How to Outline a Research Paper: a Step-by-Step Guide

Although writing a research paper can be challenging, especially for students, it is part of their lives while studying, and no matter what happens, each student must grasp the art of writing such papers well. Such papers not only give students good marks before they can graduate, but they also play a big role in ensuring the students are equipped with adequate knowledge when facing life after school. That is how significant these papers are.

Are you a student who is almost writing their research paper? Or are you a student aiming to study until higher levels? Well, you must know the different parts of a research paper and how to structure the research paper outline for a good flow of ideas and arrange your paper professionally, following the approved research paper outline template.

The approved structure of a research paper: what are the parts of a research paper?

A research paper outline is a simplified guide that will help you through the writing process to ensure you don’t miss any section of the paper. Besides, the outline helps the students arrange points and ideas in a clear manner to enable the reader to understand the direction of the paper. As a student, you must know how to structure research paper and understand the content to include under different parts of a paper. However, before writing the research paper outline, you must define the following:

Things to note before writing a research paper outline

  • The appropriate topic

Any research paper requires a clear topic that will guide you through the research process. Sometimes, you can get the topic from the teacher or have the freedom to select your preferred topic. Whatever the case, ensure you work smart to bring out interesting facts from the topic.

  • Determine your argument

Once you have a topic, decide which side you want to support. Figure out why supporting a given argument is critical to you and others. This will guide you in selecting the best thesis statement, which is the focal point of the entire paper.

Note: the argument you choose should bring out a meaningful discussion and give you many ideas to include in your research paper outline.

  • Know your audience

Your tutors will be reading your paper. Based on your topic, decide the type of language to use. Also, weigh and understand if the readers will agree with your arguments or not.

  • Do research

Of course, you will need to go through different resources, get the ideas, and put them together into a meaningful context. While doing the research, get resources and materials that support your thesis statement to ease the writing process.

  • Have references

With any valid point you present in your research paper, you must have supporting evidence. So, ensure you have reliable references you will include in your outline to help you write the final paper.

Research paper outline template and parts of a research paper

When you have all the relevant information and have done appropriate research, you need to write the outline before writing the main parts of a paper you intend to submit. Among the most significant sections of a research paper outline is the research paper paragraph structure because you will present your points and ideas here. The following are the main sections you should include in your research paper outline:

  1. The Introduction

This is a significant part of any part of an academic paper. A good intro will give the reader the psych to keep reading. Similarly, a poor into will make the reader get bored with your paper. So, ensure you include the hook, a statement that will catch the reader’s attention, define the audience, and write a thesis statement based on your topic.

  1. The main body

This is the main part of the research paper. Here, you include all the ideas and the evidence you found during your research process. Note the appropriate research paper paragraph structure when writing your ideas. Each paragraph should explain a valid point followed by supporting evidence.

Note: always start with the strongest points as you narrow down to the weak ones.

  1. The conclusion

This is the last part of your research paper. Make sure you summarize everything you have discussed in your paper. The summary should support your thesis statement.


Writing a research paper outline is a significant step to ensuring your paper turns out successful after submission.