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Experts’ Guide on Creating a Research Paper Outline with Example

Research Paper Outline with Example

Students often find it very overwhelming to take on a research project. And writing a research paper on top of that becomes a hectic task. Amassing a variety of sources of information, and organizing the findings effectively is a time-consuming process. This can be made simpler with the help of a research paper outline.

What is a Research Paper Outline? 

A research paper outline is a basic structure or format to write an academic research paper. It typically contains the Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Data Analysis, Results, Recommendations, and Conclusion. It is a well-articulated frame of the research paper. Research paper outlines make the task a lot simpler and easier as they lay down the structure and show the elements to be incorporated in each section of the research paper. An outline helps to arrange and organize your whole work and thoughts in a natural, hierarchical, and logical order. To write any type of research paper, drafting an outline is of utmost importance, as, without it, the research paper will probably be disorderly arranged and full of irrelevancies.

Why Need an Outline?

The primary reasons for mapping out a research paper outline are given below:

  • Assists with the writing process.
  • Creates a well-organized overview of the writing.
  • Aids in the organization of your thoughts.
  • Presents your information in a logical order.
  • Shows the connections between ideas in your writing.
  • Establishes boundaries.

Research Paper Outline Format

Given below is the basic research paper outline format. This will help you to learn how to build a coherent research paper.

  1. Abstract
  • Summary of the overall research paper
  1. Introduction
  • Introduce the topic
  • Define the terms
  • Quotation, citation, or supporting statements
  • Significance and aim of the study
  • Thesis statement
  1. Literature overview
  • Study of related literature
  1. Research methods
  • Describe the theoretical framework
  • Type of research
  • Data collection methods
  1. Data Analysis
  • Methods for analysis
  • Data analyzed
  1. Results
  • Illustrate the main findings
  1. Discussion
  • Results, Scope, and Limitations of the research
  1. Conclusion
  • Concluding statement
  • Analytical summary
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Recommendations for future research
  1. Bibliography
  • List of all the sources you have used

How to Write a Research Paper Outline

According to PenMyPaper, outlines can vary when it comes to writing different types of research papers and on different topics, nevertheless, the format remains the same. Following are the steps to create a research paper outline effectively:

  1. Selecting a good research paper topic is important and the best topics are the ones that can have a significant impact on the community. Most of the time, instructors provide students with topics to choose from.
  2. Conduct detailed research on the topic you have selected. Gather relevant information, resources, and references.
  3. To learn about the previous studies undertaken on your subject, conduct a thorough review of the related literature. This will help you identify any gap in the previous research and help develop an arguable and specific thesis statement.
  4. Arrange and organize all the necessary points you want to discuss under each heading. You may organize your outline using: full text or alphanumerical. Alphanumerical outlines are less detailed than full-text outlines.
  5. For the research paper introductionparagraph, you can provide a brief overview of the issue being assessed. State the significance and the objective(s) of the research and establish the research hypothesis and assert the purpose and position of your paper as a thesis statement.
  6. The body paragraphs should contain the significant information about the topic. They will contain the literature review, research methodology, data analysis, and findings. You may make short notes on each of these and present them in your outline. Develop strong arguments to support your thesis and discuss them in the body paragraphs.
  7. For the research paper conclusion, briefly discuss the findings and reiterate the thesis. Restate the significance and summarize the main points. End the conclusion with your perspectives on the subject or make suggestions for future research.
  8. Keep a track of the sources you have gone through and used in the references section.

Research Paper Outline Example

Sample Topic: The correlation between health and educational attainment

Thesis Statement: Due to the deficit in income and normal susceptibility to anxiety (cite sources), students who drop out of school are more prone to mental and physical health problems later in.

I. Introduction

  • Current Issue: Healthcare costs are rising while rates of educational attainment are decreasing in the US.
  • Area of Focus: Low-skilled or unskilled adult workers.

II. Background

  • Historical Healthcare Overview: Unskilled laborers in the past often had healthcare benefits (cite sources).
  • Historical Employment Overview: Previously, unskilled laborers used to be unionized and were compensated adequately for their work (cite sources).
  • Gaps in the Research: There is little information on the health implications of the prevalent scenario in lower-skilled jobs.
  • Current Relation between Education and Employment: Workers working in low-skilled or unskilled jobs are uneducated and the numbers are increasing (cite sources).

III. Method

  • Used empirical data from the World Bank and OECD for 25 OECD nations for the years 2005-2015
  • Applied pre and post-education attainment indicators.
  • Variables include indicators of the level of education- enrollment rates at different educational levels; school life expectancy rates, NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rates
  • Variables also include health indicators of life expectancy, infant mortality, child vaccination rates, and potential years of life lost.

IV. Data Analysis

  • Methods for data analysis include data visualization, association, and ranking.
  • To process the data, the tools of Tableau were used for visualization. Statistical Analysis System (SAS) was for descriptive and correlation statistics.

V. Main Point 1: Employment conditions impact workers’ physical health.

  • Poor working environments are highly correlated with workers’ health implications (cite sources).
  • Poor, low-skilled working environments hardly provide any healthcare facilities (cite sources).

VI. Main Point 2: Employment factors impact workers’ mental health

  • Employment in a lower position is highly related to increased depression among workers. (cite sources).
  • Stress is majorly associated with mental health problems (cite sources).

VII. Main Point 3: People having more financial worries tend to be more depressed and have poorer physical health.

  • The majority of high-school dropouts struggle with financial problems (cite sources).
  • A financial crisis is repeatedly linked with poor lifestyle choices like unhealthy food choices, abusive relationships, chain-smoking, overconsumption/abuse of alcohol, and more.

VIII. Results

  • Adults with lower education attainment tend to have poorer health both mentally and physically.
  • It is emphasized that tertiary education significantly impacts life expectancy, infant mortality, child vaccination, and enrollment rates.

IX. Conclusion

  • Thesis Reinstated: Dropped-out high school students have a higher risk for psychological and physical health problems later in their lives.
  • Call to Action: There is a need for educational advocates. They need to apprehend this critical situation and allow student retention for promoting healthier lifestyles. They should make students aware of the risks and problems connected with the discontinuation of education.

Need Further Guidance?

We hope that this article gives you a better understanding to create a research paper outline effectively. You can easily create an outline by following the steps mentioned and by following the format. All you need to do is select a good research topic, conduct thorough research, apply your critical thinking skills to develop a strong thesis, and follow the steps and structure to map out an outline. Organize all the main points and ideas you want to discuss and group them into different sections. Once you have finished creating a detailed outline you will see how coherent and well-integrated your paper looks. This outline will help you develop a strong and well-planned research paper. You can check out some research paper outline examples to know how to create a research paper outline. In case you are struggling to create an outline for your research paper, then we can help. All you have to do is write my research paper and PenMyPaper will help you with any kind of research paper assignment. You won’t even have to worry about creating an outline, we will get the whole task done for you within your required time.

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