you need to place your study into a context by finding the existing literature on the topic and the major studies that discovered some facts. This part also highlights the gaps in previous studies and shows the possible directions of further research.
  • Research methodology – this section shows the methods, techniques, and tools that are the most suitable for studying the particular research problem and reaching the desired goals.
  • Research results – here, the author discusses the findings of their own study. As a rule, this section contains the biggest amount of mathematical data and measurable information and its interpretation. Besides simply listing the discovered numbers and correlations, the researcher also has to discuss how they relate to the existing knowledge in the field and how they contribute to the topic as a whole.
  • Conclusion – the final section has to summarize the paper briefly, analyzing whether the findings of the current study managed to reach the targets mentioned at the beginning of the paper. In addition, the conclusion is supposed to show other researchers the direction for future studies.
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MLA Research Paper Outline Writing

MLA is one of the most widely used referencing styles in academic writing all over the world. It is used for tasks on Humanities, but can also be applied in other spheres. The rules of its use are familiar to all the scholars, and our article reviews them for your convenience.

One of the peculiar characteristics of MLA outlines is the special formatting of the headings. The numeration of the main chapters is provided in Roman numbers, for example: i, ii, iii, etc., while the additional sections are marked with alphabet letters: A, B, C, etc. The other subsections are listed with the traditional Arabic numbers: 1,2,3, etc.
In the outline, remember to mention all the parts of the research paper, not only its key sections. This means that the abstract, the outline, the list of references, the appendix and all the other additional parts of the work must be listed in the outline.

Here are a couple of useful tips to remember while working on an MLA outline:

  1. Make sure that the headings and subheadings of different levels have a proper positioning in the document. Namely, the spacing from the left side should increase for every next level of the heading.
  2. Remember to save your typing from time to time, and save your outline in a separate document to be able to retrieve it in case your major working file is lost.
  3. Have the MLS manual in front of your eyes while writing. This way, you can consult on every nuance of formatting and avoid editing your paper later.

Research Paper Outline Elements

Before writing your outline, make sure to study all the instructions you receive from your professor. If there is a rubrics file or an example work provided to you, read it carefully and see how you should handle your assignment. Then, make a draft, listing the main sections of your future paper. Later, add subsections and additional parts within your chapters. Finally, add the formal parts of the research paper to your outline, such as works cited and title page. While your paper is being written, you can rearrange the plan slightly, adjusting it to the work you do.

Here are the basic elements every research paper outline should include:

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • List of references
  • Appendix

APA Research Paper Outline Format

APA is another referencing style that is very popular in educational institutions all over the world. It is clear, simple, and easy to use. Here is how an average APA format outline might look.

How an average APA format outline might look
How an average APA format outline might look (mobile)

Order Your Research Paper Outline Online

Although it seems to be clear how to compose a research paper outline, it does not mean the writing process is simple. All the small details and requirements regarding the outline’s content and format make it a challenging piece of writing. In addition, it has to be revised and proofread several times, which always takes many hours of time. Since busy students cannot afford to devote a couple of days to a single responsible assignment, they often require help with their outlines. Luckily, they have EssaysLeader.com to share their burden and assist with this kind of writing.

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The best feature of our online writing service is our flexibility, which allows you to place an order with virtually any parameters. In our team, we have specialists from various academic fields, so we can handle assignments on any discipline and topic. Our writers are familiar with all formats and referencing styles, so you can choose MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, or any other one you need, and have your paper done in accordance with the given citing rules. We will do everything you need us to do, as long as you send us detailed instructions.

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