Research Paper Outline: 3 Steps in Writing an Outline of an Academic Research Paper

A Special Guide to Write Your Own Research Paper Outline

Desigining a proper outline for your research paper is a typical backbreaker for students throughout the world. It takes a lot of effort and time to write a good and thorough research paper- one that successfully depicts your opinion, and manages to persuade your reader of the overall authenticity and reliability of the content.

An outline, on the other hand, is a step by step strategy. Do this right, and you’re almost half done. But then again, in order to write a perfect outline, you need to take some specified measures.

So here’s what you have to do to get your great academic work in making:

#1 Find a suitable topic.

This is the base of your research paper, and this will be the one vital factor to determine the overall success of your relentless efforts. It doesn’t matter if you’ve selected the topic on your own or not, the point is to be sure that the chosen topic merges well with your capabilities. Therefore, the right topic would be the one, which intrigues you and your target audience. And we provide all of that; from selecting the best topics to the availability of professional writers willing to provide you with their personalized guidance and, yes, even essay writing services if needed.

#2 What’s my argument?

After you’re all done with step one, you need a breather, so take a breath and ask yourself: To which argument am I leaning towards? Is there a reason? And why would be this argument so important for my readers? It’s important for you to understand the objective behind your thesis statement. Is it meaningful enough to make people ponder, can it possibly make a difference in the world? Go through these points, and then think of a way to include them all into your research paper.

Once you’re done with all the thinking, it’s time to start framing that outline.

#3 Go ahead and find your audience.

Well, normally for students, their professor is their audience. And, you, as the writer need to ascertain that your audience reads and follows your paper, and therefore, you have to choose a tone that fits in with their category- filled with jargon or just plain formal. You need to think of their input and stand on the topic. Will they agree with your argument or will they bring in a better judgment to court?  So there is a whole lot; the context, style, and syntax that depends on who your reader is going to be.

#4 Do the Research.

All research papers; like their name suggests, require thoroughly done the research. You would have to support your argument through different resources. Initially, with commonly accepted knowledge and then you’d have to dive in deeper. And like any analysis, you would have to have a firm grip on the pitfalls of your argument and cut those counter-arguments from the bud.

#5 Assort References.

These are the attestation of all of the arguments in your paper. They display the authenticity of your research and should be sorted in accordance with their weightage and relevance to the content of the paper.

Steps for an Outline Writing in a Research Paper

We’re now all done with the pre-requisites. We’ve found a good topic, done our research and are ready to frame that outline.

For the sake of ease, an outline is just a modest foundation that helps us gradually build up a better thesis. Therefore the finer your outline is, the greater will be your thesis.

All outlines include three sections: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. A simple structure of an outline would be something similar to the one shown below:

Step 1: Introduction (Literature Review+Objectives)

  • Intro
  • Hook
  • Who Is Your Audience?
  • Your statement.

Step 2: Body (Results & Discussions)

State the reason you support the thesis;

  • Point 1.
  • Point 2.
  • Point 3.

Step 3: Conclusion

A summary of the above.

  • Call to action.
  • The Outline

Detailed Guidance on all three steps of writing an Outline for an Academic Research Paper

Step 1: Introduction

An introduction is the beginning and a very crucial part of all academic essays. It is the part of the thesis that the readers are going to use and determine if your thesis is worth their time, so your beginning should be packed with a substantial amount of appeal and information. In order to write a good introduction, it should consist of these three points.

  • Hook

Your hook can consist of about one to five sentences; you can use the overall length of your thesis as a guide. It should attract your readers and therefore these sentences need to be engaging and provoking.

  • Catch your audience

We’ve already targeted our potential audience, here, however, we need to tell our readers the reason why this thesis is something they’d be interested in; try to make it as relatable as you can. The reason why you chose them to be your reader- that’s what you need to tell them here.

  • Give the statement

Now, it’s time we write out that argument and its significance, in clear and precise wording. And because we want your hard work to pay off, it’s highly important that the statement is written is not dull.

Step 2: Body

This is the core of your paper and therefore your outline. You can write as much as you want here, this part of the thesis is supposed to be the largest. Usually, the overall length and number of paragraphs are determined by the amount of content and points you’re hoping to portray- the larger the latter the better it is, the higher will your former be.

This is where you incorporate all of the research you’ve put into the topic. You will have to state each point and then support that statement with sufficient and relevant evidence. If there is something you have no idea you can prove, then don’t think- just cut it out. All of your statements need to be strongly supported, and each backup statement has to be correctly referenced, in accordance with the specified paper format you’ve been designated.

Remember, how we asked you to know the weakness of your thesis statement? Yes, well, here’s why. Now you can write in all those counterarguments and tell your readers why they aren’t accurate- with evidence, of course. This will depict your knowledge, efforts, and commitment to the topic, and in turn, impress your reader.

While you’re at it, it is important that you remember to use a tone and style which fits in with your reader. This should be consistent throughout the paper. However, working in a particular manner does not mean that we cannot add in live to the context we are writing. We can use many literary devices to make the paper a fun read.

As you write the paper for your reader; who is your professor- yes, we remember and yes, they probably know all there is to know about the topic you’re writing about, but even if he does, sadly, you can’t just tell him to use his knowledge. You need to consider your audience to be unfamiliar with the subject. Clearly write out everything you’ve researched, make it exciting, and let them know that you’ve worked hard on this project by showing all the known facts and points you have to offer.

Step 3: Conclusion

The third and last part of your paper is more or less like a summary, a short version of all the main points that you’ve discussed in the paper. It should be concise so that the reader can digest the information easily and keep it there in their memory for the time to come.

  • Overview

This will consist of a brief collection of all your major arguments. You don’t have to go much into the details or dare I say it, the evidence even. All you have to do here is give in an idea of the arguments in your thesis.

  • Call to action

Finally, you’re at the end of your thesis. This part of the paper has to encourage your readers to respond- either through discussion or by action- to whatever you’ve selected as your last message to them.

Yousaf Saeed

I'm Dr. Engr. Yousaf Saeed, founder of the AScholarship Education Portal. My academic path includes 3 prestigious international scholarships — Australia Awards, CSC, and HKPFS — for my higher studies. I am also an IChemE affiliate whereas I've also worked for companies like Aramco and BYCO oil refinery as an production engineer at the start of my career. I completed MS, and PhD with major research publications in leading SCI journals (details on my Researchgate Profile). This reflects my commitment to educating and therefore i started it for the purpose to guide aspiring international students for find scholarships for their higher education dream. As an experienced educator and mentor, I specialize in navigating the intricacies of research and patent and write useful articles on these topics too.

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