How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper of A+ Level?

How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper of A+ Level?
Table of Contents
  1. How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper of A+ Level?
  2. What is a Research Paper?
  3. How to Write a Research Paper?
  4. What is an Outline for a Research Paper?
  5. MLA Research Paper Outline Basics
  6. Keep in mind these tips to come up with an outline using MLA!
  7. How to Write a Detailed Outline for a Research Paper?
  8. Title Page
  9. Abstract
  10. Introduction
  11. Methodology
  12. Results & Discussion
  13. Conclusion
  14. References
  15. Research Paper Outline Format: List of Elements
  16. APA Outline Format
  17. Free Research Paper Outline Example
  18. Example: “Writing Winning Admissions Essay Based on College Standards”
  19. Select target colleges
  20. Get ready with application
  21. Discuss significant personal details like internship
  22. MLA or APA Format – Research Paper Outline Help is Close

The introduction opens the essay, its body provides several arguments supported by the credible evidence, and the conclusion ends up the essay by restating thesis and providing a summary. That is a general answer to the question, “how to write a research paper outline?” Learning how to write a research paper outline is a more complex process. The article covers its main elements and provides valuable examples.

A student who has some doubts left after reading this tutorial should keep in mind he/she can avoid troubles with homework by hiring professional academic writers online. These people can handle both essay outline and a full paper from A to Z.

What is a Research Paper?

“What is a research paper?” This question worries plenty of college students who receive their first assignments after graduating from school. What is its official definition? It is a type of academic assignment that analyzes a perspective or argues an idea with the help of evidence collected form the primary and secondary sources. It means working with stacks of articles trying to find the relevant information. A writer should include personal thoughts on the topic in addition to sources.

Example: A lawyer may study multiple cases and apply them to support personal case. A student who studies world’s history and needs to write about World War II might go through journal articles, related books, and interview outtakes to come up with a powerful thesis and support it with evidence.

How to Write a Research Paper?

Keep in mind these stages to understand how to write a research paper:

The best option is to send the final draft to the professional online editors to avoid mistakes! Move on to learn how to outline a paper and review some of the best examples written by the professional academic writers.

What is an Outline for a Research Paper?

What is an outline for a research paper and how to write an outline for a research paper? The primary thing is to provide a clear definition. An academic project outline is an action plan a student prepares not to get lost during the process of writing, and this piece reflects the main points of the text. It is similar to the table of contents. The main goal of this writing element is to keep track of the author’s ideas, acting as a roadmap for content. Thanks to the fact a writing plan makes it possible to find links between various fields, the student succeeds with amalgamating and evaluating the work. It prevents a student from repeating his words.

An outline is a must when a student has to deal with a brief assignment of 1000 words or less. In case of a longer project, it is hard to imagine a successful writing process without any obstacles if the outline is missing. A student risks getting overwhelmed without a plan. That is why they should know how to write a research outline.

A typical outline for research paper looks this way:

  • Research paper title page
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

It is impossible to cope with a 10,000-word dissertation without learning how to write a detailed outline for a research paper. If the person writes an MLA 5-paragraph essay, the outline goes at the beginning. It is shorter than a table of contents and does not have to specify the number of pages. Once you are done with the draft, present the draft of an outline for a paper to the teacher to get feedback at the initial stage of work.

MLA Research Paper Outline Basics

How to write a thesis outline for a research paper using MLA? MLA is the simplest academic essay paper format established by the Modern Language Association. It is applied to the assignments written for the English Composition, History, Literature, and some other humanitarian classes.

Provide the main headings like ‘introduction’ and ‘Method’ is the upper-case Roman numerals, I, ii, iii, etc. If a student wants to break the major sections in the subsections, he/she should do that with the help of letters A, B as a next level, numbers 1, 2 as a 3rd level, and other ways to subdivide categories.

The primary MLA research paper outline is the draft. No need to include plenty of details when working on a draft but put the things in the correct order not to get lost in the middle of the writing process. An outline helps to determine the way a student will build other important sections such as Literature Review. Will it appear in chronological or alphabetical sequence?

Keep in mind these tips to come up with an outline using MLA!

  1. Students who apply Word or OpenOffice should check whether the different levels of the outline for research paper MLA (I, A, 1, a, i) match the headings in the Word processing software – Heading 1, etc. It will be easy to generate a table of contents based on such outline.
  2. Keep every draft of the outline to use it in case the previous one fails the mission.
  3. Read the detailed MLA writing guide before getting started. Check the instructor’s prompt twice to make sure MLA is what he/she needs from you (in other situations, a student may have to follow APA principles).

