How to Write an Outline for a Research Paper in Easy Way

Outline for a Research Paper
Research papers require a complex structure that allows examining a topic using various techniques and information. Before writing an outline you should collect the information that is going to be used in your work. Sounds like a lot of time-consuming experience. It can take a lot of your time if you do not understand the value of the objective. 

The most important aspect of outlines is that they allow writers to compose their papers in various ways, which have different level of effectiveness and difficulty. So it is essential for a writer to know how to write an outline for research papers. Here are some pointers for you to bear in mind during creating your own outline. 

Structure and type of your outline 

There are two most common types of outlines that are used for different papers and different purposes. These are sentence outline and topic outline. The first one is composed using complete sentences so it is frequently used for more thorough examination of subjects. The second type of outline provides sub points and headings in short phrases, therefore it is more generalized than the first one. It is used when the subject includes many subsections which need to be studied. 

Consult your professor on the type of outline you should use for your topic. In some cases they recommend to combine them. There are many professors that require writing main sections in short phrases and subsections in sentences as well. 


The outline provides numerical definitions for its elements. Series of letters and figures are to be used. There are several levels which have to be represented by different numerals. For example, the elements of the first level are marked with Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V and so on. The next level uses capital letters for representation: A, B, C, D, E and so on. The third level has to be identified by using numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on. There might be additional levels in some papers, they use different markers. 

Remember about the length of your paper. For example, if your research has to be put on more than ten pages, the outline should be no less than three pages. In case when your paper has four or five pages, you need to make a one-page outline. 

Components of Effective Outlines 

It is recommended to use subjects for main headings that are equal in their importance. The same technique has to be applied for subheading as well. Remember that your major headings should convey more generalized information and the subheadings should focus on description of details. For example, if you are writing about your childhood, use “The most exciting experience from childhood' for your major heading and “Trip to France when I was 9 years old' as a subheading. Before writing your outline you need to review all information for including in the introduction, the body and the conclusion. Do not start if you don’t know what to include.