What It Takes To Create A Great Research Paper Outline

Many students are tempted to skip the outlining stage of their assignment, especially if they are in a hurry. The reality, however, is that writing the rough draft takes longer without the outline so these students don’t save time. This guide will teach you how to quickly and easily create an outline so you can organize your thoughts and create a research paper template for your first draft.

What is an Outline?

An outline is a structured guide that organizes your ideas before you begin the rough draft of your research paper. It serves as the backbone for your writing. In addition to organizing your ideas, an outline helps prevent the need to skip around and change/add/omit information as you write your first draft.

You will find useful information, as well as expert writing help if you need it.

Main Elements of a Great Research Paper Outline

You can easily remember the major features of an outline by considering the structure of a typical essay. In the beginning, you provide information on your thesis and what the paper will be about. Then, the main paragraphs each offer a point that helps prove your thesis.

The outline for a research paper is set up the same way as a basic. The essential elements include:

  • The thesis statement
  • Main points to prove the thesis statement
  • Supporting details and facts that support the main points

How to Write an Outline

  1. The Thesis Statement
  2. The first step to drafting an outline is to write your research paper thesis statement across the top of this page. This will remind you what you are trying to prove with your body of work. Each main point should relate to the thesis, helping you prove your main point to the reader. Do not worry if you have not decided on your thesis statement for sure. Know what your topic and purpose is and use this information to create a working thesis. This will guide you as you construct the outline and you can change it before writing your first draft.

  3. The Main Points
  4. Beneath the thesis statement, start with the first Roman numeral. These are your main points. In the most basic writing assignments, you will want at least 3 of these points. Longer assignments may require additional paragraphs. As you write, consider how each relates to the thesis. This information will serve as the first sentence of the body paragraphs.

  5. The Supporting Details
  6. Beneath each main point, you will indent and label the line with a capital letter. You should have 2-3 points at minimum. The supporting details should be facts, statistics, and other information that supports your main points, thus further proving your thesis.

    In some cases, you may need to outline beyond the supporting details. If so, you would use a lower case Roman numeral to label the following sentences.

For the best grade, students should always create an outline for their work, even when it is not required by their teacher. For more research paper writing help, ask a knowledgeable adult, look around online, or refer to a style manual.