Research Paper Outline (Downloadable Template Included)

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Research Paper Outline (Downloadable Template Included)

Writing a research paper can be complicated. However, writing a research paper outline can make your work a little bit easier. It is not a must to write the outline, but it is a helpful tool that leads to a significantly better paper when used properly. Having an outline saves you from starting from a blank screen or a blank paper, which can be frustrating at times. However, outlining also comes with other major benefits that include the following;

Benefits of using a research paper outline

Keeps you focused

After choosing a research topic, you have to narrow it down so that it is not too broad for research. After that, you need to develop a thesis statement or the major argument that your paper will focus on. Writing a research paper outline helps you to keep the focus on the thesis statement. This is because, with the outline, you can clearly see the points you come up with and see how they relate to the thesis statement before you start writing. Therefore, with an outline, you stay focused on supporting the main argument, which leads to a strong argument. Deviating from the main argument dilutes the impact of your paper.

Ensures no repetition

Outlining a research paper also reduces repetition. This is because as you write your points in the outline, it becomes easy to see all of them and see how they relate to each other. If you see related points, put them together into the same argument, and continue looking for more strong, unique points as you research. Some research papers like dissertation papers or theses can be quite lengthy. Without an outline, it is possible to have a lot of vague information and duplication of information. Having an outline, therefore, saves you a lot of time during revision. 

Ensures proper flow of information

When you create an outline, you can quickly glance at your content and get the information flow. Having a logical flow that takes the reader from one point to the other in an organized manner is important because it makes the paper easy to understand.

Keeps you organized

Writing a lengthy paper and then trying to impose order, later on, can be disastrous. When you create an outline, you already have all your topic sentences, sub-titles, and all the titles are already organized. Therefore, when it comes to the actual writing, it becomes easy to keep your paper organized. The outline acts as the template, and you only expand on the writing later on.

An outline leads to a writing plan

Writing a research paper without a plan makes the already arduous task even more challenging. However, when you create a research paper outline, it guides you through collecting information on the paper from one section to the next. As this happens, you can see the information you have gathered on each section, and it makes it easy to commit to writing the first draft of the paper.

Smoother transitions

A proper transition takes the reader from one paragraph to the next and one idea to the other logically. When you create an outline, you can quickly see how you will glue your arguments together to not lose the reader along the way.

Types of Research Paper Outlines

There are two types of research paper outlines that you can write for your paper. The choice of which research outline to use is just a matter of preference. Choose what works for you.

Sentence Outline

In this research paper outline template, you use brief sentences in the outline as you gather information. Each section of the outline has a top-level sentence followed by bullet points that support or present the main arguments you will discuss under that section.

The introduction should include a thesis statement and a hook sentence. The body should contain different topic sentences. Under each topic sentence, include bulleted points that provide the supporting facts or the evidence to support the topic sentence. The conclusion can tie together the entire paper presenting the thesis statement in light of the main arguments presented in the paper. Show how the arguments have supported the thesis statement.

A research paper outline sample of this form could look something like this;

Keyword outline

Unlike in the sentence outline, you use keywords you can remember when creating this type of outline. Below the keywords, you can add bullet points of other keywords you will focus on during the writing.

Before writing a research paper outline

For the research paper outline to be efficient, it should be written when some prerequisites have been met. Before you get to write an outline for your paper, make sure that you have;

  • You have read and understood the assignment.
  • You have come up with a narrowed-down topic for your paper.
  • You have come up with a thesis statement for the paper.
  • You have researched the topic.

Research Paper Outline Template

We know that writing a research paper can be challenging. Here is a detailed college research paper outline template in PDF format that you can use when writing your research paper.

Challenges coming up with a research paper outline?

Our expert research paper writers are ready to help you come up with an excellent research paper for any topic. It also doesn’t matter the level of study you are in. We have Ph.D. writers ready to handle even the most complex research papers.

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