FAQ on Research Paper Outline

What Is in a Research Paper?

A research paper is your opportunity to argue and prove a point or to analyze a specific perspective regarding a topic. Within it you need to show your own unique thinking and back it up with other’s thoughts and evidence to support the case that you have put forward. This will be written up in a very specific format according to the subject area in which you are doing your research. Your APA research paper outline and a research paper itself can take anything from a few weeks to a few years to complete if you are doing your doctorate. It all depends on its scope and the level at which you’re doing your research.

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What Is the Research Outline?

An outline, for example apa research paper outline, is a common way of aiding your writing and research. It allows you to fully organize your thoughts and ideas regarding what you will write and where it belongs within your paper. Done well an outline will make your research and writing very efficient and help you to minimize the amount of time you will spend on making revisions to your paper.

Many students, however, feel that writing an outline is an additional step in their research and one that they can skip. Skipping it, however, often results in missing information and having to do frequent revisions to what you are doing.

What Are the Steps of Writing a Research Paper?

A research paper is not something that you can just jump into feet first. It needs to be carefully planned and outlined if you are going to do an excellent job of it. The following are the typical stages that you will need to go through when writing a research paper:

How to Write Outline for a Research Paper?

Writing an effective outline does not have to be overly complex, nor does it have to be excessively time-consuming. Writing a research paper outline can be done by following the steps detailed here:

  • Use a standard template for your research paper structure to define the different sections within your overall paper
  • Within each section sketch out the specific areas that you will need to cover to provide the information for that section
  • For each main area that you need to cover create bullet points of the detail that you will need to provide; go to as many levels as required to cover everything that is needed in each section
  • Review your draft outline to ensure that it has a logical flow and that you have covered everything that you expect to write
  • Any areas in which you are unsure what to write you can clarify with your supervisor or by doing additional research in that area
  • What is an effective way of organizing information in an outline for a research paper?


If you are creating a senior project research paper outline you will want to organize your information in a way that will suit your own style of writing and thinking. For many people if they are outlining, for instance, the supporting evidence they may do so in a way similar to this:
  • What the piece of evidence is, including its source?
  • Why is it important?
  • What does this piece of evidence imply?
  • Why is it like this? Why does it work this way?
  • Is this really important? What are the implications?
  • How does this relate to my own thesis?
  • Are there any examples that I can present?

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