When writing a research paper, the writer takes a position and convinces the readers that it’s accurate and true. The student follows specific academic writing guidelines during the research, writing, and editing process. A research paper outline acts as a guide helping the writer to provide a point by point evidence in a systematic way.

The process of writing an outline is often challenging to many students. Each student must spend enough time thinking and reading about the features that make the best outline. The writer starts with a blank document and then progresses to create a lengthy paper based on research, brainstorming, and following guidelines. Here are easy steps to follow when writing a research paper outline.

What Are the Main Features of a Research Paper?

Before you begin to create an outline, you must understand the key features of a research paper. It is created through extensively researching for information, analyzing it, critical thinking, and extensive time. The scholar seeks to answer specific questions observed from gaps or needs in a situation. They look at the available information, collect new data and then expand it logically. The process is often challenging but the student can get help from college paper writing service professionals. The outline for research paper is based on its key features.

Key Features of a Research Paper

  • The Main Topic: It is the main subject under investigation and it can either be a hypothesis or a research question.
  • The Abstract: It states the research question, study purpose, key findings, and conclusion
  • Paper Outline: It shows how the paper is organized
  • Introduction Section: It reveals key details of the question, methodology used, key findings, and conclusion.
  • Literature Review: It provides a review of information from past research by other scholars
  • Research Methodology: Provides information about the techniques of research used when gathering data.
  • Research Results: Provides information about the key findings of the research.
  • Discussion: This section provides a review of the gathered information and compares it with previous results by other scholars
  • Recommendations: Provides workable solutions based on the research outcomes
  • Limitations: Discusses limitations or weak points noted during research that gave or could have given different results
  • Conclusion: Provides a summary of the entire research and concluding thoughts

Simple Steps to Follow When Writing a Research Paper Outline

A research paper outline provides scholars with clear guidance throughout the writing process. It is important to learn how to write a research paper outline because each differs based on the type of paper involved. The different sections of a research paper help the writer to build a relevant outline.

Decide The Type of Research Paper You Want to Write

There are different types of research papers and each requires a different approach when writing. The type of outline used should be based on the type of paper in question.

Types of Research Papers

  • Argumentative
  • Analytical
  • Interpretative
  • Survey
  • Definitive
  • Compare and contrast
  • Experimental
  • Cause and effect

Decide On the Topic

The lecturer may provide a topic but sometimes they will only provide a prompt. The scholar needs to choose a topic that they find interesting and easy to argue. One of the ways to choose a topic is to read topic examples online. Another way is to read research paper writing guides or papers written by other scholars.

Research Information

There is a wide range of resources a student can use to gather information. The writer needs to gather enough support by engaging in extensive research. They should gather several main ideas and then have several supporting points for each idea. If the writers seem not to gather enough information for their topic, the best solution is to change it. If they cannot get enough information during research, there will be a problem when writing their paper.

Create The Outline

Writing a research paper outline requires following a systematic style. The writer may decide to follow an alpha-numeric style where they write the outline in point form. This type of outline is less detailed and may require further reference from the gathered information. The other style to follow is a full sentence where the writer provides more details in their outline. They should use the same type of word when starting each section, such as verbs or nouns.

Consider The Research Paper's Key Features

Follow the key features of a research paper and include a detailed outline for each.

Outline Features Based On Research Paper Sections

These are the main outline features the scholar must include. If the student has any challenges writing, they can refer to an outline example for research paper for ideas. The areas to focus on are as follows:

  • Craft the outline for the introductory paragraph
  • Include supporting points for the introductory paragraph
  • Create a reasonable thesis statement.
  • Create an outline for the body paragraphs. Each point begins with an introduction and then addresses the point. If the paper has five sections, prepare the points for each section and the minor points supporting the main points.
  • Create an outline for the concluding paragraph. The paragraph is a restatement of the thesis statement and a summary of the entire paper.
  • Add some ideas: the writer may need to change some ideas or tweak them. It is necessary to add several ideas that they can use if the need arises. The additional points should not be different from the ideas as in the strong points that can be used to make a convincing argument.


A research paper outline provides a useful guide in the process of writing. It provides a basic structure that must be followed to create a well-organized and attractive paper. A student should include all important information that is required in their paper. It helps organize the thoughts of the writer to ensure they forget nothing when writing. A clear outline helps the writer understand how information should flow based on how each is related to the other.