Research papers and essays are required assignments in high school and college. They are often considered among the most difficult homework assignments by students. The average research paper is a complex document that is often between 15 and 40 pages in length, depending on the topic and class requirements. In order to streamline the writing process and keep ideas in order and on track, a well written research paper outline is the key. In order to create the best outline, many students use the research outline template to assist in chronologically ordering their thoughts and ideas.
Once you have received your research paper assignment, it’s time to get started writing. You gather all of your resources and prepare your thesis statement. Feeling confident, you sit down at your desk and begin to write. Nothing. Even with a desk full of resources and a carefully composed thesis statement, you find you just have no idea where to start. This is known as ‘writers block’. Sitting down and staring at a blank piece of paper, or into the screen of a word processor with absolutely nothing to write can be a nightmare for students. However, a well written research paper outline will prevent the writer’s block nightmare from occurring, as your work flow has already been determined.
The research paper outline helps you to stay organized and centered on your paper. This will ensure that your research paper will be coherent and have a proper flow, and prevents you from digressing into unrelated topics. The outline serves to set boundaries. A well-crafted outline template for research paper prevents you from becoming overwhelmed. With an outline you are in control of your research paper as you are always aware of your goals. A well written research paper outline helps in the organization of your thoughts and ideas. While writing an outline can seem complex, many students find that using a research outline template can help ease the process of designing the perfect research paper. Indeed, by using a research outline template placing your resources, thoughts and ideas down on paper will be quick, easy, and hassle free.
How to Write a Research Paper Outline
When you are preparing to compose a winning essay or research paper, a properly written research outline is an asset. The research outline ensures that all of your ideas flow in a concise and efficient manner. Writing a successful college research paper involves taking time to prepare your paper by gathering all of your ideas, references and notes in one place, composing your outline, and writing your paper.
Topic Method or Sentence Method?
There are two types of research paper outlines: The sentence outline and the topic outline. The sentence method is where you write your outline in full sentences. The sentence method is used when you wish to place many details in your project outline template. The topic method is an outline that is constructed with words or short phrases. The topic method makes it easy for you to rearrange your ideas while you are writing.
Basic Elements of a Research Paper Outline
While there are variations of research paper outlines, some elements remain the same. We have included the basic elements of a research paper outline below. By following these basic steps, you should be able to begin to construct a basic research paper outline.
- Choose your method: Sentence or Topic
- Write your papers title
- Compose and write your thesis statement
- Gather your main points or arguments. List them using Roman Numbers: I, II, III, IV, V
- Each of your main points (I, II, III, etc.) will need to be supported. Indicate these supportive elements using upper case or lower case English alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, a, b, c, d, etc.
Below we have included some excellent examples of the Research Outline Template. Please feel free to study their structure and composition.
Action Research Outline Template
Sample Research Outline MLA Format
Research Report Outline Sample
Psychology Research Outline Template
Qualitative Research Outline Proposal Example
Scientific Research Paper Outline Example
How to Write a Scientific Research Paper Outline
How to Write a Research Paper Outline
Apa Research Paper Outline Template
Blank Research Paper Outline Template
Thesis Research Paper Outline Template
Research Paper Outline Template for College
Research Paper Outline Template for High School
Research Paper Outline Template for Middle School
Tips for Writing Your Research Paper Outline
- Identify Your Thesis Statement or Topic Sentence – The thesis statement is the heart of your research paper. This is what your essay or research paper is all about. All of your main categories work to support your thesis statement.
- Identify the Main Categories – These are going to be identified in your blank outline template as Roman Numerals: I, II, III, IV, etc. These are the points or arguments you intend to analyze in support of your thesis statement.
- Create Your Subcategories – The subcategories represent the facts you will use to support your main category. These will be identified in your research paper outline format as letters of the English alphabet: A, B, C, D, a, b, c, d, etc. In other words, your main categories support your thesis statement, and your subcategories support your main categories.
- Your Outline is Not a Book – In other words, don’t overwork your outline. The purpose of your outline is as a guide only, not an essay in itself. Keep it short and to the point. A good rule of thumb is that a research paper of 15 to 20 pages should have an outline that is no longer than 4 pages.