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A Guide on How to Write a Research Paper Outline

How to Create a Structured Research Paper Outline

A research paper is a scientific or academic document that involves surveying a field of knowledge to get the most accurate data on the topic. It is written in a formal style. Students of elementary and middle school do not face this complicated assignment, while high school, college, and university students should be ready to face this challenge.

A good research paper writing process starts with organizing the workflow. Students should know every step of creating this document. That is what will prevent you from sitting in front of a blank paper for hours, having no idea where to start from.

In your career, you may face the need to write research papers. That is why it's essential to master this art while you're a school, college, or graduate student.

WiseEssays is the best organizer for you. It will both structure your research paper or proposal properly and meet the deadline. Our experts can imitate your writing style so that your teachers will be sure that the piece was written for you. Now, let's have a closer look at what makes a great research paper.

Research Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

We would like to share a detailed guide on crafting an outline. Thorough research is the first step to success, so we'll start with it.

  1. Choose your topic or come up with a research question. We recommend detecting keywords that relate to the topic. Finally, provide some background info.
  2. Locate info search strategy. Start looking for different types of content (websites, books, posts, etc.) that might be useful. Be sure to choose only trustworthy sources that are no older than 3-5 years. Purdue OWL and other sites ending with .edu or .gov would be reliable sources.
  3. Assess the data gathered. Compare primary vs. secondary sources, qualitative vs. quantitative data. Make certain verdicts and put them down in a draft.
  4. Prepare literature review or annotated bibliography. Cite sources or put down references for further usage in your research.

Before conducting an in-depth study, you should decide on the topic first. Sometimes, a teacher may provide you with an idea. However, often, students have to choose the topic related to the subject they study on their own. Here are some possible titles for a research paper:

  • What are the examples of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?
  • What are the most effective methods to treat type II diabetes?
  • Relationship between Analytical Thinking Skill and Scientific Argumentation Using PBL
  • Is cancer still a disease that any medicine cannot cure?
  • The correlation between child obesity and depression
  • Drug trafficking in the countries of Latin America
  • Preliminary investigation under Rule 112: when is it required?
  • The significance of the civil war for the African Americans
  • The main reasons for teen violence like bullying in schools
  • Reasons for the failure of a new learning system

After collecting the relevant information, the process of writing an outline begins. If you order a paper from WiseEssays, the local writers will do everything for you, from collecting data and analyzing it to writing a paper from scratch. With our new "hot" discounts, it will only cost you $12.71 per page with our new "hot" discounts!

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

Unlike an English essay, a research paper has more sections. In a research paper, make sure that you have:

  1. A title page with your personal information, such as name and more
  2. The abstract with a brief general info
  3. The introduction
  4. Methods or procedures
  5. Outcomes or findings
  6. Discussion or conclusion
  7. Reference list
  8. Appendixes

Some parts can be optional. For example, graphics, charts, and tables, as well as their explanations, are not always needed.


That is the right place to set up your research problem. The main idea is to stress the significance of your research and prove that this issue matters to the community.

The primary goals include grabbing the audience's attention, providing background on the topic, and developing a thesis statement. List the reasons for analyzing the specific question. The intro part of this work may vary, depending on if an author wants to construct an argument by engaging with different sources or offer findings of empirical research that they conducted personally.


This basic part should contain evidence to support the thesis statement. It is the bulk of your work. This section shows up between the introductory part and conclusion. Its length should be proportional to the entire paper's length. However, it is better to stick to the word count suggested by your teacher or professor.


It is the last obligatory section of a research paper, excluding the references page. One paragraph is often enough. Here, a writer should wrap up their ideas and leave a robust impression on the audience so that they realize the essence of the problem or even decide to continue research on their own. The primary objectives of a good conclusion are: restating the main topic and summing up the results.

Thesis/Purpose Statement

Don't confuse it with a thesis as a separate lengthy assignment, similar to a dissertation. A thesis statement is a sentence or few that sums up the main argumentative point(s) of your work. It is the perfect way to end an intro. A writer should sound persuasive in their thesis to show the true value of their work.

Outlining Video

On our platform, you can find and view some useful educational materials. One of them is a video on how to create an outline.

Related Resources

You should operate with relevant, trusted sources only. For instance, if your topic is death, you may retrieve stats and facts from websites like CDC, Our World in Data, WHO, ONS, and more.

The Format of Research Paper Outline

If it is not simple for you to cite papers using academic formats, just let us know. Our experts will cope with this task better than online citation generators.


The Modern Language Association has developed this format for students and scientific organizations to follow when writing their papers. Most often, MLA is applied to projects in humanities.


That is the second most popular formatting style. The full name is The American Psychological Association. Writers use APA to format docs like scholarly journals and books. Most often, this format is applied to works in the field of social sciences and psychology.

Examples of Research Paper Outlines

If you review these samples of outlines, you'll have an idea of how this part of an assignment looks and why it is helpful. You can also find free paper templates on our website. They are available for download in PDF or Microsoft Word.

Why Use an Outline?

That is your writing plan. It will lead you to the perfect project and the highest grade. Of course, our service will maximize your chances of getting an A. Anyway, an outline is the structure of your paper. It makes no sense to start working on an assignment without having this clear plan.

If you order an informative research paper from WiseEssays, our writers will prepare an outline for you and send it as a draft upon your request. Whether you need to do an assignment for sociology, history, human resources, legal studies, nursing, psychology, social science, global warming, or else - you will always find a professional writer and researcher in one face on our site. We'll take care of every section that should be in your project!

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