How to Write a Research Paper Outline With Examples

research paper outline

Students often see an essay outline as extra work, but it can be helpful to organise the information gathered through research.

It will make writing the research paper easier for you as well. A research paper is an extensive writing piece that requires plenty of research and is time-consuming.

Do you need to write your research paper outline? It can be a daunting task at first, but once you start writing, it will seem easier.

Contact if you want professional essay writers to create a research paper outline for you. Let’s move on with the blog to read some easy research paper outline examples.

How to Write a Research Paper Outline?

If you want to improve your essay writing, it is better to create an outline before starting an essay. Writing a research paper outline is not a complicated process if you know the right steps.

Research papers have around five paragraphs that introduce the subject, provide reasonings and end with an impactful conclusion.

Here is a detailed outline of a research paper to help students write better:

  1. 1. First, you should decide the type of your essay. For example, high school and college students both are assigned essays with a different number of paragraphs.
  2. 2. Second, you need to decide on a topic for your essay. Choose a research paper topic that is of your interest and with enough research. Your topic should not be too complex because you won’t be able to get authentic research.
  3. 3. If you have any previous notes on the topic, revise them and any other relevant information you might have.
  4. 4. It is better to complete your research before writing the outline of your paper.
  5. 5. You have the choice of either writing the outline as full sentences or alphanumeric. Both of these types are discussed in detail below.
  6. 6. When writing your thesis statement, make sure that it is arguable. An arguable thesis will improve the quality of your paper.
  7. 7. The body paragraph should have reasonings and logic that backs up your main stance.
  8. 8. When writing your conclusion, restate the thesis statement without being redundant. You can also end the conclusion by making a call to action or presenting your opinion on the subject.

(back to top)

Outlining the Research Paper Introduction

The introduction paragraph of your research paper should clearly communicate the topic in the first sentence. Only add relevant background information that will help the readers understand your topic instead of going off-topic.

Here is an example research paper outline to help you understand:

i. Introduction

  1. A. Current Problem: Educational attainment rates are decreasing in the United States while healthcare costs are increasing.

  2. B. Population/Area of Focus: Unskilled or low-skilled adult workers

  3. C. Key Terms: healthy, well-educated

Thesis Statement: Because of their income deficit (cite sources) and general susceptibility to depression (cite sources), students who drop out of high school before graduation maintain a higher risk for physical and mental health problems later in life.

(back to top)

Research Paper Outline Example PDFs

These research paper outline examples will assist you in writing an impressive outline for your research paper. Go through these research paper outline PDFs given here:

Sample Research Paper Outline (PDF)

Sample Research Paper Outline

Research Paper Outline Template APA (PDF)

Research Paper Outline Template APA

Research Paper Outline Template MLA (PDF)

Research Paper Outline Template MLA

Argumentative Research Paper Outline (PDF)

Argumentative Research Paper Outline

College Research Paper Outline (PDF)

College Research Paper Outline

(back to top)

Research Paper Outline Format

There are three types of outline formats that you can use in your research paper.

  • Alphanumeric

    This is the most common research paper outline format used. Roman numerals or capitalized letters are used to demonstrate this style.


    1. 1. First Body Paragraph

      1. A. First Point
  • Full Sentence

    As the name suggests, this type of format includes writing full sentences instead of points. Just like the alphanumeric style, numerals and capital letters are also used in it.


    1. 1. First Body Paragraph

      1. A. First point of evidence to support the argument

        1. 1. Sub-point discussing evidence in A.

          1. a. Additional sub-point to conclude the discussion of point of evidence introduced in point A.

  • Decimal

    This format is similar to alphanumeric but the numbering system is different. The example given below will help you.


    1. 1. Body Paragraph 1

      1. 1.1 First Point

      2. Second Point

Language in Research Paper

If you want to write an effective research paper, it is important to have a strong command of language. Organize your thoughts to decide the type of language that you will use in your paper.


When the grammatical form in a paper is repeated, it is known as Parallelism. So if you begin with a verb, make sure that the sub-point is also beginning with a verb.

Example of Parallelism:

A. Give an introduction to the immunization debate, address both sides: The reason behind recommending immunization and the groups that are questioning it.

  1. 1. Include diverse regions, and focus on the arguments raised by the ones against immunization.


In this style of writing, each heading has the same importance and the writing process includes mentioning sub-headings that have the same relevance. This example will help you understand better:


A. Talk about the outbreaks in USA, Thailand and Australia

  1. 1. Talk about the immunization figures in affected regions

B. Highlight the dangers associated with measles as compared to other diseases.

  1. 1. Any disease that originates from the measles virus


Subordination means separating the general points from specific ones. This can be achieved by starting with a general heading and then moving to specific points.


“V. Measles and other diseases

    A. Highlight the dangers associated with measles as compared to other diseases.

    1. 1. Any disease that originates from the measles virus
    2. 2. Death cases from other illnesses after a patient got measles.


This style of writing includes dividing the heading into sub-points that will further explain the main topic. The information written in these sub-sections is in the form of paragraphs instead of points.

We understand that writing a research paper is no joke, therefore, helps students by providing quality papers written by expert writers. You can get your paper within the due date at an affordable rate, contact us now!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 5 parts of research paper?

The 5 parts of a research paper are:

  • The problem statement with its background
  • Literature review
  • Methods and Materials
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Summary and conclusion