How to Write a Detailed Outline for a Research Paper?

Have a look at the offered example of an outline for a research paper after observing the details.

Title Page

A title/cover page is the shortest part of the project. The title should not be overlong and unwieldy, but it has to interpret the problem’s significance in a single sentence of no longer than 60 characters. Experts recommend titling the essay after the report is done. Check the possible alternative titles on the web – modern scientists have established various possible ideas in separate databases. Try to come up with the original name for your project.

Under the title, a student should include the following details:

  • Writer’s name
  • Name of supervisor
  • Team members
  • Date


If a student knows how to write a text’s summary, he/she should not find it difficult to come up with a good abstract. It occupies 1/3 of the A4 page (approximately 200 words). Provide a summary of the study, its results/findings, and conclusion. Make the reader believe the given paper contains the useful information on the relevant problem and matters for the development of science. Add a contents page if the prompt tells to do it.


Painstake the study into the background of the experiment. Put yourself in the shoes of the potential reader and think about why this person would be interested in reading about a particular problem from cover to cover. Share the history of the study based on other related studies conducted before. Explain the reasons for choosing the specific topic (examples) and doing a particular experiment; include the things you were expecting to find during the process. A hypothesis (thesis) statement should conclude the opening paragraph. To sum up, the introduction must have:


It makes sense this section talks about the methods (tools, equipment, approaches, and other sources) the scientists used to experiment. The main idea is that another study can replicate the experiments without the need to guess what equipment/technologies the authors applied. The research papers are peer-reviewed; other people may want to join the experiment.

For field study, a writer must provide accurate map references and include it in the appendix.

Results & Discussion

Scientists often mix these 2 sections. While one lists the findings, another one provides a clear interpretation of each of the offered results. Write a brief synopsis of several basic elements (facts, figures, and statistical exams) depicted in the Results. A raw data must go into the appendix. It is possible to include the tables, images, and graphs to explain the findings in-depth, but the detailed description of the visual elements should appear in the appendix. Number the visual elements to reference them in the end.

Seek to discuss the obtained results in the 2nd part of the combined section and tell whether they meet your expectations or not. Decide whether you managed to prove the offered hypothesis/failed to prove it. It is fine to mention the errors in the experiment design, calculation, approaches, technology usage – it is important to explain why the things might have gone wrong. The teacher wants to see this explanation to put a high score. A few experiments are 100% correct in their design.


A student has discussed the results by this section. In a conclusion, it is time to provide a summary of the findings, restate thesis, stress the value of the study, and share ideas for future experiments. It is an elaborate version of the abstract.


List the sources used throughout the work depending on the required research paper outline format (MLA, APA, AMA, etc.) check the in-text citations not to leave any without a corresponding reference. No need to describe the sources in details.

Research Paper Outline Format: List of Elements

Stick to the prompt. It will specify the length of the project (number of words/pages). Citations, references page, and appendix are things the instructors do not include in the required word count. Break down the main body of the paper into several sections to make it simpler to navigate during the process of writing.

The basic thing a student should keep in mind to understand how to do an outline for a research paper is the structure of this type of work. It has more sections than a typical essay.

  • Title/Cover page (learn to choose the title)
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents (optional)
  • Introduction
  • Methodology
  • Results & Discussion (R&D)
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix

That is a simple research paper outline. It is time to have a look at each section in details to understand what they stand for.


APA Outline Format

An APA outline format is a bit different from MLA. Before moving to the specific research paper outline example taken from the work of A+ student, it is important to memorize the general layout. Keep in mind the structure of APA outline format!

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  • Hook sentence
  • Background
  • Thesis statement
  1. Body Paragraphs
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  1. Conclusion
  2. References
  3. Appendix

Free Research Paper Outline Example

What about APA research paper format, which is more popular than MLA in the world of science?

Example: “Writing Winning Admissions Essay Based on College Standards”

Select target colleges

  1. Attend & assess local campuses
  2. Attend & assess college websites
  3. Search for the interesting courses
  4. Mind important statistics:
  • Student ration
  • Retention rate

Get ready with application

  1. Come up with admissions essay
  2. Select engaging topic
  3. Discuss a person who influenced your life:
  • Preferred high school teacher
  • Family member

Discuss significant personal details like internship

  1. Revise admissions essay
  2. Compile resume
  3. Mention related coursework
  4. Talk about work experience
  5. List personal skills:
  • Tutor at summer camp
  • Counselor for high school bullying/violence prevention hotline

MLA or APA Format – Research Paper Outline Help is Close

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