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Great Suggestions For College Students: How To Find A Research Paper Outline Example


Writing a research paper can be a challenging, engaging, and lengthy process. Of course, the first step in writing a research paper is the eponymous act of researching itself. Once you have gathered the relevant information, it’s easy to assume the next step to be writing the paper itself. However, it’s often much more prudent to first write a detailed outline. Writing an outline can be very helpful as it allows you to thoroughly plan, in detail, what exactly your final paper will look like.

Know Your Topic

It’s important that you know the area and subject matter about that which you intend to write.

  • Being knowledgeable of your topic will make the task of finding a relevant outline example much easier.
  • Different topics of research will correlate more easily with different outline examples.
  • Familiarity with your subject matter will help you determine the best kind of outline to follow.

Familiarize Yourself With The Format

When writing a research paper, you will need to know which formatting style you will be using.

  • Generally, you will either be following the guidelines set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA) or Modern Language Association (MLA). Whichever format you use is usually determined by your field of study.
  • The MLA style format, as the name suggests, is frequently used by those working in Humanities, Modern Languages, and Liberal Arts.
  • Conversely, APA style formatting is used by those working in science-related fields. Knowing which style of formatting to use is critical in setting up your outline.

Organize Your Research

In order to know which archetype of outline best suits your paper, it can be helpful to already have a rough approximation of how the data you have collected thus far will be organized in your actual paper.

Knowing that the main components of your paper will include an introduction, thesis, body, and conclusion, you should be able to get a rough idea of what your outline should look like.

Where To Look

There are numerous sources online from which to find an example of a research paper outline that best suits your paper. Once you know where to look, it’s just a matter of assimilating your data with the example in a way that best suits you.

  • You can often find outline examples on the respective websites for the APA and MLA.
  • Referential resources, both online and on paper will often have outline examples as well.
  • Of course, a carefully worded search on Google or other search engine can yield helpful results.


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