Research Paper Outline – everything you need to know

Research papers are required to write more often than not by the college and university students. Have you written one for your academic career so far? Are you looking to know what has to be the outline for your research paper? You will get everything in this blog. You need to be sure about the deadline of your research paper, so you can plan it accordingly. Research papers are written to give detailed information on a certain topic by explaining all the nitty-gritty of a topic. It is totally scientific writing, and there must be scientifically proved pieces of information in your research paper. Making an outline is of great importance to keep your research paper on track. There is a possibility that you will forget lots of points during your research paper writing, but your outline cannot let you forget anything. You can rely on the outline of a research paper because it is like a “skeleton” of your research paper.

Splitting the research paper into many parts can make the job of a writer a lot easier. Making an outline can give you a chance to put appropriate pieces of information in appropriate sections. Once you make the research paper outline, all you have to do is put the data into the sections to complete one great research paper. It is recommended to focus on a single section of a research paper at a time to do it flawlessly. If your research paper has an outline, you can meet your deadline at will by dividing the chapters or sections of your research paper. Do you know what an outline means? Do you have an idea of how to make an outline for a research paper? Let’s study in detail.

What has to be the outline of a research paper?

An outline for a research paper can be defined as the plan for research. This is like a normal assignment, but it involves scientific knowledge as well. There will be lots of mistakes and errors in the research paper that can be minimized with the help of an outline. You can make the shape of your research paper as well with the help of an outline. Here, we are going to let you know how to make an outline for a research paper. After reading this blog, you will be able to write a research paper with an astonishing outline.

  1. Title
    The reader will either read your research paper or ignore it just on the basis of your title. It has to be very precise and according to the taste of your target audience. A title is the one that can set the tone for your research paper. The title has to be as short as possible, so avoid writing extra and irrelevant words.
  2. Thesis statement
    The entire research paper revolves around the thesis statement. Here, you need to let the readers know whether you are in favor of a certain topic or you are against the topic. It is necessary to write the thesis statement in your research paper to make your intentions clear, and to let the people know which side you are on.
  3. Supporting arguments
    In order to back and support your thesis statement, you need to write related and genuine arguments. After the selection of a topic, you will either be in favor or against, so gather your arguments accordingly. No matter which side you are on, you need to have plenty of arguments to prove your point.
  4. Supporting point
    Research paper writing is not an ordinary form of writing. You need to back each and every word with the help of some scientific facts. Your research paper will only tick all the boxes if you manage to add some scientific facts in your research paper.
  5. Conclusion
    Conclusion is as necessary as the introduction for a research paper. Everyone needs to end on a high. Your conclusion will have to prove your point, and it will definitely be convincing enough to mold the minds of your readers. Remember one thing; it is your conclusion, not the summary of your research paper. This is the reason you are only obliged to write precisely and to the point.

This is the structure of an outline for a research paper. The outline can be varied depending on your level of education. If you are writing a research paper for your college, the format and outline will be different to what you will write in your university life. The outline must cover each and every bit of your topic. If you don’t know how to make an outline for your research paper, read this guide entirely, and you will be able to make an outline that can get the job done for your research paper. It is suggested to seek guidance from research paper experts, but if you have decided to write your research paper on your own, this guide will serve as a one-stop solution for all of your research paper related inquires.

The research paper outline template consists of:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Body
    • A. Literature overview
    • B. Research methods
    • C. Analysis
    • D. Results
    • E. Perspectives
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Now, we are going to study all the points in detail to make this guide even more productive for you. Shall we begin?

Outline of a research paper
Research Paper Outline Template


Abstract is like a summary of a research paper. A perfect abstract for a research paper should have no more than five to six sentences. With the help of your abstract, you can give a summary to your audience, so they can get to know about the contents of your research paper just after reading the abstract. Abstract must be written in the form of a single paragraph having no more than 200-250 words. Immediately after the title page comes the abstract of your research paper. People these days don’t have a lot of time, which is why they try to just read the abstracts to select the best one according to their interests. The writer has to be very selective as far as the addition of data is concerned because only 200-250 words can be there in an abstract. Your abstract is the first thing your readers will read. This is why it has to be very impactful.


Right after the abstract comes the introduction of your research paper. Your introduction will set the tone for your research paper. In your introduction, you are supposed to explain your topic entirely. If your topic has some difficult terminologies, you are bound to define those terms for your audience. In order to hook your readers, your thesis statement must be there in your introduction. A tremendous definition of your topic is required, followed by a bit of explanation (necessary).

The goal of writing an introduction for a research paper is to make your audience familiar with your topic. Make sure to keep it as simple as possible, so even an individual not very good at reading can understand your point easily. Easily understandable introductions can give you the success as far as the research paper is concerned. Once you able to hook your readers, they will not leave your research paper, and they will make sure to read it thoroughly. Consider your introduction make or break point for your research paper.

