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Student Guide: Writing a Research Paper Outline

What is a Research Paper?

❶Add to my courses. Do not be tempted to insert large numbers of graphs and figures just for the sake of it; each figure and graph should be mentioned, referred to and discussed in the text.

How to Write a Research Paper?

Research Paper Examples and Samples
This article is a part of the guide:
Layout and Length

Some instructors will insist that you must not combine these two forms. Many others, however, offer one exception to this guideline by allowing the main section headings to be short phrases while the remaining subpoints are written as full sentences.

Most outlines use an alpha-numerical structure. This structure uses a series of letters and numbers to identify and arrange section levels. In sentence outlines, headings and subpoints are almost always written with correct sentence capitalization rules. This is not always the case with topic outlines, though. One school of thought indicates that first level headings should be written in all capital letters while all remaining headings use standard sentence capitalization rules.

Another school of thought suggests that the first level headings should only have the first letter of each word capitalized, rather than the entire word. The remaining headings, again, use standard sentence capitalization rules.

Keep matters of length in mind. Your outline should run no longer than one-quarter to one-fifth the total estimated size of your final research paper. For a four to five page paper, you only need a single page outline. For a 15 to 20 page paper, your outline will usually run no longer than four pages. Familiarize yourself with a one-level outline. A one-level outline only uses major headings and no subheadings.

Note that you would not usually use this outline for a research paper, as it is not very specific or detailed. It can still be a good idea to start with this outline level, however, since you can use it to provide yourself with a general direction for your paper and expand upon it as the information flows in.

Move onto a two-level outline. Two-level outlines are a little more common for research papers. You utilize major headings and one level of subheadings. In other words, your Roman numeral and capital letter sections are both present. Each second-level subheading should discuss a primary supporting argument for the main idea it falls under.

Progress to a three-level outline. A three-level outline is even more complex, but if done right, it can help you to structure your research paper even more thoroughly. You use Roman numerals, capital letters, and standard numbers for this version. Next to each third-level subsection, you should address the topic of a paragraph that falls under the corresponding second-level section or main idea above it.

Use a four-level outline, when necessary. These outlines are about the most complex you would expect to need for a research paper, and if you choose this structure, you will use Roman numerals, capital letters, standard numbers, and lowercase letters for your levels. The fourth-level subheadings should address supporting statements, citations, or ideas within each paragraph listed in the third-level sections.

Every heading and subheading should maintain a structure that is parallel to the other headings within its level. Parallelism also refers to parts of speech and tense. If a heading starts with a verb, then the other headings must also start with a verb. Moreover, that verb must also be in the same tense usually present tense.

The information provided by your first major heading should be equal in importance to the information offered in your second major heading. The same can be said of sentences in subheadings, as well. Your major headings should identify major tasks or ideas. Your subheadings should elaborate on the points addressed in your major headings. The information in your headings should be general and the subheadings should be more specific. For instance, if you were writing about memorable experiences from your childhood, "Memorable Childhood Experiences" would be the heading and the subheadings might look something like, "Vacation at 8 years old," "Favorite birthday party," and "Family trips to the park.

Each major heading should be divided into two or more parts. In other words, you should have at least two subheadings for every major heading. There is no limit on subheadings, but once you start forming a dozen or so subheadings under a single heading, you might find your outline looking cluttered and messy.

Identify the research problem. As you prepare to write your outline, you need to specifically identify the research problem you are trying to address. This will guide the entire formation of your outline and your paper. From this research problem, you will derive your thesis statement. A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the entire purpose or argument of your research paper.

This thesis statement will usually be written above the outline itself or within the first "Introduction" heading of the outline. Your research problem can also help you figure out a title.

Identify your main categories. You also need to figure out what main points you plan on covering. All of these main points will be listed in your introduction and listed as part or all of you major headings for the body part of your paper. Describe The Federalist Papers are and when they started.

The Federalist influenced the ratification of the Constitution by making some of their most important arguments, including the importance of being in a Union by having a Constitution, answering to the objections made by the Anti-federalists about separation of powers, and defending opposing arguments made against the characteristics of the executive and judicial branch as provided in the Constitution. State when The Federalist was printed and published.

Discuss the intentions and purposes of The Federalist. Argument for the benefit of a Union. A Union would guard against external dangers. A Union would guard against internal dangers.

Argument of the problem with complete separation of powers. Anti-federalists wanted a complete separation of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. The Federalist said the maxim of complete separation of powers is misunderstood. The branches need some limited power of the other branches to protect themselves from encroachment of the other branches Federalist The branches need to have the interests of maintaining their powers, and not letting the other branches take that away.

Argument for a single executive, and against a plural executive. It would take too long for the people in the executive position to make decision in an emergency, because they might disagree. In a plural executive, it is hard to tell who is responsible for a wrongdoing because they can all blame each other, so a single executive would lead to more responsible behavior. Argument in favor of judicial review and terms of good behavior for judges.

The Federalist argued that judicial review was necessary to protect the judicial branch from the Legislature. A term of good behavior was necessary to get qualified people for the positions; it would also give them time to develop knowledge.

The dates of the ratification of the Constitution by the States. What did Common Sense say that was so different? It denounced both the monarchy and the English Constitution, which had previously been looked upon as a brilliant political document. Americans realized the inherent fallacies of hereditary government specifically monarchy as well as the English Constitution which protected the monarchy. It called for Americans to disconnect themselves from the flawed British system and create a new one for themselves.

C ommon Sense questioned the long-standing belief that residents of the colonies were inseparably connected to England. It gave them a new identity — Americans rather then Britons. It also outlined the benefits of a republican government, which would go on to influence the ideas of the Founding Fathers as they created a new government for their new country. The debate in the American Colonies shifted from that of reconciliation with England to that of independence.

It was read by an unprecedented number of colonists and united a great majority of them behind independence. It inspired American intellectuals with its call for independence, leading to the composition of the Declaration of Independence a mere six months later. It permanently cemented the idea of a republican, non-hereditary government into the heads of Americans. Support for your major points, indicated by capital Arabic numerals i.

Douglass as Lecturer A.

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Research Paper Outline Examples Once you've decided what topic you will be writing about, the next thing you should pay attention to is the scope of your paper or what you will be including in your discussion.

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The research paper outline is essential for any article or term paper. The outline may make a great difference on how your work is interpreted. This article is a part of the guide.

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In this article, we are going to discuss how to write a detailed outline for a research paper thanks to the vivid examples and suitable essay structure. Keep in mind that online essay writer can do wonders if you have no time or desire to work on a paper. Aug 23,  · Writing an outline for a research paper can seem like a time consuming task, and you may not understand the value of it if you have never written one before. Outlines can help you structure your research and your final paper in much more efficient ways, though, so it is a good idea that you learn 77%(62).

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Research Paper Outline Structure Tips The outline structure is approximately the same whether you write a research outline on dreams or some topic distant from this one, like a research outline for PhD application. The Basic Outline of a Paper The following outline shows a basic format for most academic papers. No matter what length the paper needs to be, it should still follow the format of having an introduction, body, and conclusion.