Research Paper Outline

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Writing a research paper outline can be quite challenging but the best way to forget about the nightmare is to first make an outline for your research then after proceed to write your research.

A short guide for composing your outline

In every writing for the end result to come out there will always be steps involved to make it complete. Thus in writing your research paper divides your topics as follows:

  • Decide on the topic of your research
  • Come up with your thesis statement
  • Conduct a thorough research to collect all the data you need
  • Craft an outline for your research paper
  • Work over your first draft
  • Revise your first draft and create a second draft
  • Revise and create a final copy

Composing the outline

After you have come up with a draft of your paper and all your data has been penned down focus on making an outline for your research paper then make a final copy. Breakdown your research paper outline into smaller components. They may consist of


The introduction is where you give few details about your research, state your thesis or working statement and brief your readers what is to be covered in your research paper. State your research problem and the means you used to come up with the final report.


The part which gives the reader detailed information. Focus on your points of support, your main findings and ideas that come up from the strong points. Give detailed data of your research.


This will be the last section of your research paper. Summarize everything stated in the introduction and body element then a list of reasons why you have made a particular conclusion on your topic.

Reference section

This is an important section in every writing; ensure it appears at the last page of your outline.

The body of your research paper outline

This is where you develop your subject and list the arguments that support it. Thus you can make your outline look better by breaking the topics into more manageable steps. Just like in every other outline here you begin with a strong point then the stronger and finally finish with the most fundamental points you have argued on.

Patterns of Organization

The pattern of the organization of your research outline highly depends on the subject of paper. Here are some of the approaches that vary with the subject of research

Chronological pattern of organization

Chronology pattern is where things are put according to their order of occurrence thus respective. If you chose to write about a historic event or you are describing a step-by-step process that takes place in a long time period, than this pattern is the most applicable. In a chronological outline, the main part of the outline will steadily flow from one event to another.

Spatial approach

The first item in the body of your outline here should be a general statement connected with your thesis. Your most general statements come first followed by the specific statements.  You are to more from generalized thoughts to specific arguments. Be sure to adhere to the spatial approach throughout your writing.

There are a number of appropriate patterns that you can use to structure the information in your outline, make it more coherent and easier to comprehend. When you come up with a good research outline then your research paper will be an important tool for your audience. A good outline will attract more readers in your research writing.