Body of your research paper

This is the lengthiest most parts of any research paper. You can add as many paragraphs as you want. If you have some instructions and guidelines from your institute regarding the length of your body paragraphs, make sure to follow the length. If it is up to you to add paragraphs, make sure to add until you feel you have successfully explained your topic to satisfy your readers. Along with essential pieces of information, make sure to add some evidences as well to back your thesis statement. In your body paragraphs, you must have to choose a side to give your arguments. In your research paper body, it is recommended to let the readers know why the chosen topic was selected and how you are going to innovate it with your ideas.

Review of the literature

This is one of the most important paragraphs as far as the credibility of your research paper is concerned. There The topic you have chosen must have some work done on it in the past. In the review of the literature, you need to write about the work of some previous scientists. In order to make your research more reliable, you are supposed to relate the work of some previous scientists with your work to prove your point. Here, make your readers aware of the significance of your topic.

Data and analysis

Data and analysis is one of the customized most sections of a research paper. Here, you will need to write about the results you have obtained as a result of your conducted research. Whether the results are significant tor not, you are obliged to write all of your results to give your audience an insight into your research. If your topic requires some graphs and tables, go for it an add those in your research paper. Write this chapter in a way that can impress your audience. State your findings in a way that the readers believe your work has contributed to the betterment of this world. Only writing about the benefits of your research will make it look like a scam. What have advantages should have disadvantages, right? Make sure to write about the demerits and drawbacks of your research, so the new scientists can improve your work.


This is the last chapter of a research paper. This is a chapter of a research paper that should not have any new pieces of information. The work you have done and the results you have obtained can be there in your conclusion. Try to end your research paper on a high. It is suggested to restate the thesis statement in a research paper but in a bit of a different way. Formulating the prospects for the future can also make your conclusion more credible, authentic, and genuine.

Data and analysis
Research Paper Outline

Template of MLA research paper outline

MLA format is widely used in research papers. When you are asked to follow MLA format, you need to take care of certain rules and regulations. Even if the format is not MLA, but APA, Chicago, or anything else, following the guidelines is necessary. The font size, font style, headings, subheadings, all must be according to the format. Most of the students ignore giving importance to the format, which leads to the failure in this section.  

  • The name of the students and the name of the professor has to be on the first page. On the first page of your MLA paper, make sure to write the date and your class or semester.
  • Header must be there at the top of your page, having page numbers on it.
  • All of the titles which you are using for your research paper must be written in Italics as per rule.
  • Before writing the cited work, it is necessary to complete the list by using the software endnote. It is one of the compulsions of MLA format.
  • The subheadings of your research paper must be marked with Arabic numbers when you are dealing with the MLA format for your research paper.

Tips for creating a good MLA outline format

  • Make sure to get assistance from some of the books, articles, journals, videos, and etc. to get an idea about the proper citation keeping the MLA format in mind.
  • If you have some guidelines given to you from your teacher regarding the use of MLA format for your research paper, stick to those guidelines. As far as MLA format is concerned, there is no need to feature a title page.
  • Before you submit your research paper, cross-check the format twice. If you think there are some issues in your citations, get help from a professional to make sure either the delivered work is error-free or not.

Before writing a research paper outline

Selection of a suitable topic

Before start writing a research paper, it is paramount to select a topic of your choice. When you are choosing a topic for your research paper, make sure to study all the pros and cons of your selected topic. Do not take this step for granted. Some of the students often skip this step due to the shortage of time. Selecting a suitable topic can guarantee you the success of your research paper. If you have been assigned a topic by your professor or institute, it will be good enough for you. If the choice is all yours, make sure to choose a topic of your feasibility, so you can conduct your research properly.  

State your arguments

Now, the topic has been selected. What to do now? When you are done with the selection of a topic for your research paper, you will have to find some reliable and sound arguments to back your topic. Search for the answers to some questions like “why the topic is important?” and “how will it improve the world in certain ways?” The readers will expect you to come up with some points that can change their opinion. You can only find those arguments and points if you have a reasonable amount of knowledge on your topic.

Know your audience

All of your arguments and your hard work will go in vain if you fail to know your audience. It is essential to get an idea about the people who will read your research paper. For example, if your target audience loves to read a research paper on automobiles, and you are doing your hard work on medicines, what will be the benefit? Only the people of your field will read your research paper in order to make them aware of the topic. Make sure to know either the jargon words can work for you, or the simple language can work for your research paper.

Do your research

If you think you can write on a topic because you have great writing skills without conducting any sort of research, it is not going to happen. Getting some pieces of information for your research paper from multiple websites is suggested. Always come up with some brilliant proofs to back your data. These proofs can only be gathered with the help of a research. Make sure to add general information in your research paper, so the audience can understand your point entirely.

Cite your sources

Adding references at the end of your work is necessary to prove the truthfulness of any research paper. References are the proofs that you have visited multiple sources, and you have only added credible shreds of information in your research paper. Make suet to know which format of references are accepted in your institute and write your references accordingly. There are lots of formats available for reference writing like MLA, APA, Chicago, and etc.

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